What Was The Real Ayn Rand Like?

by | Feb 1, 2021

Peikoff offers personal insights into the real Ayn Rand—the thinker, the artist, the teacher, the passionate valuer of the best within man.

In 1951, when he was just a teenager, Leonard Peikoff visited Ayn Rand in her home, at her invitation. This was the beginning of a friendship and professional association that would last until Rand’s death in 1982.

In this 1987 lecture — “My 30 Years With Ayn Rand: An Intellectual Memoir” — delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Peikoff offers personal insights into the real Ayn Rand—the thinker, the artist, the teacher, the passionate valuer of the best within man.

“Ayn Rand was unique—as a mind and as a person,” Peikoff observes. “If I could be granted a wish outside my power, it would be to meet and talk to someone like her again; unfortunately, I do not expect this wish to come true. The root of her uniqueness, which I had abundant opportunity to experience and enjoy in my thirty-year friendship with her, was the nature of her mental processes.”

When he first met Rand, Peikoff was immediately struck by her passion for ideas, which would be a thread through their thirty-year friendship. “When you were with her, you always felt poised on the brink of some startling new cognitive adventure and discovery.”

The Q & A that follows the lecture expands on its subject matter and also touches on the following topics: Intelligence and IQ tests, Biographies on Ayn Rand’s life, Whether geniuses are isolated from others, Plans for an Atlas Shrugged movie, and  Changing the culture.

Made available by The Ayn Rand Institute.

Dr. Leonard Peikoff, a philosopher, is Ayn Rand's legal and intellectual heir. He was a close associate of Ayn Rand for thirty years, and today is the preeminent spokesman for her philosophy of Objectivism. He is author of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America. His most recent book, The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out, (2012) develops an hypothesis explaining the major trends in philosophy, literature, physics, education and politics throughout Western history.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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