Quote of the week...please share your favourite line from Ayn Rand's writings

“Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values.”

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reason is All

Sudha G Tilak has an interesting review of Heller's Rand biography in Open Magazine. The reviewer recognizes Rand as one of the most original and interesting personalities of the 20th Century.The Heller book, she says, is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand Rand and her life better.


"Revisiting Rand has never been as interesting as reading Heller’s striking biography. It takes us closer to the creature that Rand was, a compelling entity whose advocacy of rebellion and individualism held a mesmeric quality over those around her, even detractors who rejected her idea of wealth. Heller includes interesting details of how Rand would wear dollar pins on her dress to advocate her support for capitalism, though she did not attach much importance to wealth when she gave up her royalties. Heller points out that for Rand, the wealth of ideas amounted to the intellectual capital she so cherished in her own life. Alan Greenspan might find her ideas appealing, but at heart Rand’s philosophy owed more to Nietzsche, hints Heller."

"Heller’s tome talks about Rand, born Alissa Rosenbaum to Russian-Jewish parents who immigrated to America, and made New York her home to pursue a career in writing. The book is divided in a chronological order following her life and also some of the life of her followers after her passing. Heller finds that Rand’s social criticisms of an industrial America were based on her grounding in 20th century Russian history. Heller explains at the outset that she is not an advocate of Rand’s philosophy, but admires her facets. ‘Whatever one thinks of her positive program of rational selfishness, egoism, and unregulated capitalism, her ability to spot and skewer cowardice, injustice and hypocrisy is at least as keen and passionate as that of her ideological opposite Charles Dickens.’"

Nistula Hebbar has a review of the same book in The Financial Express, which even buys the fallacy that Rand even failed to realize that Roosevelt's New Deal got the United States out of depression.


"The book points the finger at the one thing, in fact, which makes most people uncomfortable with Rand’s philosophy despite the brilliance of her premises, the fact that this is an imperfect world, and
not everyone is a genius. By demonstrating rather comprehensively the fact that Rand needed the help of a host of mediocre “Ellsworth Tooheys and Paul Keatings”, to succeed and the approbation of the world quite at odds with her devil may care, solitary genius heroes, exposes the vulnerability of the philosopher. In her world, Howard Roark and John Galt may have been oblivious of bad reviews, but Rand went through much pain when her work was “misunderstood.”"

"It is at these intersections of her world and the “real world” that the portrait of Rand is best captured in this book. A must read for all those who thought “man worship” was the way to go, if this doesnt send you back to those dog eared copies of We, the Living, nothing else will."

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