Institutional Economics Reviews “Ayn Rand and the World She Made”

A new interesting review by Stephen Kirchner of Institutional Economics…

For an author whose novels have consistently sold in the hundreds of thousands for more than half a century, Ayn Rand is a remarkably understudied figure. Rand is still largely ignored by scholars, who refuse to take her novels or ideas seriously, despite her enormous influence. Barbara Branden’s 1986 memoir The Passion of Ayn Rand has been the only significant biographical treatment until now, but as the ex-wife of Rand’s lover Nathaniel Branden, she was hardly a disinterested observer.

The near simultaneous publication of these two books by Anne Heller and Jennifer Burns rectifies this deficiency. Heller’s book is a stunning portrait of Rand’s life and offers considerable insight into her extraordinary personality and achievements. Burns’ book, which has its origins in a PhD dissertation, is focused more squarely on her intellectual influence, in particular, her role as the ‘the ultimate gateway drug to life on the right’ (Burns, 4). Despite the inevitable overlap, the two books are complementary and deserve to be read together.

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