The World She Made: Heller on Rand

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“She was a complex, contradictory character,” said Anne Heller of the writer-philosopher Ayn Rand.

Heller spent five and a half years working on her 2009 biography of Rand titled “Ayn Rand and the World She Made,” published by Doubleday.

Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, in Russia in 1905 wrote a number of works, including the two best selling novels, “The Fountainhead” (1943) and 1957’s “Atlas Shrugged.”

She was also a philosopher whose ideas, which came to be known as Objectivism, continue to be influential today as a wellspring for Libertarianism and other ideologies.

Heller, a magazine editor and journalist, first began reading Rand after Suze Orman — the financial advisor and best-selling author — sent her a passage from “Atlas Shrugged” about money, as a way of illustrating the point of Orman’s essay that Heller was editing.

“I’m not even sure if she is a fan of Rand,” Heller said of Orman. But the passage was enough to pique Heller’s interest.

“The passage surprised me by defending limitless wealth in a way that was logical, original, complex, and, though somewhat overbearing, beautifully written,” stated Heller in her book’s preface.

Soon she was reading more of Rand’s work.

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