My Years with Ayn Rand

My Years with Ayn Rand

by Nathaniel Branden

the myth of Ayn Rand gives way to a full-sized portrait in contrasting colors, appealing and appalling, potent and paradoxical.

. it takes a special kind of nerve to write such a book."--Norman Cousins, author of Head First and The Healing HeartAyn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is one of the most influential books of the twentieth century-its popular impact ranked second only to the Bible in a major poll.

Millions know Rand as one of this century's great thinkers, writers, and philosophers, yet much about the private Ayn Rand remains shrouded in mystery.Who was Ayn Rand?My Years with Ayn Rand charts the course of the clandestine, tempestuous relationship between the enigmatic author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead and Nathaniel Branden-her young disciple and future pioneer of the self-esteem movement.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Biography
  • Rating: 3.78
  • Pages: 432
  • Publish Date: February 26th 1999 by Jossey-Bass
  • Isbn10: 0787945137
  • Isbn13: 9780787945138

What People Think about "My Years with Ayn Rand"

Ayn Rand used to make her husband take "walks" so that she could have sex with Brandon on her desk.

Having read and reviewed Barbara Brandens biography of Ayn Rand and several of Rands books, I thought it might be very useful to get the perspective of someone Ayn rejected, Nathaniel Branden. For example, several people expressed concern over Rands ideas of altruism and selfishness. When I, Ayn said to Nathaniel, tell people Im opposed to altruism, they go crazy. Eventually, the Brandens fell under the intellectual sway of Ayn Rand and became part of a group that quite ironically called themselves the Collective. Branden later suggests that the groups often unquestioning allegiance to Rand and her rejection of those who failed to accept her wisdom without question had cultist implications. Obviously, this was stressful for the other partners; then the inevitable break came, and Ayns reaction when Nathaniel finally rejected her over was vicious. BY this time, he was the de facto spokesman for Objectivism as the creator of the Nathaniel Branden Institute a rather narcissistic name for it that was spreading the gospel throughout the U.S. Ayn was still urging Nathan to return to her romantically, but when he wrote her a long letter explaining his love for Patrecia, she exploded and cut him off from her and the Collective. I find Rands ideas appealing, particularly her emphasis on individualism and selfishness (as she defines it) and rejection of coercion of any kind.

Suffice it to say that, being a young, naive, somewhat disoriented, reasonably intelligent person who was trying to make sense of the Real World, I glommed onto Ayn Rand's militant flavor of individualism like a starving cat at a tuna buffet. That said, this was my one and only purportedly "factual" account of any part of Ayn Rand's life, so how accurate it is I can't say.

Branden writes like a third-rate romantic novelist. And bear in mind that Branden still largely agrees with his personal Mrs. Robinson's "philosophy". Look, the fact that she had an affair with someone half her age doesn't make Ayn Rand a bad person. It is the fact that Rand didn't read. Branden is particularly insightful when he talks about the glum depression Rand entered (along with her Tonto) when Atlas Shrugged failed to stop the engine of the world. No first-rate minds took her seriously. There is also a bit at the end wherein Devers Branden, his third wife, purports to relate a visit she pulled on the elderly Ayn Rand.

Just when I had discovered Ayn Rand and she had created a revolution in my thinking, Barbara Branden's biography, The Passion of Ayn Rand came out. What I thought was remarkable about Barbara Branden biography was that despite having reason to be bitter towards Rand she displayed both empathy and admiration for her subject. And certainly if you find Ayn Rand's ideas and life of interest, there are two recent books from outside, I dare say more "objective," perspectives that are well thought of and from what I've read not hatchet jobs-- Anne C.

Branden's "Judgment Day" is a brutal, tell-all book about twisted relationships and a cult that developed around Ayn Rand.

Difficult to tolerate his dialogue at times (too transparent and plot-driven)...

He met Rand in California where he attended college for psychology.