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Who is Ayn Rand?

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Ayn Rand was a Russian-born author and philosopher who wrote the best-selling novels "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged." She is also known for developing objectivism, a philosophy that rejected faith and reason, and promoted rational self-interest and laissez-faire capitalism.

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After moving to the United States in 1926, Rand became well-known in 1943 upon publication of "The Fountainhead," an influential novel that exemplified her philosophical beliefs. "Atlas Shrugged," published in 1957, is considered her best-known work. Economist Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, promoted her philosophy and was part of her inner circle.

Rand was critical of most other religious and philosophical traditions, with the notable exception of Aristotle, whose views were in alignment with hers. An atheist who lived much of her adult life in Los Angeles, Rand did not believe in religious altruism and advocated selfishness, although she criticized the flamboyant Hollywood lifestyle.

Rand's work has not received favor in academia and among literary critics, but her novels and non-fiction books continue to be popular with college students and libertarians. Ayn Rand is also the author of several plays, screenplays and the novels "We, the Living" and "Anthem." She was working on a TV mini-series of "Atlas Shrugged" at the time of her death in 1982.

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