Ayn Rand saw heroes and wounds – with Flor Rassmann and Gus Valk

Shades of gray have no place in Ayn Rand’s universe. He divided humanity into two categories: genius heroes with successful companies (they make delicious hamburgers and can fly airplanes) and sick bastards, with sick names like Balfe Eubank or Wesley Mauch.

This week we read Atlas Shrugged. “As a work of literature, it fails on every level,” said this week’s guest, NRC columnist Flor Razman, who graduated from Rand’s work. Gus Wall, former US correspondent and current chief of editorial staff at The Hague, is not happy about it either. The characters are flat and it’s an “unnecessarily thick book full of sermons”. However, they found Atlas Shrugged a fascinating book to read. “Rand gives selfishness a moral sauce.”

Since its publication in 1957, the book has sold more than 10 million copies. Ayn Rand’s work primarily appeals to right-wing Americans. Rand believed that people should act rationally and selfishly, with their own happiness as the goal in their lives. With her philosophy, Objectivism, she wanted to change the world.

She didn’t blink, wore dollar sign necklaces, and began a cult. Who was Ayn Rand, the Russian who became the capitalist figure of conservative America? What did his work stir in America and Europe, and what is it like to read Atlas Shrugged, “a political pamphlet in the form of a novel” today?

This is the eighth part of a nine-part series on books that changed the world.

Eve Peak
Michel Krielaars & Arnon Grunberg
Editing & Editing:
Jean Gergen
Everett Collection
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