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Ayn Rand Quotes

Ayn Rand Quotes

Ayn Rand was a philosopher, novelist, and screenwriter known for her controversial views on individualism, capitalism, and objectivism. She was born on February 2, 1905, in St. Petersburg, Russia, as Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum.

Rand’s family was Jewish, and her father was a successful pharmacist. Rand showed an early interest in writing and philosophy and began reading the works of Aristotle and Nietzsche at a young age. In 1926, she graduated from the State Technicum for Screen Arts in Leningrad and went on to work as a screenwriter in the Soviet film industry.

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In 1929, Rand emigrated to the United States and settled in Hollywood, where she worked as a screenwriter and began writing her own novels. Her first novel, “We the Living,” was published in 1936 and dealt with the struggles of a young woman in Soviet Russia.

Rand’s most famous novel, “The Fountainhead,” was published in 1943 and became a bestseller. The novel tells the story of an individualistic architect named Howard Roark, who is willing to go to great lengths to maintain his artistic integrity. The book became a cult classic and has sold over six million copies.

Rand’s philosophy, known as objectivism, emphasized individualism, reason, and laissez-faire capitalism. She believed that people should be free to pursue their own self-interest and that government should have a minimal role in people’s lives. Her philosophy was controversial and garnered criticism from many quarters.

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In 1957, Rand published her most ambitious work, “Atlas Shrugged.” The novel tells the story of a dystopian world where the most productive members of society go on strike to protest government interference in the economy. The book cemented Rand’s reputation as a thinker and writer and has sold over seven million copies.

Rand died on March 6, 1982, in New York City. Her philosophy and works continue to influence contemporary political and economic debates.

Here, we have curated some of the most popular quotes of Ayn Rand Quotes Self-Interest And Individual Achievement

Famous Ayn Rand Quotes

1. “I came here to say that I do not recognize anyone’s right to one minute of my life. Nor to any part of my energy. Nor to any achievement of mine. No matter who makes the claim, how large their number or how great their need. I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others.”

2. “A rational man never distorts or corrupts his own standards and judgment in order to appeal to the irrationality, stupidity, or dishonesty of others.”

3. “Man is the only living species that has the power to act as his own destroyer – and that is the way he has acted through most of his history.”

4.“I think. I am. I will.”

I think. I am. I will. - Ayn Rand

5. “The greatest guilt of today is that of people who accept collectivism by moral default; the people who seek protection from the necessity of taking a stand, by refusing to admit to themselves the nature of that which they are accepting; the people who support plans specifically designed to achieve serfdom, but hide behind the empty assertion that they are lovers of freedom, with no concrete meaning attached to the word; the people who believe that the content of ideas need not be examined, that principles need not be defined, and that facts can be eliminated by keeping one’s eyes shut. They expect, when they find themselves in a world of bloody ruins and concentration camps, to escape moral responsibility by wailing: “But I didn’t mean this!”

6. “Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one’s highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It’s a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.”

7. “You still love me – even if there’s one expression of it that you will always feel and want, but will not give me no longer. I’m still what I was, and you’ll always see it, and you’ll always grant me the same response, even if there’s a greater one that you grant another man. No matter what you feel for him, it will not change what you feel for me, and it won’t treason to either, because it comes from the same root, it’s the same payment in answer to the same values.”

8. “I love you, Dominique. As selfishly as the fact that I exist. As selfishly as my lungs breathe air. I breathe for my own necessity, for the fuel of my body, for my survival. I’ve given you, not my sacrifice or my pity, but my ego and my naked need. This is the only way I can want you to love me.”

9. “Thousands of years ago the first man discovered how to make fire. He was probably burnt at the stake he’d taught his brothers to light, but he left them a gift they had not conceived and he lifted darkness from the face of the Earth.”

10. “Do it first and feel about it afterwards.’ – Dagny Taggart”

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11. “A man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress.”

12. “Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot”

13. “She smiled. She knew she was dying. But it did not matter any longer. She had known something which no human words could ever tell and she knew it now. She had been awaiting it and she felt it, as if it had been, as if she had lived it. Life had been, if only because she had known it could be, and she felt it now as a hymn without sound, deep under the little whole that dripped red drops into the snow, deeper than that from which the red drops came. A moment or an eternity- did it matter? Life, undefeated, existed and could exist. She smiled, her last smile, to so much that had been possible.”

14. “We are all brothers under the skin – and I, for one, would be willing to skin humanity to prove it.”

15. “There are no evil thoughts except one; the refusal to think.”

16. “She tried to tear herself away from him. The effort broke against his arms that had not felt it. Her fists beat against his shoulders, against his face. He moved one had, took her two wrists, pinned them behind her, under his arm, wrenching her shoulder blades. She twisted her head back. She felt his lips on her breast. She tore herself free…She fought like an animal. But she made no sound. She did not call for help. She heard the echoes of her blows in a gasp of his breath, and she knew that it was a gasp of pleasure…She felt the hatred and his hands; his hands moving over her body, the hands that broke granite. She fought the last convulsion. Then the sudden pain shot up, through her body, to her throat, and she screamed. Then she laid still. It was an act that could be performed in tenderness, as a seal of love, or in contempt, as a symbol of humiliation and conquest. It could be an act of a lover or the act of a soldier violating an enemy woman. He did it as an act of scorn. Not as love, but as defilement. And this made her still and submit…the act of a master taking shameful , contemptuous possession of her was the kind of rapture she had wanted…”

17. “To love is to value. Only a rationally selfish man, a man of self esteem, is capable of love – because he is the only man capable of holding firm, consistent, uncompromising, unbetrayed value. The man who does not value himself, cannot value anything or anyone”

18. “Until and unless you discover that money is the root of all good, you ask for your own destruction. When money ceases to become the means by which men deal with one another, then men become the tools of other men. Blood, whips and guns–or dollars. Take your choice–there is no other.”

19. “The more you learn, the more you know that you know nothing.”

20. “I like to think of fire held in a man’s hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips. I often wonder about the hours when a man sits alone, watching the smoke of a cigarette, thinking. I wonder what great things have come from such hours. When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind–and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression.”

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21. “Happiness is a state of non-contradictory joy–a joy without penalty or guilt, a joy that does not clash with any of your values and does not work for your own destruction, not the joy of escaping from your mind, but of using your mind’s fullest power, not the joy of faking reality, but of achieving values that are real, not the joy of a drunkard, but of a producer.”

22. “I am neither foe nor friend to my brothers, but such as each of them shall deserve of me. And to earn my love, my brothers must do more than to have been born. I do not grant my love without reason, nor to any chance passer-by who may wish to claim it. I honor men with my love. But honor is a thing to be earned.”

23. “What I feel for you is contempt. But it’s nothing, compared to the contempt I feel for myself. I don’t love you. I’ve never loved anyone. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you. I wanted you as one wants a whore – for the same reason and purpose. I spent two years damning myself, because I thought you were above a desire of this kind. You’re not. You’re as vile an animal as I am. I should loathe my discovering it. I don’t. Yesterday, I would have killed anyone who’d tell me that you were capable of doing what I’ve had you do. Today, I would give my life not to let it be otherwise. Not to have you be anything but the bitch you are. All the greatness that I saw in you – I would not take it in exchange for the obscenity of your talent at an animal’s sensation of pleasure. We were two great beings, you and I, proud of our strength, weren’t we? Well this is all that’s left of us – and I want no self-deception about it.”

24. “Know what you want in life and go after it. I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals, and I loathe humanity, for its failure to live up to these possibilities.”

25. “My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

26. “Every loneliness is a pinnacle”

Every loneliness is a pinnacle -Ayn Rand

27. “Guilt is a rope that wears thin.”

28. “The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.”

29. “When you are asked to love everybody indiscriminately, that is to love people without any standard, to love them regardless of whether they have any value or virtue, you are asked to love nobody.”

30. “every man is free to rise as far as he’s able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks determines the degree to which he’ll rise.”

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31. “The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right to not agree, not to listen, and not to finance one’s own antagonists.”

32. “Only a man of integrity can possess the virtue of honesty, since only the faking of one’s consciousness can permit the faking of existence.”

33. “Is it advisable to spread out all the conveniences of culture before people to whom a few steps up a stair to a library is a sufficient deterrent from reading?”

34. “He wanted her. He knew where to find her. He waited. It amused him to wait, because he knew that the waiting was unbearable to her. He knew that his absence bound her to him in a manner more complete and humiliating than his presence could enforce. He was giving her time to attempt an escape, in order to let her know her own helplessness when he chose to see her again.”

35. “The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it.”

36. “In a free society, one does not have to deal with those who are irrational. One is free to avoid them.”

37. “We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”

38. “Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.”

39. “I do not think that tragedy is our natural fate and I do not live in chronic dread of disaster. It is no happiness, but suffering that I consider unnatural. It is not success, but calamity that I regard as the abnormal exception in Human Life.”

40. “No speech is ever considered, but only the speaker. It’s so much easier to pass judgement on a man than on an idea.”

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41. “Of course I need you. I go insane when I see you. You can do almost anything you wish with me. Is that what you want to hear? Almost, Dominique. And the things you couldn’t make me do — you could put me through hell if you demanded them and I had to refuse you, as I would. Through utter hell, Dominique. Does that please you? Why do you want to know whether you own me? It’s so simple. Of course you do. All of me that can be owned. You’ll never demand anything else. But you want to know whether you could make me suffer. You could. What of it?” The words did not sound like surrender, because they were not torn out of him, but admitted simply and willingly. She felt no thrill of conquest; she felt herself owned more than ever, by a man who could say these things, know them to be true, and still remain controlled and controlling — as she wanted him to remain.”

42. “You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgement and bearing sole responsibility for your own life. You have been called arrogant for your independent mind. You have been called cruel for your unyielding integrity. You have been calle anti social for the vision that made you venture upon undiscovered roads.”

43. “Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched. The things which are sacred or precious to us are the things we withdraw from promiscuous sharing. But now we are taught to throw everything within us into public light and common pawing. To seek joy in meeting halls. We haven’t even got a word for the quality I mean–for the self-sufficiency of man’s spirit. It’s difficult to call it selfishness or egotism, the words have been perverted, they’ve come to mean Peter Keating. Gail, I think the only cardinal evil on earth is that of placing your prime concern within other men. I’ve always demanded a certain quality in the people I liked. I’ve always recognized it at once–and it’s the only quality I respect in men. I chose my friends by that. Now I know what it is. A self-sufficient ego. Nothing else matters.”

44. “When I die I hope to go to heaven–whatever that is–and I want to be able to afford the price of admission.”

45. “Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.”

Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death. -Ayn Rand

46. “There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil. ”

47. “Don’t think. Believe. Trust your heart, not your brain. Don’t think. Feel. Believe.”

48. “Worry is a waste of emotional reserve”.”

49. “I don’t want to see you. I don’t like you. I don’t like your face. You look like an insufferable egotist. You’re impertinent. You’re too sure of yourself. Twenty years ago I would have punched your face with the greatest of pleasure.”

50. “For the first time since her return, she felt pain, a violent pain, but it made her feel alive, because it was worth feeling.”

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51. “Did you really think we want those laws observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them to be broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against… We’re after power and we mean it… There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that’s the system, Mr. Reardon, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

52. “If one doesn’t respect oneself one can have neither love nor respect for others.”

53. “The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt.”

54. “He, too, stood looking at her for a moment–and it seemed to her that it was not a look of greeting after an absence, but the look of someone who had thought of her every day of that year. She could not be certain, it was only an instant, so brief that just as she caught it, he was turning…”

55. “I know not if this earth on which I stand is the core of the universe or if it is but a speck of dust lost in eternity. I know not and I care not. For I know what happiness is possible to me on earth. And my happiness needs no higher aim to vindicate it. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.”

56. “A quest for self-respect is proof of its lack”

57. “The secrets of this earth are not for all men to see, but only for those who will seek them.”

58. “And what, incidentally, do you think integrity is? The ability not to pick a watch out of your neighbor’s pocket? No, it’s not as easy as that. If that were all, I’d say ninety-five percent of humanity were honest, upright men. Only, as you can see, they aren’t. Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.”

59. “Love is the expression of one’s values, the greatest reward you can earn for the moral qualities you have achieved in your character and person, the emotional price paid by one man for the joy he receives from the virtues of another. ”

60. “Ask yourself whether the dream of heaven and greatness should be left waiting for us in our graves-or whether it should be ours here and now and on this earth.”

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61. “I take no pride in hopeless longing; I wouldn’t hold a stillborn aspiration. I’d want to have it, to make it, to live it.”

62. “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.”

63. “But you see, the measure of hell you’re able to endure is the measure of your love.”

But you see, the measure of hell you're able to endure is the measure of your love. - Ayn Rand

64. “Well, I always know what I want. And when you know what you want–you go toward it. Sometimes you go very fast, and sometimes only an inch a year. Perhaps you feel happier when you go fast. I don’t know. I’ve forgotten the difference long ago, because it really doesn’t matter, so long as you move.”

65. “Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.”

66. “What is morality, she asked. Judgement to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, and courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price. ”

67. “Within the extent of your knowledge, you are right.”

68. “He liked to observe emotions; they were like red lanterns strung along the dark unknown of another’s personality, marking vulnerable points.”

69. “Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artists metaphysical value judgments.”

70. “It’s not that I don’t suffer, it’s that I know the unimportance of suffering. I know that pain is to be fought and thrown aside, not to be accepted as part of one’s soul and as a permanent scar across one’s view of existence.”

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71. “Money will not purchase happiness for the man who has no concept of what he wants.”

72. “Don’t think of them now. Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them. You’re here. It’s our time and our life, not theirs. Don’t struggle not to be happy. You are.

73. “It is not advisable to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener.”

74. “She thought how strange it would be if she ever said ‘Hello’ to him. One did not greet oneself each morning.”

75. “The most depraved type of human being … (is) the man without a purpose.”

76. “Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched”.”

77. “We are on strike, we, the men of the mind. We are on strike against self-immolation. We are on strike against the creed of unearned rewards and unrewarded duties. We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one’s happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.”

78. “It was the greatest sensation of existence: not to trust but to know.”

79. “So you think that money is the root of all evil? […] Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?”

80. “Do not let the hero in your soul parish, in lonely frustration, for the life you deserved but never have been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won. It exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.”

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81. “People want nothing but mirrors around them. To reflect them while they’re reflecting too … Reflections of reflections and echoes of echoes. No beginning and no end. No center and no purpose.”

82. “At first, man was enslaved by the gods. But he broke their chains. Then he was enslaved by the kings. But he broke their chains. He was enslaved by his birth, by his kin, by his race. But he broke their chains. He declared to all his brothers that a man has rights which neither god nor king nor other men can take away from him, no matter what their number, for his is the right of man, and there is no right on earth above this right. And he stood on the threshold of freedom for which the blood of the centuries behind him had been spilled.”

83. “A viler evil than to murder a man, is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue.”

A viler evil than to murder a man, is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue. - Ayn Rand

84. “But there are people who’ll try to hurt you through the good they see in you–knowing that it’s the good, needing it and punishing you for it. Don’t let it break you when you discover that.”

85.“If one’s actions are honest, one does not need the predated confidence of others.”

86. “Patience is always rewarded and romance is always round the corner!”

87. “Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.”

88. “Have you ever felt the longing for someone you could admire? For something, not to look down at, but up to?”

89. “Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”

90. “Self-sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed.”

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91. “It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.”

92. “What is man? He’s just a collection of chemicals with delusions of grandeur.”

93. “I can accept anything, except what seems to be the easiest for most people: the half-way, the almost, the just-about, the in-between.”

94. “That love is reverence, and worship, and glory, and the upward glance. Not a bandage for dirty sores. But they don’t know it. Those who speak of love most promiscuously are the ones who’ve never felt it. They make some sort of feeble stew out of sympathy, compassion, contempt, and general indifference, and they call it love. Once you’ve felt what it means to love as you and I know it – the total passion for the total height – you’re incapable of anything less.”

95. “But I don’t think of you.”

96. “Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others.”

97. “She knew that even pain can be confessed, but to confess happiness is to stand naked, delivered to the witness…”

98. “One loses everything when one loses one’s sense of humor.”

99. “Power-lust is a weed that grows only in the vacant lots of an abandoned mind. ”

100. “In this world, either you’re virtuous or you enjoy yourself. Not both, lady, not both.”

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