Betsy Speicher

What Was Ayn Rand Really Like?

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The Ayn Rand Institute has gathered together talks and interviews with people who knew Ayn Rand and you can listen to the free audios here.

Many of these are also available from the AynRandBookstore.com and some are available no where else.

  • My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand — An Intellectual Memoir by Leonard Peikoff (Recorded 1987 at Ford Hall Forum)
  • Ayn Rand and the Atlas Shrugged Years: Reminiscences and Recollections by Mary Ann Sures with Harry Binswanger (Recorded April 25, 1992)
  • An Excerpt From Ayn Rand’s Life: Highlights and Sidelights by Harry Binswanger (Recorded 1993)
  • About Facets of Ayn Rand by Mary Ann Sures, with Leonard Peikoff (Recorded 2001)
  • Centenary Reminiscences of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff (Recorded February 5, 2005)
  • New York Centenary Reminiscences of Ayn Rand by Harry Binswanger and Allan Gotthelf (Recorded April 23, 2005)

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FYI - some incredible reminiscences are captured by The Objectivist History Project: http://home.earthlink.net/~dscottprod/ohp/

All the people interviewed by this project, funded by David Kelley's organization, either broke with Ayn Rand during her lifetime and/or publicly criticized Ayn Rand after she died. If you are concerned with accuracy and credibility, this context matters.

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The Ayn Rand Institute has gathered together talks and interviews with people who knew Ayn Rand and you can listen to the free audios here.

Many of these are also available from the AynRandBookstore.com and some are available no where else.

  • My Thirty Years with Ayn Rand — An Intellectual Memoir by Leonard Peikoff (Recorded 1987 at Ford Hall Forum)
  • Ayn Rand and the Atlas Shrugged Years: Reminiscences and Recollections by Mary Ann Sures with Harry Binswanger (Recorded April 25, 1992)
  • An Excerpt From Ayn Rand’s Life: Highlights and Sidelights by Harry Binswanger (Recorded 1993)
  • About Facets of Ayn Rand by Mary Ann Sures, with Leonard Peikoff (Recorded 2001)
  • Centenary Reminiscences of Ayn Rand by Leonard Peikoff (Recorded February 5, 2005)
  • New York Centenary Reminiscences of Ayn Rand by Harry Binswanger and Allan Gotthelf (Recorded April 23, 2005)

A lot of these are exceptional. I've heard Dr. Peikoff's 30 years speech, it was great. Have listened to the Mary Ann Sures and Harry Binswanger reminiscences, which were excellent (by the way who was that woman introducing and concluding the audio segment? Her listnessness almost negated the full-of-life sensation from the presentation itself).

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(by the way who was that woman introducing and concluding the audio segment? Her listnessness almost negated the full-of-life sensation from the presentation itself).

It was probably someone who works for the people who do the recording.

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These are wonderful reminiscences. They certainly fit with my own impressions of Miss Rand, upon briefly meeting her after her 1971 Ford Hall Forum lecture:

see "A Meeting with Ayn Rand," http://forums.4aynrandfans.com/index.php?showtopic=124

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An interesting source as to Ayn Rand as a person is a small segment of Benett Cerf's autobiography.

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An interesting source as to Ayn Rand as a person is a small segment of Benett Cerf's autobiography.

Cerf does acknowledge Miss Rand's brilliance, and testifies that his liberal friends were absolutely unable to defeat her in argument. However, he never understood her ideas. I believe he states that he never read Galt's speech.

Miss Rand understood him to have promised he would publish any future work of hers. Cerf claims he said he would publish any future fictional work of hers. When she submitted The Virtue of Selfishness with a chapter entitled "The Fascist New Frontier," Cerf hit the ceiling, appalled that anyone would criticize his liberal icon. So they parted ways.

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An interesting source as to Ayn Rand as a person is a small segment of Benett Cerf's autobiography.

Cerf does acknowledge Miss Rand's brilliance, and testifies that his liberal friends were absolutely unable to defeat her in argument. However, he never understood her ideas. I believe he states that he never read Galt's speech.

Miss Rand understood him to have promised he would publish any future work of hers. Cerf claims he said he would publish any future fictional work of hers. When she submitted The Virtue of Selfishness with a chapter entitled "The Fascist New Frontier," Cerf hit the ceiling, appalled that anyone would criticize his liberal icon. So they parted ways.

The question at the top of the page is "What was Ayn Rand really like?" I assumed we were talking about her personally. Cerf's comments were about their personal relationship. There was one. He could visit her at home and bring friends. His comments about her were personal with a few extra comments to keep his rep as a liberal. From what Cerf says I think that he respected her and even liked her. The few pages he includes on AR give an interesting view not available from those who were close friends and admirers. In that Cerf is about as honest as I have seen from the outside.

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There is a new book out, Facets of Ayn Rand, by Mary Ann and Charles Sures:

http://facetsofaynrand.com/

There is much wonderful content to read on the web site. I found it uplifting and just a good feeling to vicariously 'be' with Miss Rand through Mary Ann and Charles' words.

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