Ayn Rand

Productive Achievement: Man’s “Noblest Activity” by Onkar Ghate

Most thinkers throughout history have held a negative or, at best, neutral view of productive work. If not scorned outright, production has usually been viewed as having no moral significance. But Ayn Rand had a unique view of the human potential, central to which is the importance she accords to the act of production. Productive achievement, in her philosophy, is man’s “noblest activity.” This talk explores what Objectivism means by the virtue of productiveness and discusses aspects of our culture’s positive and negative attitudes toward producers and productive activity.

Onkar Ghate is senior fellow and chief content officer at the Ayn Rand Institute. Tara Smith, who participates in the question period, is professor of philosophy and BB&T Chair for the Study of Objectivism at the University of Texas at Austin. This talk was delivered at Objectivist Summer Conference 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, June 10, 2017.

Ayn Rand’s Ideas: An Introduction

Tens of millions have read Ayn Rand’s novels, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and half a million copies of her works now sell each year, but far fewer people know of the radical system of ideas underlying the stories she created. This lecture by Onkar Ghate introduces some of the main ideas of this controversial thinker — and their vital importance today. Recorded June 2, 2003

Reclaiming Americanism Panel

A New Textbook of Americanism: The Politics of Ayn Rand (2018) presents Rand’s distinctive philosophical conception of “Americanism” and shows why it is so urgently needed today. This panel features the book’s editor Jonathan Hoenig and several contributors.

Recorded live at OCON on June 24, 2019

Foundations of a Free Society Panel

Foundations of a Free Society: Reflections on Ayn Rand’s Political Philosophy (2019) is an in-depth philosophic exploration of Rand’s advocacy of capitalism. The book relates her ideas to contemporary and historical debates, and particularly the views of other thinkers seen as defending individual liberty and free markets. This panel moderated by Elan Journo features contributors to the book.

Recorded live at OCON on June 25, 2019

Facts and Fallacies About Intellectual Ability by Edwin A. Locke

This talk presents what is known about intellectual ability including its proper definition, its measurement, its genetic basis, its association with life achievements and outcomes, and its relationship to volition. It also explains why the issue of intellectual ability has been politicized especially among intellectuals. A proper view of social justice will be presented. Recorded live at

OCON on June 26, 2019

The Subtheme of Free Will in Atlas Shrugged by Ben Bayer

According to Ayn Rand, the theme of Atlas Shrugged is “the role of the mind in man’s existence.” In this session, we explore how Rand conveys her distinctive theory of free will, that the operation of the mind itself is volitional. In particular, we focus on a key conflict in the plot that is resolved only when one character realizes that the mind is volitional. Recorded live at OCON on June 27, 2019

The Romanticism of Atlas Shrugged by Ben Bayer

Ayn Rand described Romanticism as “a category of art based on the recognition of the principle that man possesses the faculty of volition.” In this session, we discuss how her novel “Atlas Shrugged” fits into this category. Drawing on the framework Rand establishes in her essay “What Is Romanticism?,” we explore how the major conflicts in the plot of “Atlas Shrugged” express Rand’s commitment to the premise of volition in man’s existential action, and how the major value-conflicts faced by central characters in the novel express the same commitment in regard to man’s consciousness. We also highlight the importance of each of these features of Rand’s Romanticism and how they contribute to the enjoyment of the novel.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

The Virtue of Selfishness by Elan Journo

Recorded live at Ayn Rand Conference Europe 2020

Music in Stone: Architecture and Sense of Life by Barry Wood

Architecture is in a class of its own among the arts, combining utilitarian function and expressive power. How, though, can a building, which is nonrepresentational, convey meaning? In this lecture, Dr. Wood draws on Ayn Rand’s writings on architecture, including The Fountainhead and The Romantic Manifesto, to deepen our understanding of how great buildings concretize abstract values. The talk includes analyses of several works of world architecture from an Objectivist perspective.

This lecture was delivered on July 5, 2018 at OCON 2018.

Creativity Comes from the Subconscious — or Does It? by Edwin A. Locke

This talk argues that the prime mover in creativity is the conscious mind even though the subconscious plays a critical role. The conscious aspect includes: having a purpose or goal, passionate love of the goal, active thinking, vision, independent judgment, tenacity and objectivity, and the willingness to change goals or strategies in the face of failure. The role of intelligence and the subconscious will be explained. Dr. Locke gives specific examples from literature, business and science.

Yaron Brook and David Pakman Debate: “Should We Have Welfare Programs?”

Listen to the third in a series of four discussions between Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook and David Pakman about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Pakman is the host of the internationally syndicated television and radio program The David Pakman Show.

Yaron Brook Debates David Pakman on Ayn Rand

Listen to the first in a series of four discussions between Ayn Rand Institute chairman Yaron Brook and David Pakman about Ayn Rand and Objectivism. Pakman is the host of the internationally syndicated television and radio program The David Pakman Show.

Transforming Burnout with Selfishness – Ellen Kenner, Edwin A. Locke and Jean Moroney

Burnout is a vicious cycle involving loss of motivation for one’s job or career. Internal causes include altruism, the duty premise and secondhand values. External causes include unrealistic expectations of others and injustice. Our panel of experts: Ellen Kenner, Edwin A. Locke and Jean Moroney discuss how making selfish value choices breaks the vicious cycle of burnout, so you can experience a virtuous cycle of productivity for achieving selfish goals.

From Metaphysical Facts to Moral Guidance by Aaron Smith

This session—part lecture, part class discussion—explores the fact that, and the ways in which, the guidance offered by the Objectivist ethics flows from the recognition of certain universal facts about human nature and the nature of the world in which man lives. The purpose of the session is to highlight the connection between facts and values from a uniquely Objectivist perspective.

Recorded live at OCON on June 24, 2019

Falling In Love With Poetry (Part 2) by Lisa VanDamme

The goal of this talk is to help you fall in love – or more in love – both with poetry and with love itself. With a symphonic integration of all the resources of language, great love poets take the most elusive nuances, thrills, mysteries, and motifs of love and throw them into sharp relief. During this talk, you will see these facets illumined by such timeless poets as Tennyson, Donne, Millay, and Browning.

You will experience the power of poetry to sharpen our vision, intensify our feelings, deepen our souls, and expand our capacity to love.

Recorded live at OCON 2018.

Falling In Love With Poetry (Part 1) by Lisa VanDamme

The goal of this talk is to help you fall in love – or more in love – both with poetry and with love itself. With a symphonic integration of all the resources of language, great love poets take the most elusive nuances, thrills, mysteries, and motifs of love and throw them into sharp relief. During this talk, you will see these facets illumined by such timeless poets as Tennyson, Donne, Millay, and Browning.

You will experience the power of poetry to sharpen our vision, intensify our feelings, deepen our souls, and expand our capacity to love.

Recorded live at OCON 2018.

The Influence of Ayn Rand on My Life and Business Career by Lars Seier Christensen

Mr. Christensen, co-founder of Denmark’s Saxo Bank and founder of the private equity firm Seier Capital, has had a long, successful career as an innovator in banking and finance. In this talk, he discusses his business career and the role that Objectivism has played in his personal and professional development.

This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2018.

Sense of Life in Medieval Persia by Barry Wood

Art is a universal need of man qua man, yet most people’s awareness of art is limited to the Western tradition. This horizon-expanding lecture offers an introduction to the culture of medieval Persia. Dr. Wood analyzes, in Objectivist terms, the ways in which the poets, painters and architects of that era distilled their sense of life into concrete form. The reward is an increased appreciation of Ayn Rand’s insights into art, as well as of a lesser-known legacy of human creativity.

Recorded live at OCON 2019

Practicum on “Motivation by Love” by Jean Moroney

Do you select actions because they help you achieve values (“motivation by love”) or avoid failures (“motivation by fear”)? The same action can lead to happiness or suffereing depending on your reason for taking it. You will learn:

– The full meaning of “motivation by love” and its antithesis “motivation by fear

– The need to act from “motivation by love,” i.e., with the achievement of your values as your primary focus

– How to switch to a values-focus when you spot “motivation by fear”

Recorded live on June 24, 2019 as part of OCON 2019

Achieving Happiness: Living Life with Purpose

Objectivism is a “philosophy for living on earth” as Ayn Rand wrote. In this discussion, Ms. Agarwal and Mr. Tsfany relate how they understand the process of implementing Rand’s philosophy in one’s life and career. The conversation covers aspects of discovering, defining and pursuing a life of purpose and, consequently, happiness and fulfillment. This talk was recorded at Objectivist Summer Conference 2019.

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 8) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART IV, CHAPTERS 11–20


This is part 1 of an 8-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 7) with Ben Bayer and Paul Taske

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: Part IV, Chapters 1–10


This is part 7 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 6) with Ben Bayer and Paul Taske

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD, Part III, Chapters 1–9


This is part 6 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 5) with Aaron Smith and Agustina Vergara Cid

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of Anthem; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode: A Q&A About Ayn Rand’s ANTHEM


This is part 5 of a 5-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 5) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART II, CHAPTERS 19–15

This is part 5 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Q&A Panel: Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate, Keith Lockitch and Gregory Salmieri



The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This Q&A is the final talk recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.



Thinking Objectively in Times of Crisis by Gregory Salmieri

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This is the third of four talks recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.



Objectivity in Government in Times of Crisis by Yaron Brook

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This is the second of four talks recorded on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Infectious Disease Under the American Form of Government by Onkar Ghate

The COVID-19 pandemic and the response to it at all levels of government have disrupted all of our lives. As we begin to contemplate the challenge of reopening and rebuilding the economy in the face on the ongoing spread of the virus, it’s critical to employ the right philosophical framework for thinking about these issues, and to not be misled by false alternatives, wishful thinking, tribalistic finger-pointing and other forms of distorted thinking.

This is the first of four talks recorded live on April 18, 2020, as part of AynRandCon-LIVE, a free online event offering a framework for thinking about the COVID-19 crisis from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 4) with Aaron Smith and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of Anthem; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode: The Continuing Relevance of Anthem
This is part 4 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

Update: we added a bonus Q&A session on Friday, April 24 at 10 am PT!

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 4) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.  

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART II, CHAPTERS 1–8

This is part 4 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 3) with Aaron Smith and Agustina Vergara Cid

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of Anthem; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode: Anthem as Ayn Rand’s Hymn to Man’s Ego

This is part 1 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

Update: we added a bonus Q&A session on Friday, April 24 at 10 am PT!

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 3) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode:  THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART I, CHAPTERS 9–15

This is part 3 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 2) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of The Fountainhead; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today. 

Discussed in this episode: THE FOUNTAINHEAD: PART I, CHAPTERS 1–8

This is part 2 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 2) with Aaron Smith and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of Anthem; the novel’s plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compares to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.

Discussed in this episode: Individualism vs. Collectivism in Anthem

This is part 2 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

Update: we’ve just added a bonus Q&A session on Friday, April 24 at 10 am PT!

Anthem Discussion Series (Session 1) with Aaron Smith and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of “Anthem;” the novel’ plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compare to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.

This is part 1 of a 4-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s Anthem, taking place on Fridays at 10:00 am PT from March 27 – April 17. Watch live on YouTube or register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/Anthem to ask questions before or during the webinar.

The Fountainhead Discussion Series (Session 1) with Ben Bayer and Keith Lockitch

In this series, teachers from the Ayn Rand Institute will discuss Rand’s background and the history of “The Fountainhead”; the novel’ plots, central themes and characters; how the novel compare to other well-known works; and how the novel relates to the era in which it was written and to today.

This is part 1 of a 9-part book discussion series on Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”, taking place Fridays at 12:00 pm PT from March 27 – May 22. Watch live on YouTube or–to ask questions–register at https://courses.aynrand.org/webinars/fountainhead

Aristotle and the Romantic Manifesto by Robert Mayhew

In the Romantic Manifesto, Ayn Rand reports that before she heard the name “Aristotle,” she had accepted his principle “that fiction is of greater philosophical importance than history, because history represents things only as they are, while fiction represents them ‘as they might be and ought to be.’” The aim of this talk is to explain the role of this principle in Aristotle’s esthetics and Ayn Rand’s, and to note other parallels between the Poetics and Romantic Manifesto.

Recorded live on June 27, 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

Spreading Objectivism: A Vision for ARI’s Future by Tal Tsfany

Tal Tsfany, ARI’s president and CEO, reviews ARI’s mission to spread Objectivism and the progress made during 2018–19. ARI’s strategy for the future is presented together with many data points and insights collected through newly implemented technologies and methodologies. Tal then answers questions about the direction ARI is taking.

Recorded live on June 25, 2019 in Clevland, OH.

Highlights from the Romantic Manifesto by Onkar Ghate, Yaron Brook

The Romantic Manifesto is a rich and philosophically penetrating book. It is, Rand states in her introduction, a “declaration of my personal objectives or motives” as an artist and “of the theoretical grounds that entitle me to these objectives and motives.” We explore some of the insights into Objectivism we get from her manifesto and some lessons to take—or not to take—from the book to increase one’s enjoyment of art and of life.

Recorded live at OCON 2019 in Cleveland, OH.

How to Fill Your Life With Art by Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate

A central message of The Romantic Manifesto is the value of enriching your life with great art. But how? Dr. Brook has long pursued a passion for bringing Romantic art to Objectivists and other buyers and seeking out great art around the world. Join him for a discussion of the difference between great art and art you like; how to define your personal favorites; and how, over time, to elevate your taste in art.

Recorded live in Cleveland on June 24, 2019

Ayn Rand on Art with Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate and Robert Mayhew

Yaron Brook, Onkar Ghate and Robert Mayhew have a panel discussion and Q&A on various aspects of Ayn Rand’s perspective on art.

Recorded live at OCON 2019 in Clevland, OH on June 23, 2019.

Why Should I care About Israel? with Elan Journo

Israel is talked about often in the media, but many Americans don’t understand why we are so preoccupied with this country.

Often Israel is spoken of in a negative context: boycotts at universities, condemnations by the United Nations, and so on. What makes Israel worse than other countries? On the flip side, good defenses of Israel are scant. Is Israel important to U.S. foreign policy? If so, why?

Join David Birnbaum as he interviews foreign policy expert Elan Journo on the question: Why should I care about Israel?