Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”: The Story of Her Original Screenplay by Shoshana Milgram

Ayn Rand’s original screenplay for The Fountainhead was 283 pages long. The final screenplay for the 1949 film was less than half that length. Much of her work, therefore, has never been available to the public. The OCON program includes a performance of several scenes as originally planned and written. This follow-up talk provides additional information about Ayn Rand’s choices in the 1944 screenplay regarding the order and contexts of scenes and includes scenes rendered visually with no dialogue.

Recorded live on July 4, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Ayn Rand on the Genealogy of Altruism by Ben Bayer

Ayn Rand made abundantly clear that the morality of altruism had no basis in reason. Where then, if not from logical arguments, did it originate? It is not enough to point to irrational philosophies: the ultimate question is, where did philosophers get the idea? This talk will explore Ayn Rand’s own views on the motives that led thinkers to adopt this irrational morality. The talk will also examine how her views on this subject developed and deepened between the writing of The Fountainhead and her later nonfiction essays. It will also compare her views to Nietzsche’s views in The Genealogy of Morals, which are similar in certain respects but profoundly different in others.

Recorded live on July 3, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Ayn Rand Interviewed with Mickey Spillane by Mike Wallace

Mike Wallace interviews Ayn Rand and Mickey Spillane on their reasons for becoming authors, their view of what makes a hero, and why, despite being viciously denounced by critics, they both maintain a large popular appeal. Hear Ayn Rand’s straight-to-the-point analysis of her own and Mickey Spillane’s work in this 1961 interview.

Audio licensed courtesy of The Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

Behind the Scenes: Ayn Rand on What Makes a Hero

In 1961, Mike Wallace sat down with both Ayn Rand and Mickey Spillane for an interview. For decades, this interview has been unavailable to the general public. Now we are releasing it for the first time. In this YouTube livestream event, join Elan Journo and Tom Bowden as they go “Behind the Scenes” of this historic interview and discuss how Rand and Spillane found themselves on the same stage. This interview offers a unique view of Rand—we see Ayn Rand, the friend, coming to the defense of the critically attacked Spillane and giving him credit as a “moral crusader.” Through his character Mike Hammer, Rand explains, Spillane presents us with a man who refuses to compromise his integrity. Join us for this remarkable interview and discover Rand’s answer to “What Makes a Hero?”—an answer she says will “astonish you.”

Mickey Spillane: Crusader for Justice by Shoshana Milgram

Mickey Spillane is one of the best-selling writers of all time, with estimated sales of 225 million copies. Mike Hammer, his most enduring hero, is a private detective who pursues justice with physical and moral courage. Mike uses his gun, his fists, and his mind to avenge the innocent, to destroy the evil, and to guard the good. Many reviewers dismissed or condemned Spillane’s writing; many readers, undeterred, have devoured the books anyway. Ayn Rand admired the Mike Hammer books and praised them publicly. This talk surveys the range of Spillane’s writing career (including his ideas for films starring his friend John Wayne), with emphasis on the voice and virtues of his crusading hero.

Recorded live on July 3, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Don’t Be Boring: Winning the Attention Game by Don Watkins

There has never been more competition for people’s attention. And yet you can’t win the war of ideas unless you can cut through the noise and get your message heard. In this talk, Don Watkins looks at the theory and practice of capturing attention and how you can use that knowledge to promote Ayn Rand’s ideas. 

Reproduction and the Objectivist Ethics by Gregory Salmieri

The Objectivist ethics is grounded in the nature of life. Spanning meta-ethics to politics, this talk surveys the implications for this ethics of an aspect of life about which Rand said little: reproduction. Topics include what it means for an organism’s life to be its ultimate value, whether (and when) having children is egoistic, and the rights of parents and children.

Recorded live on July 5, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Creating a New Generation of Energy Champions: A Panel hosted by Yaron Brook with Bud Brigham, Alex Epstein, and Onkar Ghate.

Recorded as part of the Ayn Rand Institute Gala at OCON 2021.

Today, the energy industry—the industry that powers every other industry—is under unprecedented attack, with widespread calls to eliminate fossil fuels and continue the strangulation of nuclear power. The attack on energy is fundamentally philosophical in nature, rooted in an anti-human philosophy that regards human impact on nature—an essential of human flourishing—as immoral and inevitably self-destructive. Fortunately, there is a growing movement of energy champions, who, armed with pro-human philosophical ideas and a deep command of the facts about energy, environment and climate, are winning hearts and minds. Join us for a panel of distinguished experts who will discuss the intellectual challenges facing the energy industry today and how ARI can help create a new generation of energy champions.

Dismantling Roe by Onkar Ghate

If Samuel Alito’s leaked first draft of a potential majority decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization is a reliable indication, the Supreme Court will overturn (and may have already done so by the time of the conference) Roe v. Wade. Onkar Ghate examines the arguments offered in Roe, good and bad, the vulnerabilities of the decision, and the case being made for its overturn.

Recorded live on July 2, 2022 as part of the Objectivist Summer Conference.

Ayn Rand Con Second Q&A Panel on Objectivism with Onkar Ghate, Aaron Smith and Nikos Sotirakopoulos

After reflecting on the day’s talks, the audience asks questions they have about Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

Free Will by Onkar Ghate (ARC EU 2022)

One core premise of Ayn Rand’s philosophy is free will—the idea that you are not the deterministic product of your race or genes or tribal collective—but have a basic form of control over your thoughts and actions. What is Ayn Rand’s theory of free will and how does it provide the foundation for her radical new moral philosophy.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 3, 2022.

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson | Dec. 1967

A special edition of the ARI Live Podcast: Ayn Rand’s third and final appearance on the Tonight Show.

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson | Oct. 1967

A special edition of the ARI Live Podcast: Ayn Rand’s second appearance on the Tonight Show.

Ayn Rand on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson | Aug. 1967

A special edition of the ARI Live Podcast: Ayn Rand’s first appearance on the Tonight Show.

Behind the Scenes: Ayn Rand on the Tonight Show with Elan Journo and Tom Bowden

In 1967, Ayn Rand made three controversial appearances in the space of four months on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, including one that hasn’t been heard publicly since its broadcast.

In this YouTube livestream event, join Elan Journo and Tom Bowden as they discuss the cultural context of the 1960s, Rand’s ground rules for appearing on Carson’s show, the topics covered in the interviews, Carson’s conversational skills and intellectual courage, and the strong audience response.

Stay tuned for podcasts featuring all three interviews, in which Rand addresses an astonishing range of issues, from basic principles of philosophy to reasoned opinions on current events and cultural trends to lighthearted banter.

Rand stoked controversy and pulled no punches. She declared her reasoned opposition to the Vietnam War, the military draft, and to a papal encyclical attacking the moral foundations of Western civilization — while expressing support for rational self-interest, the pursuit of individual happiness, political freedom, Romantic art, and the novels of Mickey Spillane.

Although Rand would in later years give long-form interviews to Phil Donahue, Tom Snyder and others, these three Johnny Carson interviews remain unsurpassed for sheer breadth. Join us for a trip back to a time when talk-show discussions of highly contentious issues could be calm, focused, intelligent and rational.

Ayn Rand Con First Q&A Panel on Objectivism with Yaron, Onkar, Keith

After reflecting on the day’s talks, participants asked questions about Ayn Rand’s philosophy, Objectivism.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

The Virtue of Selfishness by Keith Lockitch

Everyone knows that selfishness is evil, right? But what if our concept of “selfishness” is completely mistaken? From Ayn Rand’s perspective, “selfishness” does not mean what people typically think it means. And a central tenet of her philosophy is that, properly understood, selfishness is actually the essence of virtue.

Recorded at AynRandCon – Europe in London on April 2, 2022.

An Overview of Ayn Rand’s Ideas by Onkar Ghate

This talk was part of Ayn Rand Con Europe on April 3, 2022.

Dostoevsky and the Drama of Ideas That Matter by Shoshana Milgram

Fyodor Dostoevsky was a novelist of ideas. Ayn Rand praised his “enormous intelligence” and “superb mastery of plot structure”; some of her fiction even has parallels with his. As a writer, he dramatized principles with passionate intensity and psychological complexity. As a man, he took part in Russia’s debates and dangers (including hard labor in Siberia). Powerful convictions inspired his characters’ actions–and his own. (No advance reading required.)

Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on September 01, 2021.

O. Henry: Austin’s Storyteller and America’s Spirit by Shoshana Milgram

“More than any other author,” Ayn Rand wrote, O. Henry represents “the expectation of finding something wonderful around all of life’s corners.” He became world-famous for his ingenious plot twists, exuberant wordplay, and cheerful benevolence. It all began, in fact, in Austin—where he lived, loved, worked, and first expressed his glowing literary universe. (No advance reading required.) Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.

Ayn Rand’s Intransigent Atheism by Robert Mayhew

Ayn Rand was not a crusader against theism, but a creator and defender of a rational philosophy for living on Earth. Every fundamental of her philosophy, however, has negative implications for theism and religious belief. This lecture examines the radical nature of her atheism, with special attention given to the idea of God, the arguments for God’s existence, and what Ayn Rand means in claiming “that nobody actually believes in God.” (Companion to Mayhew’s OCON 2014 lecture “Ayn Rand’s Sacred Atheism.”) Recorded live as part of The Objectivist Conference on August 30, 2021.

OCON 2021: Spreading Objectivism: A Vision for ARI’s Future with Tal Tsfany

Tal Tsfany, ARI’s president and CEO, will review ARI’s mission to spread Objectivism and the progress made during 2020-21. ARI’s strategy for the future will be presented together with many data points and insights, collected through newly implemented technologies and methodologies. Mr. Tsfany will answer questions about the direction ARI is taking.

Celebrating Thirty Years of “OPAR” Panel with John Allison, Yaron Brook, Tara Smith

John Allison, Yaron Brook and Tara Smith each have a unique perspective on the role that Objectivism has played in their lives and work. Join these panelists as they celebrate the 30th anniversary of Leonard Peikoff’s masterwork and reflect on the impact that OPAR has had on their understanding of Objectivism and their ability to apply it successfully in their careers—in business, in public intellectual activism and in academic philosophy.

Keynote: Celebrating Thirty Years of “OPAR” by Yaron Brook

The publication of Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand in 1991 was a landmark event. As a longtime student and friend of Leonard Peikoff, Yaron Brook will give some thoughts on the impact that OPAR has had on his own intellectual development and on the Objectivist movement.

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