Edited by Robert Mayhew
In the decades after the publication of Ayn Rand’s last novel, Atlas Shrugged, she turned
to nonfiction writing and public speaking to advocate her philosophy and apply it to
current events and cultural affairs. People flocked to hear her insightful and provocative
commentaries—and to ask her a question during Q&A periods. For the first time in print,
here is the best of that material.
The book encompasses Q&As from lectures and several media interviews, spanning the
years 1958 to 1981. As the editor’s introduction observes, the topics covered are
“enormously wide-ranging: humor, Ernest Hemingway, modern art, Jane Fonda, the war
in Vietnam, Libertarians, religious conservatives, Hollywood communists, Dagny
Taggart, the correspondence theory of truth, atheism, Don Quixote, [playwright] Terrence
Rattigan, abortion, gun control, love and sex, drugs, Ronald Reagan, and much more.”
Many of the topics covered are not explicitly dealt with in Rand’s published works.
Ayn Rand’s responses flowed from her philosophic framework, Objectivism, and her
personal values. By reading this book one can gain not only new insights, but also a fuller
appreciation of her thought and a sense of what she was like as a person.
Note that she considered her extemporaneous answers as, at their best, “almost
publishable” or perhaps first drafts, invariably requiring editing. She did not see this
edited compilation of her answers and its content, therefore, should not be considered
part of her stated philosophy.