Although Ayn Rand defined a full philosophic system, which she called Objectivism, she never wrote a comprehensive, nonfiction presentation of it. Rand’s interest in philosophy stemmed originally from her desire to create heroic fictional characters for her novels, especially Atlas Shrugged, whose final philosophic speech she called Objectivism’s “briefest summary.”
In 1976, philosopher Leonard Peikoff, her longtime student and associate, gave a lecture course that Rand described as “the only authorized presentation of the entire theoretical structure of Objectivism, i.e., the only one that I know of my own knowledge to be fully accurate.”
Following Rand’s death, Peikoff edited and reorganized those lectures to produce Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand, the first comprehensive statement of her philosophy. Published in 1991, this book presents Rand’s entire philosophy — metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics and esthetics — in essentialized and systematic form.