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Ayn Rand

"The Frink National Bank Building displayed the entire history of Roman art ... It offered so many columns, pediments, friezes, tripods, gladiators, urns and volutes that it looked as if it had not been built of white marble, but squeezed out of a pastry tube."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"Kill reverence and you've killed the hero in man."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"She was only a shell containing the opinions of her friends."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"Civilization is the progress toward a society of privacy. The savage's whole existence is in public, ruled by the laws of his tribe. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"A house can have integrity, just like a person ..."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"But the mind is an attribute of the individual. There is no such thing as a collective brain. There is no such thing as a collective thought. An agreement reached by a group of men is only a compromise or an average drawn upon many individual thoughts."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"In all proper relationships there is no sacrifice of anyone to anyone."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive. Has any act of selfishness ever equalled the carnage perpetrated by disciples of altruism?"

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"Ah, there's nothing like tea in the afternoon. When the British Empire collapses, historians will find that it had made but two invaluable contributions to civilization -- this tea ritual and the detective novel."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"Allies never trust each other, but that doesn't spoil their effectiveness."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody had decided not to see."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"... the worst wars are religious wars between sects of the same religion or civil wars between brothers of the same race."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"... he wondered whether the peculiar solemnity of looking at the sky comes, not from what one contemplates, but from that uplift of one's head."

Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead (1943)

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"The word which can never die on this earth, for it is the heart of it and the meaning and the glory. The sacred word: EGO."

Ayn Rand, Anthem (1946)

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"My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose. Neither am I the means to any end others may wish to accomplish. I am not a tool for their use. I am not a servant of their needs. I am not a bandage for their wounds. I am not a sacrifice on their altars."

Ayn Rand, Anthem (1946)

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"I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction."

Ayn Rand, Anthem (1946)

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"No one's happiness but my own is in my power to achieve or to destroy."

Ayn Rand, Anthem (1946)

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"A rational process is a moral process."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"The man who damns money has obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it has earned it."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"He liked to observe emotions; they were like red lanterns strung along the dark unknown of another's personality, marking vulnerable points."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"It is not advisable, James, to venture unsolicited opinions. You should spare yourself the embarrassing discovery of their exact value to your listener."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"The code of competence is the only system of morality that's on a gold standard."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"She knew, even though she was too young to know the reason, that indiscriminate desire and unselective sex were possible only to those who regarded sex and themselves as evil."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"... do you know the hallmark of the second-rater? It's resentment of another man's achievement."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"You are an indivisible entity of matter and consciousness. Renounce your consciousness and you become a brute. Renounce your body and you become a fake. Renounce the material world and you surrender it to evil."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Happiness is that state of consciousness which proceeds from the achievement of one's values."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"The adversary she found herself forced to fight was not worth matching or beating; it was not a superior ability which she would have found honor in challenging; it was ineptitude ..."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Money demands that you sell, not your weakness to men's stupidity, but your talent to their reason ..."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Money is the barometer of a society's virtue."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"So you think that money is the root of all evil? Have you ever asked what is the root of money?"

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Money is the root of all good."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"To demand sense is the hallmark of nonsense. Nature does not make sense. Nothing makes sense."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"An honest man is one who knows that he can't consume more than he has produced."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"There are no evil thoughts except one: the refusal to think."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Whenever anyone accuses some person of being 'unfeeling,' he means that that person is just."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"... guilt is a rope that wears thin ..."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"The special quality one feels for the dead, he thought, is that no action is possible any longer."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"The entire history of science is a progression of exploded fallacies, not of achievements."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"Man's unique reward ... is that while animals survive by adjusting themselves to their background, man survives by adjusting his background to himself."

Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual (1961)

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"Capitalism and altruism are incompatible; they are philosophical opposites; they cannot co-exist in the same man or in the same society."

Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual (1961)

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"Professional intellectuals are the voice of a culture and are, therefore, its leaders, its integrators and its bodyguards."

Ayn Rand, For the New Intellectual (1961)

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"A 'mixed economy' is a society in the process of committing suicide."

Ayn Rand, in Los Angeles Times (1962)

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"... I consider promiscuity immoral. Not because sex is evil, but because sex is too good and too important ..."

Ayn Rand, in Playboy (1964)

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"Individual rights are not subject to a public vote; a majority has no right to vote away the rights of a minority."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"... the Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"All public projects are mausoleums, not always in shapes, but always in cost."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendor that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"... consider the extent of the moral and political inversion in today's prevalent view of government. Instead of being a protector of man's rights, the government is becoming their most dangerous violater; instead of guarding freedom, the government is establishing slavery; instead of protecting men from the initiators of physical force, the government is initiating physical force and coercion in any manner and issue it pleases; instead of serving as the instrument of objectivity in human relationships, the government is creating a deadly, subterranean reign of uncertainty and fear, by means of nonobjective laws whose interpretation is left to the arbitrary decisions of random bureaucrats; instead of protecting men from injury by whim, the government is arrogating to itself the power of unlimited whim -- so that we are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"'Censorship' is a term pertaining only to governmental action. No private action is censorship. No private individual or agency can silence a man or suppress a publication; only the government can do so. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right not to agree, not to listen and not to finance one's own antagonists."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"Since there is no such entity as 'the public,' since the public is merely a number of individuals, any claimed or implied conflict of 'the public interest' with private interests means that the interests of some men are to be sacrificed to the interests and wishes of others. Since the concept is so conveniently undefinable, its use rests only on any given gang's ability to proclaim that 'The public, c'est moi -- and to maintain the claim at the point of a gun."

Ayn Rand, The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)

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"The spread of evil is the symptom of a vacuum. Whenever evil wins, it is only by default: by the moral failure of those who evade the fact that there can be no compromise on basic principles."

Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (1966)

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"The moral absolute should be: if and when, in any dispute, one side initiates the use of physical force, that side is wrong -- and no consideration or discussion of the issues is necessary or appropriate."

Ayn Rand, in The Objectivist (1969)

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"Art is the indispensable medium for the communication of a moral ideal ..."

Ayn Rand, The Romantic Manifesto (1969)

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"Thanksgiving is a typically American holiday. In spite of its religious form (giving thanks to God for a good harvest), its essential, secular meaning is a celebration of successful production. It is a producers' holiday. The lavish meal is a symbol of the fact that abundant consumption is the result and reward of production."

Ayn Rand, in The Ayn Rand Letter (1971)

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"The upper classes are merely a nation's past; the middle class is its future."

Ayn Rand, in The Ayn Rand Letter (1971)

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"'Mediocrity' does not mean an average intelligence; it means an average intelligence that resents and envies its betters."

Ayn Rand, The New Left: The Anti-Industrial Revolution (1971)

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"Philosophy by its nature has to be based only on that which is available to the knowledge of any man with a normal mental equipment. Philosophy is not dependent on the discoveries of science; the reverse is true. So whenever you are in doubt about what is or is not a philosophical subject, ask yourself whether you need a specialized knowledge, beyond the knowledge available to you as a normal adult, unaided by any special knowledge or special instruments. And if the answer is possible to you on that basis alone, you are dealing with a philosophical question. If to answer it you would need training in physics, or psychology, or special equipment, etc., then you are dealing with a derivative or scientific field of knowledge, not philosophy."

Ayn Rand, in Harry Binswanger and Leonard Peikoff, eds., Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology (1979)

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"One of the most destructive anti-concepts in the history of moral philosophy is the term 'duty.' "

Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It? (1982)

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"There is only one institution that can arrogate to itself the power legally to trade by means of rubber checks: the government. And it is the only institution that can mortgage your future without your knowledge or consent: government securities (and paper money) are promissory notes on future tax receipts, i.e., on your future production."

Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It? (1982)

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"As a human being, you have no choice about the fact that you need a philosophy. Your only choice is whether you define your philosophy by a conscious, rational, disciplined process of thought and scrupulously logical deliberation -- or let your subconscious accumulate a junk heap of unwarranted conclusions, false generalizations, undefined contradictions, undigested slogans, unidentified wishes, doubts and fears, thrown together by chance, but integrated by your subconscious into a kind of mongrel philosophy and fused into a single, solid weight: self-doubt, like a ball and chain in the place where your mind's wings should have grown."

Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It? (1982)

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"Those who say theory and practice are two unrelated realms are fools in one and scoundrels in the other."

Ayn Rand, 1945, in Michael Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"A person who exists only for the sake of his loved one is not an independent entity, but a spiritual parasite. The love of a parasite is worth nothing."

Ayn Rand, 1948, in Michael Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"... you want to know what I like and dislike. I will answer you by paraphrasing Howard Roark in The Fountainhead: 'Don't ask me about my family, my childhood, my friends or my feelings. Ask me about the things I think.'"

Ayn Rand, 1963, in Michael Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"It is too early to feel fear of the future when one is under 30, and too late after that. What I mean is that one must never allow fear to become one's permanent sense of life. The important thing is to prepare yourself intellectually to deal with whatever circumstances you may encounter, which requires that you define your values fully, clearly and rationally -- and never betray them."

Ayn Rand, 1965, in Michael Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"In order to fight any issue, it is necessary to fight for something, not merely against something."

Ayn Rand, 1972, in Michael Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"Talent alone is helpless today. Any success requires both talent and luck. And the 'luck' has to be helped along and provided by someone."

Ayn Rand, 1936, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"There is no hope for the world unless and until we formulate, accept and state publicly a true moral code of individualism, based on man's inalienable right to live for himself. Neither to hurt nor to serve his brothers, but to be independent of them in his function and in his motive. Neither to sacrifice them for himself nor to sacrifice himself for them ..."

Ayn Rand, 1943, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"Capitalism has never found the moral principle on which it must stand. We have stood on it in fact, we have built our entire civilization upon it -- but what we have preached and believed has been its exact opposite. The results are now destroying the world."

Ayn Rand, 1943, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"You don't build for the way people live, but for the way they should live. I don't write about people as they are, but as they could be and should be."

Ayn Rand, to Frank Lloyd Wright (1944), in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"... in architecture, mediocrity is more glaringly obvious than in other lines -- because there's a huge, physical object such as a building to demonstrate it."

Ayn Rand, 1944, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"Do not set out to write with your eyes on the box office. It can't be done."

Ayn Rand, 1944, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"If you tell an amateur that his story is not good, he always declares indignantly: 'Oh, but it really happened just like this!' The writer who doesn't understand that this is beside the point is not a writer at all."

Ayn Rand, 1944, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"You said that some people told you that much of The Fountainhead couldn't happen. Tell them for me that it happened in The Fountainhead -- and if they don't know what I mean, they have no business reading books at all. They don't know the difference between a book and yesterday's two-cent tabloid."

Ayn Rand, 1944, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"A story is an end in itself. It is not written to teach, sell, explain or destroy anything. It is not written even to entertain. It is written as a man is born -- an organic whole, dictated only by its own laws and its own necessity -- an end in itself, not a means to an end."

Ayn Rand, 1944, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"A good quotation must be a complete entity. It must be like a headline -- sharp, clear, whole."

Ayn Rand, 1944, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"Are my characters copies of people in real life? ... Don't ever believe the stories about authors putting people into novels. That idea is a kind of joke on both authors and readers. All the readers believe that authors do it. All the authors know that it can't be done."

Ayn Rand, 1945, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"The plot of a movie is its motor. It is not an accident that people call pictures 'vehicles' for stars. A vehicle has to move. A plotless story is like an expensive car with a wonderful body design, luxurious seats, upholstery, headlights (production, direction, cast) -- and no motor under its hood. That is why it gets nowhere."

Ayn Rand, 1949, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"An irresponsible person is a person who makes vague promises, then breaks his word, blames it on circumstances and expects other people to forgive it."

Ayn Rand, 1949, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"... the important consideration is not your opponents, but yourself. It is bad to scream at them, not because it hurts them, they ought to be hurt, but because it hurts you. Anger is a form of recognition. It amounts to admitting that those people are important to you and that they have the power to hurt you. Actually, they haven't."

Ayn Rand, 1950, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"[On Mickey Spillane's early detective novels:] They give me the feeling of hearing a military band in a public park."

Ayn Rand, 1961, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"I am an intransigent atheist, though not a militant one. This means that I am not fighting against religion -- I am fighting for reason."

Ayn Rand, 1963, in Michael S. Berliner, ed., Letters of Ayn Rand (1995)

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"... words are a lens to focus one's mind ..."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"... money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver."

Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)

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"If a life can have a theme song, and I believe every worthwhile one has, mine is a religion, an obsession, or a mania or all of these expressed in one word: individualism."

Ayn Rand, 1936, in Anne Conover Heller, Ayn Rand and the World She Made (2009)

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Ayn Rand, Russian-born U.S. writer, screenwriter, social critic
(1905 - 1982)

Full name: Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum O’Connor.