When I was in 9th grade my grandmother, Pat, sent me a copy of Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.
She wrote in the book that “it will be one of the great reads of your life!” She was right. Rand’s writings made me excited about ideas in a way I had never been before. Her philosophy taught me, in essence, that my life was my own, that the only claims others had on me were the ones I entered voluntarily, and that if I wanted to flourish I would need to make reason my only absolute.
While others told me she was a narrow minded, Scrooge McDuck character, I saw one of the most life affirming, benevolent writers and philosophers in history and someone who demonstrated through writing the beauty and power of the individual, creative, productive mind.
She showed life as it is and ought to be, and her ideas have informed nearly every decision I’ve made in the last 8 years.
Thank you, and happy birthday, Ayn Rand.