Rand, Aynoriginal name Alice or Alissa Rosenbaum(b. Feb. 2, 1905, St. Petersburg, Russia--d. March 6, 1982, New York, N.Y., U.S.)
Russian-born American writer who, in novels noted for their commercial success, presented her philosophy of objectivism, which held that all real achievement is the product of individual ability and effort, that laissez-faire capitalism is most congenial to the exercise of talent, and that selfishness is a virtue, altruism a vice. Her reversal of the traditional Judeo-Christian ethic won her a cult of followers.
After graduating from the University of Petrograd in 1924, Rand immigrated to the United States in 1926 and worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood. Fountainhead, The (1943), her first best-selling novel, depicts a highly romanticized architect-hero, a superior individual whose egoism and genius prevail over timid traditionalism and social conformism. The allegorical Atlas Shrugged (1957) combines science fiction and a political message. Rand also wrote a number of nonfiction works expounding her beliefs, including For the New Intellectual: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1961), and she edited two journals propounding her ideas, The Objectivist (1962-71) and The Ayn Rand Letter (1971-76).