Ayn Rand was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on February 2, 1905. At age six she taught herself to read and two years later discovered her first fictional hero in a French magazine for children, thus capturing the heroic vision which sustained her throughout her life. At the age of nine, she decided to make fiction writing her career. Thoroughly opposed to the mysticism and collectivism of Russian culture, she thought of herself as a European writer, especially after encountering Victor Hugo, the writer she most admired.
According to a Library of Congress survey, Atlas Shrugged, published in 1957, may be second to the Bible as the most influential book read in America. It is required reading in management training at BB&T, the 12th-largest bank in the U.S. and one that resisted taking TARP bailout funds. Since the Obama administration took office, Atlas Shrugged has been making a renaissance with rising sales and library waiting lists, partly because it explains our current economic woes more straightforwardly than most of what we hear from today’s experts.