Philosophical Quotes by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand (1905 – 1982) the Russian-born American author is known for having developed Objectivism, a philosophy that embraces laissez-faire capitalism and the pursuit of rational self-interest, to put it in a nutshell.

Rand’s nonfiction and her novels, especially Atlas Shrugged  (1957) weaves aspects of the Objectivist philosophy into their ponderous plots. The contemporary political movement of Libertarianism has roots in Objectivism, making her a heroine to various right-wing political groups. 

Rand’s novels and non-fiction work have remained classics despite (or because of) the controversial views they espouse, and many are still in print and continue to sell. Here are some philosophical quotes by Ayn Rand that illuminate her controversial views.

. . . . . . . . . .

“I am, therefore I think.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Worry is a waste of emotional reserve.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

“All work is an act of philosophy.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“An inventor is a man who asks ‘Why?’ of the universe and lets nothing stand between the answer and his mind.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“An attempt to achieve the good by force is like an attempt to provide a man with a picture gallery at the price of cutting out his eyes.” (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Every form of happiness is private. Our greatest moments are personal, self-motivated, not to be touched.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

Ayn Rand

Learn more about Ayn Rand

. . . . . . . . . .

“Anyone who fights for the future, lives in it today.” (The Romantic Manifesto, 1969)

. . . . . . . . . .

“An artist reveals his naked soul in his work – and so, gentle reader, do you when you respond to it.” (The Romantic Manifesto, 1969)

. . . . . . . . . .

“To know one’s own desires, their meaning and their costs requires the highest human virtue: Rationality.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“If a dedication page were to precede the total of my work, it would read: To the glory of Man.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Pity for the guilty is treason to the innocent.” (The Romantic Manifesto, 1969)

. . . . . . . . . .

“In the temple of his spirit, each man is alone.” (Anthem, 1937)

. . . . . . . . . .

“The worst evil that you can do, psychologically, is to laugh at yourself. That means spitting in your own face.” (Question in Leonard Peikoff’s series “The Philosophy of Objectivism,” 1976)

. . . . . . . . . .

“To hold an unchanging youth is to reach at the end, the vision with which one started.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Every loneliness is a pinnacle.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

Ayn Rand postage stamp US

We the Living — a review

. . . . . . . . . .

“There are only two means by which men can deal with one another: guns or logic. Force or persuasion. Those who know that they cannot win by means of logic, have always resorted to guns.” (Philosophy: Who Needs It? 1982)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Men learn from one another. But all learning is only the exchange of material. No man can give another the capacity to think. Yet that capacity is our only means of survival.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

“What is greatness? I will answer: it is the capacity to live by the three fundamental values of John Galt: reason, purpose, self-esteem.” (Playboy interview, March, 1964)

. . . . . . . . . .

“I was thinking of people who say that happiness is impossible on earth. Look how hard they all try to find some joy in life. Look how they struggle for it. Why should any living creature exist in pain? By what conceivable right can anyone demand that a human being exist for anything but for his own joy?” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Art is a selective re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments. An artist recreates those aspects of reality which represent his fundamental view of man’s nature.”

. . . . . . . . . .

“Existence is Identity, Consciousness is Identification.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“To demand ‘sense’ is the hallmark of nonsense. Nature does not make sense. Nothing makes sense.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand page on Amazon

. . . . . . . . . .

“We exist for the sake of earning rewards. Threats will not make us function; fear is not our incentive. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“The mind is the attribute of man. When man is born, he comes into existence with only one weapon with him- The reasoning mind.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Remember also that the smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights, cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.” (Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1966)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Poverty, ignorance, illness and other problems of that kind are not metaphysical emergencies. By the metaphysical nature of man and of existence, man has to maintain his life by his own effort; the values he needs—such as wealth or knowledge—are not given to him automatically, as a gift of nature, but have to be discovered and achieved by his own thinking and work.” (The Virtue of Selfishness, 1964)

. . . . . . . . . .

“The skyline of New York is a monument of a splendor that no pyramids or palaces will ever equal or approach.” (The Virtue of Selfishness, 1964)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Man cannot survive except by gaining knowledge, and reason is his only means to gain it. Reason is the faculty that perceives, identifies and integrates the material provided by his senses.” (Atlas Shrugged, 1957)

. . . . . . . . . .

“A culture is made — or destroyed — by its articulate voices.” (The Voice of Reason, 1989)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Show me your achievement — and the knowledge will give me courage for mine.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)

. . . . . . . . . .

“Anything may be betrayed, anyone may be forgiven. But not those who lack the courage of their own greatness.” (The Fountainhead, 1943)


*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through, Literary Ladies Guide receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to The Literary Ladies Guide weekly newsletter

Celebrating women’s voices
with inspiration for readers and writers

  • Find your next great read
  • Get writing advice from authors you love
  • Enjoy fascinating facts and quotes
  • Discover women’s literary history

... and lots more (look for a bonus in your welcome letter!)
Email address
Secure and Spam free...