Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Passion of Ayn Rand” as Want to Read:
The Passion of Ayn Rand
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Passion of Ayn Rand

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,265 ratings  ·  44 reviews
This bestselling biography of one of the 20th century's most remarkable and controversial writers is now available in paperback.Author Barbara Branden, who knew Rand for nineteen years, provides a matchless portrait of this fiercely private and complex woman. ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published August 18th 1987 by Anchor (first published 1986)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Passion of Ayn Rand, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Passion of Ayn Rand

Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonUnbroken by Laura HillenbrandEinstein by Walter IsaacsonInto the Wild by Jon KrakauerJohn Adams by David McCullough
Best Biographies
419th out of 615 books — 1,454 voters
Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. CoetzeePomegranate Soup by Marsha MehranMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom RiggsThe House of Velvet and Glass by Katherine HoweThe Faithful by S.M. Freedman
Ideas and knowledge
20th out of 100 books — 2 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,295)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are often cited by people as seminal works in the development of their personal world view. What is this philosophy expounded by Rand called objectivism? Also known as “enlightened self-interest,” it has become the basis for much of libertarian politics. Rand has rarely been viewed neutrally: she is either seen as a prophet of reason or the destroyer of traditional values; the promoter of personal happiness and self-worth or advocate of mindless greed.

Her chi
I don't usually read biographies, but having read some of Ayn Rand's books I was very interested in what made her tick. There is much controversy that gets generated whenever her name is mentioned so I wanted to know more. The Passion of Ayn Rand was a surprising insightful and thoughtful book on the life and times of Ayn Rand.

Initially I was expecting a hatchet job since many people despise her, but Barbara Branden provides a well balanced look at one of the most controversial and influential f
Aug 09, 2008 H rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: capitalists
Ayn Rand's journey to America from Russia is a familiar tale to immigrants. When an American woman came to speak at her university in Russia, she was impressed with the pride and dignity the woman radiated. She though that could only come from a person who lives in a free country. Rand left Russia with next to nothing while she was nineteen and pursued her goal of becoming a writer in the U.S.

The book chronicles Rand's private life, her political views, objectivism, and summarizes each of her
Although Ms.Rand may be able to turn out great political books and writings, she was a very selfish, hostile, unforgiving woman whom could justify all kinds of bad behavior on her part. I did enjoy reading this book but would caution anyone who is a die hard fan of hers to avoid this one if you don't want your illusions destroyed. When she died, she went straight to hell. I expect I'll meet her there someday.
Your understanding of Ayn Rand and Objectivism is not complete until you have read this book.
Tanya W
I don't know what gave me the idea to read this book. It was very well written, and a fascinating read about Ayn Rand, a very bright and unusual woman who has had a lasting impact on philosophy through her writing.

Barbara Branden does an amazing job of telling Ayn Rand's story objectively (even though she was personally hurt by Rand's radical ideas, including the ongoing affair with Branden's then husband), ideas which seemed to create a cult-like following, but which most people would immediat
Renea Boren
Ayn Rand books changed my thoughts in every aspect of my life. Ayn lets you know that it's ok to to be selfish with your own original thoughts and ideas. Our government wants you to think that they know what is best for masses of people. they want you to think they know what is best independent,common sense. I have read "Atlas Shrugged" 3 times and every time I learn something new. I wish Ayn's books were mandatory for all Middle Schools and High School students her books would show the children ...more
Aug 26, 2008 Sarah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Ayn Rand Fans
I have been fascinated by Ayn Rand since I read Atlas Shrugged. I was appauled by her after reading the biography. She was a horribly selfish woman. She destroyed the man who loved her and made the people who respected her hate her.

I was rooting for her as she escaped from communist Russia and then furiously turned against her as she forced an affair with her protege.
Kevin J. Rogers
Barbara Branden's incisive and, in the end, deeply moving biography of Ayn Rand bears a cautionary tale: even the strongest and most independent among us cannot live without love. Highly recommended for its excellent style and poignant story.
Marcus Clark

Barbara Branden, died on 11 December 2013, at 84 years old. She was an "associate" of Ayn Rand, a former member of Rand's inner circle, and co-author of Ayn Rand's first biography.

Ayn Rand was one of the most influential women in the United States, influencing the financial and political domain. Barbara Branden's explosive second biography changed what many people believed about Ayn Rand. It presented a view, warts and all, that revealed her private life in unwholesome detail.

Barbara Branden, d
Outstanding. Must read this to get a human fully-formed portrait of Rand. Branden does a remarkably generous homage to her former mentor. What happened to Greenspan???
Quite revealing. Turns out she was far more (and less) human than her writing might lead you to believe...she was not as objective as one might hope.
Mar 17, 2010 Lauren is currently reading it
A bit histrionic with excessive use of lists. Branden's writing is perhaps the opposite of Rand's--for better or for worse.
good bio on a horrendous person. I really hated AR after reading this bio.
Truth is stranger than fiction!
Lisa (Harmonybites)
One review here says this book would never be read by admirers of Ayn Rand. Well, maybe not uncritical doctrinaire ones. I was an admirer when I started the book and one when I left it. In fact, I'm glad I found it early on when I had just discovered Ayn Rand and she had created a revolution in my thinking. I think if there had been any danger I'd become a "Randroid" as I've heard some describe it, this book did put paid to that, because goodness it's true this book does a good job of idol smash ...more
I don't remember when I first learned of Ayn Rand's and Nathaniel Branden's open long-term affair (both spouses knew) and their ultimate break but I was immediately intrigued.

I had not read any of either of their books so I started there.

I first read Branden's "Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem". It was ok but somewhat repetitive and boring.

And then I read Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Mind blowing. It was epic, over 1300 pages. While I don't agree with all of her philosophies, it was a great story and cha
Jun 13, 2007 Sotoleon rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: literary gossip (and bio) enthusiasts
_The Passion of Ayn Rand_ is fascinating. I remember reading Rand's The Fountainhead when I was eighteen and though I liked Howard Roark's and Dominique Francon's erotically charged relationship and the symbolic values that both characters represent, I was too young to appreciate the economy of words, the intricate plot structure, and the tightly focused narrative arc which brings in all the main characters at the end and throws into relief each of their philosophical worldviews, which have been ...more
I first read an Ayn Rand book during my sophomore year in high school (Fountainhead, if anyone cares). Though my New Relationship Energy with her ideas faded away many decades ago, I continue to find her ideas interesting. Throughout her lifetime, Rand blocked efforts to see her in any terms other than the terms she demanded: as a shining living example of the heroes whose stories she wrote down. She kept hoping that she would find other "living examples," and died in bitter disappointment that ...more
This book was very good. It tells much of the Ayn Rand philosophy. It tells of the long affair of Ayn Rand and Nathanial Braden, the author's husband. And then it tells of the break among all of them. The Bradens would not tell the real reason for this split although they were shamed publicly. Ayn Rand was not a very nice person, egotistical and so very dominant. I would like to read Nathan Braden's biography.
Interesting biography of novelest Ayn Rand, marred by the fact that the book's author holds an Everest-sized grudge against her. Barbara Branden was a friend and associate of Ayn Rand's for many years, but Rand broke off all contact with her after Branden and her husband betrayed her. So when you read this book, keep in mind that the author has a vested interested in making Rand look bad.
Molly Mix
Very interesting read. It was written by a woman who was a disciple of sorts of Ayn's and whose husband eventually became Ayn's lover, so I'm not certain exactly how objective it was. It's always disappointing to discover that one's intellectual heroes were laid just as low as the common man by things as banal as sex. Ayn was brilliant, but also a sad megolomaniac tyrant. Bummer dude.
Jaime Contreras
What a self-absorbed and egotist this woman was and remains. I stopped reading after 100 pages and then just skimmed. Miss Rand appeals to liberal idealists who want to march to his/her own drum regardless of who is offended. This is a misguided attitude and not one that has ever worked. Ayn rand was a rebel with a private cause - her own fulfillment.
Lee Woody
A complicated woman who stretched the minds of the young group of intellectuals who surrounded her. Her upbringing in Russia during the Communist revolution had a significant role in the development of her ideals and thoughts. Most definitely a gifted writer, but also a woman who was consumed by her own angusih and disappointments.
AR would have hated it. Any portrayal of her as less than one of her heroic figures would not be acceptable. The book was good, thorough, compassionate and generous. Sets the period of time in which AR lived and arrived as an immigrant, a strange and confused young woman, who becomes an idealistic survivalist.

A good biography of Ayn Rand, which you wouldn't expect because Rand had an affair with the author's husband. It is sympathetic to Rand without being a hagiography. Rand's faults are brought to light along with her well-known virtues. Rand's humanity shines through, though she probably wouldn't have liked that.
Cathy Sprankle
Found this biography of Ayn Rand by her close friend and follower Barbara Branden more fascinating and compelling than any of Rand's books. A must-read for anyone interested in Rand's work and philosophies.
I am fascinated with Ayn Rand, so I enjoyed this book written by the widow of Ayn's closest student, Nathaniel Branden, with whom she had a torrid love affair... but the writing is marginal.
This is pretty out there stuff. It's really worth a read if you have any interest in Ayn Rand. The objectivists don't love it, but it is full of humanity and broken lives.
Catherine Henry
I was intrigued by Ayn Rand after I read the Fountainhead....then I read this book and I was no longer intrigued. In fact, I didn't like her anymore at all....not one drop.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 76 77 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • My Years with Ayn Rand
  • Ayn Rand and the World She Made
  • Letters of Ayn Rand
  • Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
  • Ayn Rand Answers: the Best of Her Q & A
  • Noble Vision
  • Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey
  • The Making of Modern Economics: The Lives and Ideas of the Great Thinkers
  • Marxism: Philosophy and Economics
  • The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom
  • The Secret Destiny of America
  • On History
  • The Beautiful Tree: A Personal Journey into How the World's Poorest People are Educating Themselves
The Passion Of Ayn Rand: Part 2 Of 2 Psychology of Love Who Is Ayn Rand?

Share This Book