64 Ayn Rand Quotes for the Critical Thinking Individual

64 Ayn Rand Quotes for the Critical Thinking Individual

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Ayn Rand is a controversial writer and philosopher, but one of the most compelling thinkers of the Modern Age.

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The Philosophy of Ayn Rand

Through her philosophy of objectivism, Ayn Rand showed that capitalism is the most practical and efficient economic system, winning favor among libertarians, conservatives, classical liberals, business leaders and entrepreneurs.

Ayn Rand's philosophy espouses that self-interested motivation is the most reasonable quality a person can have. A person is more likely to benefit society through their own desires and drive rather than rely on the altruism of others.

An example of this would be a business owner having the sole objective of creating a product that could benefit millions of people, thus earning them financial abundance. Through their passion and drive to become self-made millionaires, they have enriched the lives of many.

Technology companies competing with each other bring new and valuable products and services to the market. The device you're using to read this article was made possible by innovation fueled by competition, stemming from self-interest and motivation for financial abundance.

Moreover, jobs, opportunities and wealth are created when a self-interested entrepreneur erects a business and becomes successful in a free-market capitalist economic system.

Ayn Rand's objectivism is congruent with the theories and principles of the Godfather of modern economics, Adam Smith. Smith's famous quote, "Individual ambition serves the common good," says it all.

Civilization evolves when people are free to act on their own interests and work toward becoming the best at their craft. The objectivist theory doesn't apply only to businesses but to art, sports, theatre, craftsmanship or anything. Competition generates a need to excel beyond what was formerly the best, creating new "bests" indefinitely.

Though the gatekeepers of the intelligentsia largely dismiss Ayn Rand's philosophy and teachings, there is a growing demand for alternative theories and philosophies in academia.

Selling over 37 million copies of her books, Ayn Rand continues to be read widely and will trend upward as interest in objectivism and libertarianism grow in popularity. Ayn Rand's most notable works include Atlas Shrugged (57), The Fountainhead (43), The Virtue of Selfishness (64) and Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal (66-67).

Ayn Rand offered many thought-provoking and profound quotes that intellectuals, objectivists, libertarians and conservatives continue to be inspired by. Here, we have listed 64 of her best quotes.



Ayn Rand Quotes

  1. If you don't know, the thing to do is not to get scared, but to learn.

  2. The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships.

  3. Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.

  4. I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.

  5. The moral justification of capitalism is man’s right to exist for his own sake, neither sacrificing himself to others nor sacrificing others to himself.

  6. Remember that rights are moral principles which define and protect a man's freedom of action, but impose no obligations on other men.

  7. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.

  8. The hardest thing to explain is the glaringly evident which everybody has decided not to see.

  9. I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.

  10. The smallest minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.

  11. I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.

  12. Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong.

  13. My happiness is not the means to any end. It is the end. It is its own goal. It is its own purpose.

  14. He is free to evade reality, he is free to unfocus his mind and stumble blindly down any road he pleases, but not free to avoid the abyss he refuses to see.

  15. Devotion to the truth is the hallmark of morality; there is no greater, nobler, more heroic form of devotion than the act of a man who assumes the responsibility of thinking.

  16. Never think of pain or danger or enemies a moment longer than is necessary to fight them.

  17. No man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others.

  18. What is the basic, the essential, the crucial principle that differentiates freedom from slavery? It is the principle of voluntary action versus physical coercion or compulsion.

  19. The only proper purpose of a government is to protect man’s rights.

  20. No one’s rights can be secured by the violation of the rights of others.

  21. The purpose of morality is to teach you, not to suffer and die, but to enjoy yourself and live.

  22. I worship individuals for their highest possibilities as individuals and I loathe humanity for its failure to live up to these possibilities.

  23. But why should you care what people will say? All you have to do is please yourself.

  24. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

  25. A man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress.

  26. When I disagree with a rational man, I let reality be our final arbiter; if I am right, he will learn; if I am wrong, I will; one of us will win, but both will profit.

  27. Run for your life from any man who tells you that money is evil. That sentence is the leper's bell of an approaching looter.

  28. Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.

  29. Self-sacrifice? But it is precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed.

  30. It is not death that we wish to avoid, but life that we wish to live.

  31. Men who reject the responsibility of thought and reason can only exist as parasites on the thinking of others.

  32. One loses everything when one loses one's sense of humor.

  33. Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it.

  34. Achievement of your happiness is the only moral purpose of your life, and that happiness, not pain or mindless self-indulgence, is the proof of your moral integrity, since it is the proof and the result of your loyalty to the achievement of your values.

  35. The more you learn, the more you know that you know nothing.

  36. Within the extent of your knowledge, you are right.

  37. Whoever claims the right to redistribute the wealth produced by others is claiming the right to treat human beings as chattel.

  38. The most depraved type of human being is a man without a purpose.

  39. A viler evil than to murder a man, is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue.

  40. In a free society, one does not have to deal with those who are irrational. One is free to avoid them.

  41. We can ignore reality, but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.

  42. Civilization is the process of setting man free from men.

  43. You have been called selfish for the courage of acting on your own judgement and bearing sole responsibility for your own life.

  44. Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.

  45. There are two sides to every issue: one side is right and the other is wrong, but the middle is always evil.

  46. A rational man never distorts or corrupts his own standards and judgment in order to appeal to the irrationality, stupidity, or dishonesty of others.

  47. The truth is not for all men but only for those who seek it.

  48. Don't fool yourself, my dear. You're much worse than a bitch. You're a saint. Which shows why saints are dangerous and undesirable.

  49. If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing.

  50. Place nothing above the verdict of your own mind.

  51. A government is the most dangerous threat to man's rights: it holds a legal monopoly on the use of physical force against legally disarmed victims.

  52. Who is John Galt?

  53. Wealth is the product of man's capacity to think.

  54. There is a level of cowardice lower than that of the conformist: the fashionable non-conformist.

  55. Pride is the recognition of the fact that you are your own highest value and, like all of man's values, it has to be earned.

  56. I never found beauty in longing for the impossible and never found the possible to be beyond my reach.

  57. I am, therefore I'll think.

  58. Only a man of integrity can possess the virtue of honesty, since only the faking of one’s consciousness can permit the faking of existence.

  59. Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.

  60. Individual rights are the means of subordinating society to moral law.

  61. The freedom of speech of private individuals includes the right to not agree, not to listen, and not to finance one's own antagonists.

  62. Every man is free to rise as far as he's able or willing, but the degree to which he thinks determines the degree to which he'll rise.

  63. Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps, down new roads, armed with nothing but their own vision.

  64. The world you desire can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it is yours.


Ayn Rand is one of the most cherished and detested thinkers in history. A symbol of fierce independence, Ayn Rand will continue to be a philosopher respected by rational thinkers, intellectuals, objectivists, libertarians and freethinkers. 


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