In 1951, when he was just a teenager, Leonard Peikoff visited Ayn Rand in her home, at her invitation. This was the beginning of a friendship and professional association that would last until Rand’s death in 1982. In this 1987 lecture delivered at Boston’s Ford Hall Forum, Peikoff offers personal insights into the real Ayn Rand—the thinker, the artist, the teacher, the passionate valuer of the best within man.

“Ayn Rand was unique—as a mind and as a person,” Peikoff observes. “If I could be granted a wish outside my power, it would be to meet and talk to someone like her again; unfortunately, I do not expect this wish to come true. The root of her uniqueness, which I had abundant opportunity to experience and enjoy in my thirty-year friendship with her, was the nature of her mental processes.”

When he first met Rand, Peikoff was immediately struck by her passion for ideas, which would be a thread through their thirty-year friendship. “When you were with her, you always felt poised on the brink of some startling new cognitive adventure and discovery.”

The Q & A that follows the lecture expands on its subject matter and also touches on the following topics:

  • Intelligence and IQ tests
  • Biographies on Ayn Rand’s life
  • Whether geniuses are isolated from others
  • Plans for an Atlas Shrugged movie
  • Changing the culture