Leonard Peikoff has spent more than sixty years studying, teaching and applying the philosophy of Ayn Rand. Having been Rand’s foremost student, he is today the world’s preeminent expert on Objectivism.
A great admirer of The Fountainhead, he first met Rand in 1951, when he was, in his own words, “an ignorant, intelligent seventeen-year-old.” He read Atlas Shrugged in manuscript and was invited “to ask the author all the questions I wished about her ideas.” For thirty years, Rand was his mentor, editor and friend. “We talked philosophy late into the night on countless occasions,” he recalls. “It was, for me, an invaluable education.” On her death in 1982, Rand named Dr. Peikoff heir to her estate.
Born in Winnipeg, Canada, in 1933 (but now a U.S. citizen), Dr. Peikoff studied philosophy at New York University and taught at several colleges and universities between 1957 and 1973. For decades he lectured on Objectivism to worldwide audiences through live appearances and audio transcription of his courses. His 1976 course on Objectivism’s entire theoretical structure earned Rand’s endorsement (she also participated in some of the Q&A periods) and became the basis for his book Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand (1991), the first systematic presentation of her philosophy.
Dr. Peikoff is also the author of The Ominous Parallels: The End of Freedom in America (1983), The DIM Hypothesis: Why the Lights of the West Are Going Out (2012), and The Cause of Hitler’s Germany (2014, excerpted from The Ominous Parallels).
Asked once to name his life’s greatest achievement, Dr. Peikoff said: “I mastered Objectivism and presented it to the world.”