Tens of millions have read Ayn Rand’s novels, including The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and half a million copies of her works now sell each year. But far fewer people know of the radical system of ideas underlying the stories she created. Standing alone like her fictional hero Howard Roark, Ayn Rand defied the ideas of more than two millennia by championing individualism, capitalism, egoism and reason.

This lecture by Dr. Onkar Ghate, dean of the Objectivist Academic Center and senior fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute, introduces some of the main ideas of this controversial thinker — and their vital importance today. (Recorded June 2, 2003.)