Rand is batshit crazy. By all accounts she used to swan about wearing a swooshy velvet cape adorned with silver dollar signs which may be considered a charming sartorial quirk on someone like Flavor Flav but is less appealing on a Benzedrine-addicted old fruitbat chewing her face off and squawking about objectivism. That she's still considered so 'influential' by a few raving lunatics who seem unable to fathom that Shrugged's gun-toting erection for deductive logic go hand-in-hand with its rather firm anti-Jesus beliefs says more about her followers than it does about the work itself.
Readers might also like to follow up with a viewing of 'The Fountainhead' (1949), which is surely one of the funniest serious movies ever made, especially as it becomes increasingly clear that Gary Cooper, playing Rand alter-ego Howard Roark, takes the whole thing utterly seriously.
Its striding, clench-jawed phallocentrism gives Freudians everywhere something to laugh at as Gary Cooper struggles vainly against the nonentities who surround him to achieve an erection (he is an architect) on his own terms.
So stand with clenched fists, feet apart, lift your chin, look to the horizon and repeat after me (keeping in mind that this is movie dialogue!):
Howard Roark: The creator stands on his own judgment. The parasite follows the opinions of others. The creator thinks, the parasite copies. The creator produces, the parasite loots. The creator's concern is the conquest of nature - the parasite's concern is the conquest of men. The creator requires independence, he neither serves nor rules. He deals with men by free exchange and voluntary choice. The parasite seeks power, he wants to bind all men together in common action and common slavery. He claims that man is only a tool for the use of others. That he must think as they think, act as they act, and live is selfless, joyless servitude to any need but his own. Look at history. Everything thing we have, every great achievement has come from the independent work of some independent mind. Every horror and destruction came from attempts to force men into a herd of brainless, soulless robots. Without personal rights, without personal ambition, without will, hope, or dignity. It is an ancient conflict. It has another name: the individual against the collective!