It is important for people to know the truth about Ayn Rand the person, as well as Ayn Rand the novelist-philosopher. A good place to begin are the memoirs of Mary Ann and Charles Sures, now available for free online. The Sures family knew Ayn Rand for almost 20 years, and Mary Ann knew her even longer. The memoirs paint a picture of an intelligent and highly passionate woman -- passionate about ideas and about life. At the same time they show a woman who lived on this earth, not in the clouds, who enjoyed spending time with her friends, playing games and even joking around occasionally. Here is a representative excerpt:
ARI: This brings me to the question: what kind of a boss was Ayn Rand?Those who are curious what kind of person Ayn Rand really was would be well advised to take a look.
She was, in a word, a lovely boss, very easy to work for. She never issued terse orders, or showed impatience, or stood over my shoulder. She was not your stereotypical temperamental genius. There was a graciousness in her manner — there was always “please” and “thank you” when she had a request. But she wasn’t chatty; there was seldom any small talk before I started to work, if she was already at her desk. We agreed on the day’s work and I got right to it.
This raises what I call the spiritual atmosphere of the household. In a few words, it was sheer, unadulterated, never-ending good will — an atmosphere created by both Ayn and Frank. Here were two unpretentious and considerate people. In that home, there were no meta-messages or hidden agendas or speaking between the lines — there was always complete candor. And no tension hanging in the air. It was, truly, a benevolent universe.
When there wasn’t a full day’s work for me, she apologized. I didn’t mind; I used to float to work, eager to get there. Once, I told her that I liked coming over because it was a sane and friendly place, and she said, “Oh?” in her characteristic way, and nodded and said, “Well, yes it is, you’re right.” And she added that I was free to come over and bring work of my own on days when I wasn’t scheduled to work for her.