They both worked to make the world a better place -- she as a social worker, he as a famous cardiologist -- and inspired me to also pursue a career where I could help others.JG: Far from retro, Rand's heroines were independent, sexually liberated career women who multi-dated, and multi-married, until they landed their Hero.My mom was a 17 year old Louisiana southern belle when she met dad, who was a 19 year old Brooklyn Jew, driving across the country with a friend.It was love at first sight, and a few years later they eloped in defiance of my mother's family's objections to her marrying a non-Catholic.She questioned authority like none other -- and if that isn't relevant to teenagers and young adults, I can't imagine what is.SM: How did Ayn Rand personally affect the way you live your life.While the article created a lot of hubbub, the advice is fairly straightforward -- don't date men you don't admire, don't date men who don't admire you, and don't sacrifice for a man who isn't worth it. JG: She believed in individual rights -- that the individual did not exist for the government, or "the people" but had a right to live their life they way they saw fit.
I wrote speeches for the first President Bush after I graduated from Harvard, where I studied government. After all, Ayn Rand was a smoker and probably never exercised a day in her life. To me, Rand's philosophy celebrates reason, willpower, and this life as lived here on earth -- taking responsibility for one's health is essential thinking clearly, acting independently, and enjoying oneself fully.Nana was one of the first female presidents of the American Society of Interior Design, an artist, sculptor, and doyenne of her social set in San Francisco.Also my parents, who recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.JG: She inspired me to stay true to my own convictions, regardless of the opinions of others.Politics aside, most women struggle with the desire to please others, and the social expectation to put others' needs above our own.