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How Alan Greenspan Joined Rand's Circle

In Greenspan: The Man Behind Money, Justin Martin describes how Alan Greenspan came to be a member of Rand's inner circle.

While Greenspan was married to Joan Mitchell, he had occasional brushes with the Collective in its formative stages. He had enjoyed reading The Fountainhead on his own, but he didn't much care for the exclusive little reading group/admiration society that surrounded it. By all accounts, the feeling was mutual. One time, Greenspan ran into Rand and some of her acolytes as they were getting off an elevator. Rand took an instant dislike to him. He was a very somber young man, she felt, wearing a dark suit and tie that matched his demeanor. "He looks like an undertaker," she remarked.

After their marriage ended, Mitchell continually urged Greenspan to be more open toward Rand and her circle. Given his personality, she was certain that he would respond to objectivism's emphasis on rationality and individualism. It was through her that Greenspan got to know Nathaniel Branden, objectivism's chief proselytizer. Over several months in 1954, they met a number of times, sometimes in restaurants, sometimes at Branden's apartment at 165 East 35th Street.


Branden kept after Greenspan. At their meetings, Greenspan would say things such as: "I think that I exist. But I don't know for sure. Actually, I can't say with certainty that anything exists."


One day, Branden was riding in a cab with Rand. He had some surprising news and could hardly contain himself. Finally, he just blurted it out.

"Guess who exists?"

Rand was shocked.

"Don't tell me," she said, "you've won over Alan Greenspan."

"Yes, I have," he answered. "And I think you're going to change your mind about him. I think he's a really interesting man with a very unusual brain."

Branden was Rand's chief protégé. A few years hence, she would officially designate him as her "intellectual heir." She trusted his judgment implicitly. If Branden said Greenspan was all right, Greenspan was all right. So it was that Greenspan was invited to join the salon of celebrated author Ayn Rand.

From Greenspan: The Man Behind Money, pp. 39-41. Omissions from the text are shown with bracketed ellipses. All other punctuation and spelling is from the original.

Additional keywords: Ann Rand, Anne Rand, Any Rand, Allan Greenspan

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