One of the most important issues for anyone's self-esteem is one's reaction to one's own
mistakes. Are they treated as occasions of self-blame—or even self-damnation—or
as opportunities for learning and growth?
Psychologist and philosopher Nathaniel Branden, Ph.D. is a founding member of Integral
Institute and author of twenty books on the psychology of self-esteem, romantic love, and
the life and thought of Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand. His work has been translated into
18 languages and has sold over 4 million copies, and includes such titles as Taking
Responsibility, The Art of Living Consciously, A Woman's Self-Esteem, and
the 1969 classic, The Psychology of Self-Esteem.
The name Nathaniel Branden has become synonymous with the psychology of self-esteem, a field
he began pioneering over thirty years ago. In that time, he has done more than any other
theorist to advocate the importance of self-esteem to human well-being, a mission which
began with his involvement in Objectivist philosopher Ayn Rand's "Inner Circle."
In 1944, at the age of 14, Branden read his first copy of Rand's The Fountainhead,
and soon he was dating a fellow Rand fan (Barbara Weidman, who would become his wife in
1953) and writing letters to the up-and-coming philosopher. Rand met with Branden in 1950,
and thus started the stormy relationship that would become the stuff of 20th-century legend.
With the publication of Atlas Shrugged in 1957, Objectivism would reach its fullest
fruition. As Rand explained in the appendix:
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness
as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and
reason as his only absolute.
In 1958, Branden himself, to whom Rand dedicated Atlas Shrugged (declaring him to be
her legal and "intellectual heir" and "an ideal exponent" of her philosophy), would form
Nathaniel Branden Lectures (incorporated as the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1961) to
deliver seminars on Rand's philosophy. In 1962, Rand and Branden began publishing The
Objectivist Newsletter (simplified as The Objectivist in 1966), the same year the
Brandens co-authored the book Who is Ayn Rand?
Two years later, Branden would contribute several articles to Rand's essay collection,
The Virtue of Selfishness, and again to her collection, Capitalism: The Unknown
Ideal, in 1966. Yet due to various romantic conflicts between Rand, Branden, their
respective spouses and others, in 1968 Branden was asked to resign from the organization he
had helped to build. His status as an Objectivist was repudiated in an editorial that same
year by Rand, and he was effectively ostracized from the Objectivist community and his
extensive contributions minimized. The entire brouhaha was later recounted in Branden's
memoir Judgment Day, his memoir of the years of his association with Rand (revised in
1999 as My Years with Ayn Rand).
Branden currently works as both a practicing psychotherapist and a corporate consultant
through the Branden Institute, conducting seminars, workshops, and conferences to
demonstrate how the principles of self-esteem can be applied to the challenges of the modern
His extensive bibliography includes:
My Years with Ayn Rand
A Woman's Self-Esteem: Struggles and Triumphs in the Search for
The Art of Living Consciously: The Power of Awareness to Transform
Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life
The Art of Self-Discovery: A Powerful Technique For Building
The Power of Self-Esteem
(Barnes & Noble, 1992)
Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand
What Love Asks of Us: Solutions to the Challenge of Making Love Work
Honoring the Self: The Psychology of Confidence and Respect
The Psychology of Romantic Love: What Love Is, Why Love Is Born, Why It
Sometimes Grows, Why It Sometimes
(Bantam Books, 1981)
The Psychology of Self-Esteem: A New Concept of Man's Psychological
(original print, 1969)