At a conference in May of 2010, I had the privilege of interviewing my friend, colleague and mentor, Nathaniel Branden, author of The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, and one of the great figures in the modern fight for individual liberty.
Nathaniel has had a huge impact on my life, inspiring me at 20 years of age to change my major and study psychology; and to begin a lifetime of championing happiness and well being, and personal and political freedom. It was wonderful to have a chance to talk with him about a wide range of subjects, from living with integrity, to the danger of perfectionism, to his own personal experiences with Ayn Rand.
Nathaniel was Ayn Rand’s protégé, the founder (along with Barbara Branden and with Rand’s blessing) of Nathaniel Branden Institute, which took the ideas within her novels and translated them into what has become the philosophy of Objectivism. This was the beginning of a liberty movement that has had a tremendous impact on American culture and politics.
After a split with Rand in the 60’s, he went on as a psychotherapist and author to pioneer the exploration of self- esteem.
His is not the pretend, self-esteem – where kids aren’t allowed to keep score at soccer games, and teachers give everybody an award just for showing up – his work is about earned self-esteem. For Branden, self-esteem is the reputation that you build with yourself. It has everything to do with integrity and taking responsibility.