|Well, my first encounter with Ayn Rand's philosophy was unkown to me until I read wider. Since I am from Europe, we hadn't much feedback about Ayn Rand and her philosophic impact couldn't be seen anywhere (except in some Simpsons Episode).|
It was until I read a fantasy book by Terry Goodkind, when I first encountered her ideas. Although he didn't link his ideas to her philosophy, he expressed exactly Rands thoughts.
After some subsequent frantic searches among several sources, I came to read Atlas Shrugged and although it was as a book not the best I knew, the thoughts behind it were enthralling and new, but still old in some sense. It was as if many things were answered at once that I wouldn't have found here in the middle of social-markets easily, issues I have struggled with for a long time.
Then I read the Virtue of Selfishness and slowly started reading other libertarian books.
Though, I don't agree on all her points and doubt several other (which is exactly what she had wanted me to do, because rational criticism of the status quo is what she tried also to express.), I found many principles that added and enhanced my life and finally, found people thinking likewise.
I still think that Atlas Shrugged has several good passages, although I don't like it as a book that much (very long and sometimes "unrealistic" "abstract" writings (although they fulfill their purpose)). It certainly has its best moments, like in the passages of Eddie and John Galt (in the cafeteria) or Danneskjöld und Rearden in the dark of the night. And Dagny when she finally opens the John Galt line.
There are many other scenes that are still vivid in my mind, but I think that I loved most the utopia of Galt's Gulch, because of the serene atmosphere.
So, she has given me so much, but still I won't preach her words humbly. I will think about them, critizes them, when they lack logic and reasonable facts in favour, but hold up the core with dignity, but never humbly.