I read Atlas Shrugged at the relatively late age of 35. Prior to that time I was aware of Rand but really didn’t understand the niche that she had carved for herself. Reason TV has a short video highlighting her career and enduring legacy.
If you haven’t read Atlas Shrugged, you should. There are some long-winded sections (John Galt’s rant for example) but the overall message glorifies the rights of the individual. In my opinion one of Rand’s books, An Introduction to Objectivity Epistemology, is one of the best explanations of human perception and learning that I’ve found.
You many not agree with every idea expressed, but she’ll make you consider the virtue of self-interest.