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Psychotherapist, author of The Psychology of Self-Esteem
Nathaniel Branden

Nathaniel Branden (born Nathan Blumenthal; 9 April 1930 – 3 December 2014) was a Canadian–American psychotherapist and writer known for his work in the psychology of self-esteem. A former associate and romantic partner of Ayn Rand, Branden also played a prominent role in the 1960s in promoting Rand's philosophy, Objectivism. Rand and Branden split acrimoniously in 1968, after which Branden focused on developing his own psychological theories and modes of therapy.


Branden, Nathaniel (1930-2014), by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
Nathaniel Branden (born Nathan Blumenthal) is known to many as "the father of the self-esteem movement." Branden is the author of 20 books that explore the philosophical, psychological, and cultural foundations of individualism and the free society. Having developed a close personal relationship with novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand (whom he met as a college student in 1950), in 1958 Branden started Nathaniel Branden Lectures, in which he addressed and expanded on the psychological issues raised by Rand. These lectures were later formalized into the Nathaniel Branden Institute (NBI).
Related Topics: Ayn Rand, Society

Images - Nathaniel Branden
82x121 JPEG, color


9 Apr 1930, Nathan Blumenthal, in Brampton, Ontario


3 Dec 2014, in Los Angeles


About Nathaniel Branden
At what used to be his personal website
Over seven decades, Branden focused on the critical need to understand the psychology of self-esteem and its relationship to our daily lives. Through this work he contributed to the evolution of the concept from obscurity to greater levels of clarity and acceptance. During his career, Nathaniel Branden wrote nearly 20 books on self-esteem, including such luminary works as The Psychology of Self-Esteem, How to Raise Your Self-Esteem, The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem and The Art of Living Consciously. ... He also founded The Branden Institute for Self-Esteem, a counseling center in Los Angeles, California.
Laissez Faire Books
Nathaniel Branden has played a major role promoting the Objectivist philosophy of Ayn Rand and helping people raise their self-esteem. He met Rand in 1950, joined her inner circle, began an affair with her and effectively promoted her ideas nation-wide via the Nathaniel Branden Institute. He proved to be an energetic and imaginative intellectual entrepreneur. His lecture courses on Objectivism are still available. His memoir Judgment Day (1986) provided an inside view of Rand and his tumultuous relationship with her.


The Objectivist, Editor, January 1962-July 1968


Nathaniel Branden
Branden's personal website while alive; includes discussions about children, objectivism, politics, relationships, self-esteem, work and sentence-completion exercises
My mission is to inspire readers to honor their life and happiness

Web Pages

Advocates for Self-Government - Libertarian Education: Nathaniel Branden - Libertarian
Biography (from Laissez Faire Books), photo and quotes
His book The Psychology of Self-Esteem (1969) was published after his split with Rand. This was followed by Breaking Free (1970), The Disowned Self (1971), The Psychology of Romantic Love (1980), The Romantic Love Question & Answer Book (1982), Honoring the Self (1983), How To Raise Your Self Esteem (1987), The Art of Self Discovery (1993), The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (1994), Taking Responsibility (1996), The Art of Living Consciously (1997) ... Altogether, Dr. Branden's books have been translated into 18 languages and sold over 3.5 million copies.


The 1977 Libertarian Party National Convention, by Tom Avery, Tom G. Palmer, Libertarian Review, Oct 1977
Recounts the main events of the convention, highlighting several of the speakers and their messages
Later in the evening, Nathaniel Branden spoke to a massive number of libertarians gathered to hear him discuss his personal odyssey "From Objectivism to the Forty-Hour Intensive." Branden discussed his relationship with Objectivism and Ayn Rand, and told how he had come to his present views and concerns. His Forty-Hour Intensive has ignited the interest of people all over the country, libertarians and non-libertarians alike. Dr. Branden received a warm and enthusiastic reception, and fielded questions long into the night.
"And the Pursuit of Happiness": Nathaniel Branden, RIP, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 12 Dec 2014
Memorial essay, including some personal recollections, with emphasis on Branden's work on self-esteem and self-responsibility, and a preamble on the quoted phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence
Branden, of course, became known to the world as the man who helped systematize and present the philosophy dramatized in Ayn Rand's novels, especially Atlas Shrugged ... After his break with Rand, Branden moved from New York City to Los Angeles, where he made a name for himself through a series of books about the role of self-esteem in the pursuit of happiness, work he had begun while he was Rand's associate ... Then in 1969, Branden's publisher released his long-awaited The Psychology of Self-Esteem, chapters of which had appeared in Objectivist publications. I devoured it.
Murray, the LP, and Me, by David Bergland, 25 Dec 2002
Lengthy autobiographical essay, focusing on Murray Rothbard, libertarianism and the Libertarian Party; reprinted in Walter Block's I Chose Liberty (2010)
Branden came to Southern California and was a guest lecturer in philosophy at USC, having been invited by John Hospers ... I just happened to be in my last year at the USC Law School and was Editor in Chief of the Southern California Law Review. I contacted Professor Hospers and reintroduced myself to Nathaniel. Then I arranged for Nathaniel to publish an article in the Law Review ... I considered publishing the article quite a coup, but some of the professors at the Law School were upset ... For me, it also meant a continuing friendship with Nathaniel Branden, which I cherish.
On Autobiography, by Walter Block, 4 Dec 2002
Autobiographical, recounts how Block met Ayn Rand and later Murray Rothbard and how he progressed from libertarian minarchism to anarcho-capitalism; reprinted in Block's I Chose Liberty (2010), chapter 9
I ... announced that there was a socialist here who wanted to debate someone on economic issues pertaining to capitalism ... Nathan [Branden] very graciously offered to come ... with me for this purpose, but he imposed two preconditions: first, I would be honor bound not to allow this conversation to lapse with this one meeting, but would continue with it until we had achieved a resolution: either he would convince me of the error of my ways, or I would convince him of his. Second, I would read two books he would later recommend to me (Atlas Shrugged ... and Economics in One Lesson ...).
Rand, Ayn (1905-1982), by Chris Matthew Sciabarra, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical and bibliographical essay, also examining Rand's relationships with several leading thinkers
In the years after Atlas Shrugged, Rand worked with her closest associate, Nathaniel Branden, who organized the Nathaniel Branden Institute to disseminate the principles of Objectivism. After a bitter personal break with Rand in 1968, Branden established himself as an independent psychologist and a pioneer of the "self-esteem movement." However, in its heyday, Branden's institute was to influence a large number of students, offering live and taped lecture courses dealing with every aspect of Rand's thought—from her epistemology to her esthetics.
Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Ayn Rand: Three Women Who Inspired the Modern Libertarian Movement, by Jim Powell, The Freeman, May 1996
Triple biographical essay on the women who in 1943 published The Discovery of Freedom, The God of the Machine and The Fountainhead
[Rand] leaned increasingly on her Canadian-born intellectual disciple Nathaniel Branden with whom she had become intimate. To serve the growing interest in Rand and help revive her spirits, he established the Nathaniel Branden Institute, which offered seminars, marketed taped lectures, and began issuing publications ... Branden, 25 years younger than Rand, was sometimes an abrasive taskmaster, but he displayed remarkable skills promoting the ideals of individualism and capitalism. Good times continued until August 23, 1968, when he told Rand about his affair with another woman. Rand denounced him publicly, and they split ...
What Are Libertarians Out to Accomplish?, by Sheldon Richman, The Goal Is Freedom, 23 Jan 2015
Reviews the Nathaniel Branden speech "What Happens When the Libertarian Movement Begins to Succeed?", given at the 1979 Libertarian Party national convention, about the manner in which libertarians communicate with non-libertarians
As a psychologist, Branden was interested in how success might be received by libertarians. He had no doubt that as advocates of liberty, most libertarians would welcome the increasing public notice and growing number of adherents. But at the same time he realized that some number of libertarians had mixed motives and were attracted to the movement at least in part precisely because it was a minority, or fringe, movement ... (Branden regarded such persons as having a "negative self-concept.") ... Branden suggested that this might explain some of the infighting the movement (like other movements) was experiencing ...


Objectivist Ethics in the Information-Age Economy, Navigator, Feb 2001
After reviewing human progress, from hunter to farmer to laborer to thinker, argues that what he calls "Objectivist ethics" are more relevant to current society
Some years ago, I wrote that we had reached a moment in history when self-esteem, which had always been a supremely important psychological need, had become an urgent economic need—the attribute imperative for adaptiveness to an increasingly complex, challenging, and competitive world ... The mind has always been our basic tool of survival. ... Today, [this fact] is obvious to (almost) the whole world. And to Objectivists, this is a time of extraordinary opportunity—because if ever people might be open to understand the Objectivist ethics, it is now in the mind millenium.


UpdInterview with Nathaniel Branden, by Nathaniel Branden, Karen Reedstrom, Full Context, Sep 1996
In two parts; topics range from David Kelley, objectivism, Ayn Rand, his memoir Judgment Day, Barbara Branden, Leonard Peikoff, homosexuality, self-esteem and more
Nathaniel Branden began his pioneering work on the psychology of "self-esteem" over thirty years-ago. He has done more, perhaps, than any other theorist to awaken America's consciousness to the importance of self-esteem to human well-being. His first major work was The Psychology of Self-Esteem, published in 1969 and now in its 33rd printing. In 1989, he published the highly controversial Judgment Day, his memoir of his many years as intellectual associate and intimate companion of Ayn Rand. His sixteenth and most recent book is The Art of Living Consciously.

Books Authored

Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal
    by Nathaniel Branden ("Common Fallacies About Capitalism" and "Alienation"), Alan Greenspan, Robert Hessen, Ayn Rand, 1946
Essays by Rand, Nathaniel Branden, Alan Greenspan and Robert Hessen; partial list: What is Capitalism? - Gold and Economic Freedom - The Anatomy of Compromise - Conservatism: An Obituary - The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus - The Nature of Government
Related Topic: Capitalism
Honoring the Self: Self-Esteem and Personal Tranformation, 1983
Partial contents: I. The Dynamics of Self-Esteem - The Problem of Guilt - Motivation by Fear - II. The Struggle for Individuation - Evolving Toward Autonomy - The Art of Being - III. Egoism - Rational Selfishness - Individualism and the Free Society
Related Topic: Self-Esteem
Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand, 1989
1999 edition is titled My Years with Ayn Rand
Related Topic: Ayn Rand
The Psychology of Romantic Love: Romantic Love in an Anti-Romantic Age, 1980
Contents: Introduction - The Evolution of Romantic Love - The Roots of Romantic Love - Choice in Romantic Love - The Challenges of Romantic Love - Epilogue: A Final Word on Love
Related Topic: Romantic Love
The Psychology of Self-Esteem: A New Concept of Man's Psychological Nature, 1969
Partial contents: Foundations - Psychology as a Science - Man: A Living Being - Man: A Rational Being - Emotions - The Nature and Source of Self-Esteem - Pseudo-Self-Esteem - Pathological Anxiety: A Crisis of Self-Esteem - Self-Esteem and Romantic Love
Related Topic: Self-Esteem
The Romantic Love Question and Answer Book, 1982
Related Topic: Romantic Love
Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, 1994
Partial contents: I. Self-Esteem: Basic Principles - Self-Esteem: The Immune System of Consciousness - II. Internal Sources of Self-Esteem - The Practice of Self-Acceptance - The Practice of Self-Responsibility - III. External Influences: Self and Others
Related Topic: Self-Esteem
Taking Responsibility: Self-Reliance and the Accountable Life, 1996
Partial contents: Introduction - Toward Autonomy - Freedom and Responsibility - Self-Reliance and Social Metaphysics - A Self-Responsible Life - The Challenge of Separation - Self-Responsibility and Romantic Love - Accountability in Organizations
Related Topic: Personal Responsibility
The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism
    by Nathaniel Branden ("Mental Health versus Mysticism and Self-Sacrifice" and five more chapters), Ayn Rand, 1964
Partial contents: The Objectivist Ethics - The Ethics of Emergencies - The "Conflicts" of Men's Interests - Isn't Everyone Selfish? - The Psychology of Pleasure - Doesn't Life Require Compromise? - The Nature of Government - The Argument from Intimidation
Related Topic: Ethics


Nathaniel Branden: Self Esteem & Libertarianism, 2000
Talk given at a Libertarian Party of California event about "the connection between the workings of free-market capitalism, the self-esteem movement, and the Information Age"
Related Topic: Self-Esteem

Nathaniel Branden on "My Years With Ayn Rand", Reason TV, 11 Nov 2009
Topics include a new generation discovering Ayn Rand, Objectivism, emotions, the "Collective", telling Rand about the possible benefits of marijuana, discovering the word "libertarian" and arguing with her about conservatism and her emphasis on capitalism
Related Topic: Ayn Rand

The introductory paragraph uses material from the Wikipedia article "Nathaniel Branden" as of 30 Jun 2018, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.