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“Ayn Rand’s Influences: Friends and Foes” – The Great Connections Weekend Seminar

November 9 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

- $350

Join us while we explore the influence of highly famous thinkers on Ayn Rand’s epistemology, ethics, and politics.

7 PM Thursday evening, November 9 to

Sunday 4 PM, November 12, 2017


Would you like to gain a greater perspective on Ayn Rand’s ideas, have an opportunity to voice your thoughts on her work, enjoy exceptional intellectual stimulation – and meet some of the most interesting people?

Well here’s your chance!

We’re offering a mix of challenging readings, provocative discussions, and conviviality in the lovely setting of the Stanley House Inn Bed and Breakfast in Marietta, GA near Atlanta.

Join us to chew over some of the most intriguing writing that changed the world.  Writing that Ayn Rand learned from – and opposed. And examine some of Rand’s key essays in light of your discoveries. All to come to your own conclusions about them – entirely for your own satisfaction and pleasure. For example, we’ll:

  • Delve deeply into Aristotle’s examination of happiness and virtue in the Nicomachean Ethics,
  • Examine the relation between Descartes’ cogitations and Rand’s axiomatic concepts,
  • Discover the connections between The New Republic’s founder and The Fountainhead’s campaign against self-sacrifice.

And more! We’ll use a carefully selected group of texts which we’ll examine together. You’ll discover the often-hidden links between classic principles and current controversies. This is what we mean by “The Great Connections.”

If you are new to the ideas of Ayn Rand and her influencers, this is an opportunity to expose yourself to them in a warm welcoming environment.  If you have already studied her ideas, this is an opportunity to deepen and challenge your understanding.  We’ll use our specially-crafted, evidence and reason-based methodology that will strengthen your insights and reasoning power and radically expand your understanding of what you read.

Strengthen Your Power of Open Debate

In this time of intellectual turmoil, when open debate is questioned and denied at some institutions of “higher” learning, we’ll enjoy deep, civil conversations about controversial topics such as:

  • What’s the purpose of education?
  • Is there such a thing as “nobility” and what is it?
  • Can politics be a moral vocation?

This weekend will arm you with an expanded understanding of great ideas, better able to defend against life-destroying creeds and the erosion of our freedoms.

In addition to in-class learning, we’ll take a trip to see the  Kennesaw Mountain Civil War Battle Field. We’ll learn about its role in the war and experience the very place where Gone With the Wind was set.

Meet the faculty…

Marsha Familaro Enright At The Great Connections, you’ll benefit from the same  distinctive learning method, absorbing curriculum, and top- notch faculty that has won rave reviews from the students who have participated in our “college” events every summer the past nine years. I will be leading the program. You can read more about me here.

Liz Parker

Liz Parker, will assist me. A graduate of George Mason University with a double degree in Economics and Global Affairs, Liz attended The Great Connections Summer Seminar for several years before becoming an Assistant Instructor. She has a keen mind and a deft manner for delving into the works we’ll study.

As instructors, we won’t lecture, but guide your conversations about the works so you can understand them yourself, first-hand. And we’ll be available for informal discussions and interaction, both in and out of class.

Stretch your mind…

Experience an atmosphere of enjoyable collaboration resulting from our specially crafted, evidence-based discussion methodology, in which reason is the only authority. You’ll come away enlightened, with your powers of reasoning and first-hand judgment strengthened. And you’ll have forged “great connections” with the other fascinating people who will attend…such as the physicist from Stanford, who has attended our programs several times. He said:

“Imagine you’re into yoga, but you do it by yourself – then you find this group where everyone is doing it! The high level of cognitive functioning, the intellectual stretching – that was really valuable to me. “

Ray Raad

Or psychiatrist and research fellow at Columbia University, Raymond Raad, M.D., M.Ph., who says:

Every time I attend, I gain deeper insight into an idea I thought I already knew well. These seminars have changed the way I read.”

Ray will be attending this November seminar.

One caution: Because of the high level of personal and individual attention that the faculty will devote to each attendee, registration is strictly limited to 15.

Practical Details…

On Thursday evening, join us to get acquainted and participate in the introductory dialogue on a poem about what it means to be a “Westerner.” Engage in deep conversation about Rand’s ideas and her influencers on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Travel to nearby Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield on Saturday afternoon. At lunch on those days, enjoy socializing with the instructors and your fellow fascinating participants. Attend dinners on Friday and Saturday nights where you’ll get a chance to talk in even more depth with others.

See the entire schedule here. To get a flavor of what our discussions will be like, you can watch a video of our 2010 weekend seminar for adults here. Explore our longer summer program here.

You will be given online links to all the readings after you register, which you will want to read before we discuss them so you can actively participate in the discussions. There will only be time to review the readings during the weekend.

The program’s cost for the weekend is $350 But, if you register by Monday, September 30th, you will only pay $295!

From out of town?

We have reserved a few rooms at the Stanley House Inn for $140/night plus tax, which includes a delightful breakfast – please contact me to reserve and pay a deposit for the room.  There are also many other options in Marietta, which is only 45 minutes from Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport.

Three Easy Ways to Register

1. Complete this form and use this button to submit payment and secure your place.

Payment options

2. If you prefer, use this form, and send your payment by check to:

RIF Institute
9400 S. Damen Avenue
Chicago, IL 60643

3. Call 773-677-6418 to register and pay by credit card.

Here’s the full schedule. Please contact me if you have any questions:

menright@rifinst.org or 773-677-6418.

The “Great Connections” seminar is a unique “total immersion” experience and intellectual adventure packed into two days of intensive learning, interactive sessions and rewarding camaraderie. Join us.


Marsha Familaro Enright


November 9
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
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