Nathaniel Branden

Canadian–American psychotherapist and writer

Nathaniel Branden (9 April 19303 December 2014) was a psychotherapist and writer most famous for his works on the psychology of self-esteem. Once an associate of novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand, Branden had a prominent role in promoting Rand's philosophy, Objectivism.


  • One of the mistakes that Rand makes is that after she condemns a belief or an action, she goes on to tell you the psychology of the person who did it, as if she knows. I focus my judgment on the action and not on the person. My primary interest is: do I admire or dislike this behavior? And there, judgment is important for me. People often attribute all kinds of things to another person, without ever knowing where that person’s coming from. Most of the time, I regard the judgment of people as a waste of time. I regard the judgment of behavior as imperative.
  • Rand always says, “Never pass up an opportunity to pass moral judgment.” Well I say: “Look for an opportunity to do something more useful instead.” Nobody was led to virtue by being told he was a scoundrel.
    • Interview by Alec Mouhibian in The Free Radical (November 2004)

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem (1994)Edit

  • It would be hard to name a more certain sign of poor self-esteem than the need to perceive some other group as inferior.
  • Pride is the emotional reward of achievement. It is not a vice to be overcome but a virtue to be attained.

External linksEdit

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