Apparently Ayn Rand's novel Atlas Shrugged is turning 50, a fact I know only because my fairly libertarian-tilted feed reading list has been deluged of late with retrospectives.
One of the oddities of posts on Ayn Rand is that every author seems to feel required to say something like "I like her work but I am not in total agreement with everything she says." Uh, OK. I'm not clear why this proviso seems so necessary. I have never heard someone saying "I am a big fan of Mozart" and then following up with "but I don't like all of his works." I am sure that is true, but they don't bother saying so. I am a big fan of Ayn Rand, in particular with her non-fiction essays, but of course there are parts of her writing I don't agree with. For example, I would be less likely to take her advice on managing my love life than I would to eat out of Hannibal Lecter's cookbook.
What Rand did so well in Atlas Shrugged was to take collectivist and anti-rational philosophy and play it forward in practice in a very compelling way. She demonstrated with almost mathematical precision the end results of collectivist philosophy. The entropic United States in Atlas Shrugged, running down under the weight of socialism, has turned out to be repeatedly prescient. For this reason, I find her anti-heros to be more memorable. I see analog's to the Jim Taggerts and Lee Hunsackers and Starnes children nearly every day in the news. Through these analogs, Rand still helps me place current events in their philosophical context.
By the way, if you enjoyed her novels but have never read her essays, I encourage you to do so. The Virtue of Selfishness is a reasonable place to start. She was not the first person to voice many of these messages (Hayek and others were saying many of the same things) but because of her novels, I, like many others, heard them first from her.