You can see why some readers — especially younger ones — might find Rand’s work exciting.
As for her ideas: Rand is one of the few popular writers (L. Ron Hubbard is another) to have developed her own school of philosophy. She called this intellectual movement “Objectivism,” and it came complete with an articulated metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics. Her fiction, which contained this philosophy in embryo, enshrined the lonely nobility of the individual, the value of selfishness, the fraudulence of altruism, and the depravity of collectivism:
Men have been taught that their first concern is to relieve the suffering of others. But suffering is a disease. Should one come upon it, one tries to give relief and assistance. To make that the highest test of virtue is to make suffering the most important part of life. Then man must wish to see others suffer — in order that he may be virtuous. Such is the nature of altruism. The creator is not concerned with disease, but with life. Yet the work of the creators has eliminated one form of disease after another, in man’s body and spirit, and brought more relief from suffering than any altruist could ever conceive.
I haven’t read a lot of Rand, so I have to trust my companion’s word that Toneelgroep Amsterdam’s four-and-a-half hour theatrical adaptation of The Fountainhead, which recently finished a run at the Brooklyn Academy of Music as part of the 2017 Next Wave Festival, is faithful to its source, even bizarrely so. Most responses to Rand are split between reverence and ridicule; the extremity of her beliefs and her rhetoric demand more than mere agreement.