Adam Weiner's book, "How Bad Writing Destroyed The World" takes some of the thinking that has influenced the world for the last 75+ years and ties it to a surprising source.
The "Bad Writing" refers to a Russian author, Chernyshevsky. In 1863 he wrote a book "What is to Be Done". One chapter in the book, "The most atrocious work of Russian literature", sums it up.
Chernyshevsky socialist philosophy was called "rational egoism". How this philosophy became the foundation of Ayn Rand, the arch-capitalist, is the shared belief that "the rational pursuit of selfish gain on the part of each individual must give rise to the ideal form of society". The book also caught the attention Lenin, Dostoevsky, and Nabokov. How their philosophies (also?) meshed with the book was also also discussed in the book.
Ayn Rand's fled to the south where she went to the University of Petrograd. Years later she came to the United States.
She is best known for her book "Atlas Shrugged" and "Fountainhead". Capitalism, limited government, the individual, the free market, and eventually trickle down economics, were her areas of focus.
Her book "Atlas Shrugged" was reviewed by Whittaker Chambers who, with William Buckley, were the other well known conservatives of the last century. When Chambers said of her book that it was a "fairy tale" their relationships ended. (I think he was right)
In other writings Rand said of herself that she was the smartest philosopher the world had ever had, except Aristotle. She also said that with a free market that, the rich get richer and the poor are hurt sometimes, but then "they deserve it". For her the free market rewarded brains. She thought people would naturally do the right think in a free market, because self interest meant people would protect their reputation.
A early disciple of her's was Alan Greenspan. He would later say he knew economics but didn't know why people acted the way they did. He felt Ayn Rand had helped him with that.
By the time he served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006 he was very much in her influence. After the banks crashed in 2008 the congress called him in and asked him why he had reduced all the regulation that was in place that seemed to have caused the crash? He said he had made a mistake. He said he knew economics but didn't understand people, and felt that the free market would cause people to do the right thing for the sake of their reputation. He misjudged greed, and admitted it.
The book is interesting, relevant, and worth reading.