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Fountainhead

1943 novel by Ayn Rand

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One of the most thought provoking books I've ever read

  • Jul 15, 2010
Rating:
+4

This book really made me think about things in ways I'd never considered.  It challenged all of my belief systems and went against everything I had been taught.  I have to say I enjoyed it. 

The idea that a man should live for himself and not for anyone else.  That seeking anyone's approval is worthless, only your own opinion should matter.  That ego and selfishness are good things and should be encouraged.  That your own personal creativity is the only worthwhile pursuit in life.  That you should destroy your own creation rather than allow it to be used for something you don't believe in.

Those seem like pretty radical ideas, but I must say Ayn Rand provided very logical, rational arguments that are certainly worth reading, and I found some of them absolutely inspiring.  She also came up with a very engaging story with some memorable characters.

Unbridled capitalism hasn't really acquitted itself very well as of late, but I wonder what might be achieved if capitalism wasn't inextricably tied to materialism in human nature.  Is capitalism without material greed even possible?  Is there any point to capitalism without the incentive of greed?  I'd like to think there is.  That pride in achievement would be sufficient motivation.

But these days that pretty much sound like a pipe dream.  Human nature factored into any equation is guaranteed to throw off the calculations.

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More Fountainhead reviews
review by . November 10, 2008
This novel predates Atlas Shrugged, and sometimes reads like a prequel telling the backstory of John Galt's life before he went on strike in Atlas. In its focus on individual characters, it sharpens the picture of pain and painful consequences to significant choices that drive the character's in Rand's objectivist world, so in some ways is more interesting and readable than Atlas Shrugged. It is more traditionally novelistic and less explicitly philosophical.
review by . July 18, 2009
Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead," is perhaps one of the most well known books ever written.  Along those lines, Ayn Rand has also written "Atlas Shrugged."  They're mostly the only two books you need to read in order to grap Ayn Rand's philosophy (Though "Anthem" and "We the Living" certainly do help as well).  I want to precede this review by saying we're not going to talk much about Objectivism here.  I want to talk about The Fountainhead.  …
review by . June 11, 2010
What was your emotional reaction as you read? Why?   Inspiring, in that the ideas and characters were all so alive.     Who would you recommend this reading to and why?   Absolutely!  The Fountainhead is so inviting to read as well as it offers far developed ideas.     Consider the story/plot.   The Fountainhead follows a true artist-architect Howard Roark-through his brilliant creations, true love, and his reaction with the rest …
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2010
Frightening. For a somewhat more serious discussion of quality, check out Zen and the Art of Motorcycle maintenance. At least he's not a greed-head like Rand.
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2010
My most favorite book EVER. Do we want quality or do we want mediocrity?
Quick Tip by . July 09, 2010
Great story of what it means to be a person of integrity. I would say as a story, this is better than Atlas Shrugged.
Quick Tip by . July 16, 2010
One of my personal favorites, "The Fountainhead," managed to drag up emotions that not many others could. Triumph and defeat, when described in the work, became personal successes and losses. It takes a special book to do that.
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
the individuality/creativity theme is pretty overdone, and it's hard to relate to the main characters
Quick Tip by . July 04, 2010
One of my favorite books. Really eye opening, and makes you reconsider some things you take for granted.
Quick Tip by . July 03, 2010
really makes you think about not "what" your goals are in life, but "why" your goals are
About the reviewer
Mariposa ()
Ranked #1444
Sometimes we make good decisions and our lives stay on the course they were meant to. And then sometimes all of our good decisions are blown away in a storm and we end up on the other side of the world … more
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Wiki

The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Ayn Rand. It was Rand's first major literary success and its royalties and movie rights brought her fame and financial security. The book's title is a reference to Rand's statement that "man's ego is the fountainhead of human progress."

The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand's various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author's ideal man of independent-mindedness and integrity, and what she described as the "second-handers." The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allows the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work.

The manuscript was rejected by twelve publishers before a young editor, Archibald Ogden, at the Bobbs-Merrill Company publishing house wired to the head office, "If this is not the book for you, then I am not the editor for you." Despite generally negative early reviews from the contemporary media, the book gained a following by word of mouth and sold hundreds of thousands of copies. The...

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Details

ISBN-13: 978-0451191151
Author: Ayn Rand
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Signet
Date Published: August 01, 1996
Polls with this book
1984 (British first edition)

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