The Fountainhead
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The Fountainhead

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3.82 of 5 stars 3.82  ·  rating details  ·  192,746 ratings  ·  8,091 reviews
When The Fountainhead was first published, Ayn Rand''s daringly original literary vision and her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism, won immediate worldwide interest and acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to d...more
Paperback, Centennial Edition , 720 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Signet (first published 1943)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jason Pettus
Would you like to hear the only joke I've ever written? Q: "How many Objectivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" A: (Pause, then disdainfully) "Uh...one!" And thus it is that so many of us have such a complicated relationship with the work of Ayn Rand; unabashed admirers at the age of 19, unabashedly horrified by 25, after hanging out with some actual Objectivists and witnessing what a--holes they actually are, and also realizing that Rand and her cronies were one of the guiltiest partie...more
Ryan
This book is the equivalent of a drunk, eloquent asshole talking to you all night at a bar. You know you should just leave and you could never explain later why you didn't, but you just sit there listening to the guy ramble on. It's all bullshit, and his arguments defending, say, his low-key but all-consuming misogyny aren't that good and don't even really make sense, but just for a second you find yourself thinking, "Huh, the man might have a point..." before you catch yourself and realize that...more
Taylor K.
Dec 04, 2013 Taylor K. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who are ambitious and feel out of place in society due to their lack of regard for much of it
Note, Feb. 2011: The feedback I've gotten on this review is kind of funny. I'd like to make one thing clear, and that is that I'm far from a Rand worshipper. I can't get onboard with her whole way of life, from the personal to the political level. I will say, though, that I think her attitudes, when applied to the creative arts, are important. When you create something, I think it's fine to disregard trends and making other people happy. When you create, the person you should keep foremost in mi...more
Eric_W
I had not really paid much attention to Ayn Rand, darling of the conservatives (very surprisingly, actually) until I began reading her biography. When I asked around to see who had actually read any of her work, I found only a few, but lots of opinions about Rand herself. Often those comments ascribed beliefs to Rand that were at opposite poles of the spectrum, from conservative to radical, individualist to Nazi fascist. Obviously another case of what I call the “De Toqueville syndrome,” where...more
Sparrow
Sep 14, 2010 Sparrow rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: I'd read Atlas Shrugged instead
Recommended to Sparrow by: Ayn Rand
Shelves: disturbing, reviewed
THIS HORROR STORY IS TO SCARY FOR ME IT HAS A CREEPY GINGER KID AND HE RAPES ANN COULTER BECAUSE SHE WANTS HIM TO!!1! THEN THEY HAVE A LOT OF TICKLE FIGHTS AND BUILD SUM HOUSES THATS ALL i REMEMBER.
Brendan
As literature, I found the book dry, predictable, and overwrought. As philosophy, I found it circular, wholly unfounded, and completely contradicting reality.

This book is like a net set for unsuspecting minds. It breaches their defenses with a twisted logic, attempting to preclude any conclusions but the ones it sets forth.

Of course, it follows a natural flow from the author's assumptions: power, will, and self-determinism are the foundations of all life. Nothing matters, except that you do what...more
brian
yesterday i spent the day mainlining bookface and discovered that one of the most reviled books on the site was the fountainhead. i can think of a few reasons:

1) for some reason or other, as humans, it feels good (perhaps a marker of personal progress?) to reject or condescend to that which we once loved. (a corollary of our love of schadenfreude, of watching the fall of the rich/powerful/famous?) (see also: catcher in the rye and on the road)

2) as an overwhelming majority of bookfacers fall on...more
Jrule
Yes 5 stars, why? Because whenever i rethink about this book i become speechless.
The lessons it taught me and the life it showed me are invaluable. So whatever you may find below are the mixed emotions which i could withdraw out of it.
This books helps you realize the pain and agony of a person who stands on his own beliefs, defying the society rules and so called modern world culture.
So today whenever i see a person fighting with the world just for his own beliefs and his own values, i can alwa...more
Manzoid
This book is a big epiphany-getter in American high school and college students. It presents a theme of pure, fierce dedication to honing yourself into a hard blade of competence and accomplishment, brooking no compromise, ignoring and dismissing the weak, untalented rabble and naysayers as you charge forth to seize your destiny. You are an "Army of One". There is undeniable sophomoric allure to this pitch. It kind of reminds me of all those teenagers into ninja stuff and wu shu and other Orient...more
Brad
So there was this girl I loved, deeply loved, and our love was key to the end of my first marriage. We didn't cheat physically, although there was no avoiding or denying the intellectual and emotional cheating that just being in each others' presence elicited, but my partner/wife felt that something was wrong with our "friendship," and she was right.

C--- and I had been in love for a couple of months, and it was the night before I was leaving for my anniversary trip. I was meeting my partner/wif...more
dead letter office
this review is bizarrely getting votes from people i don't know, so let me just reiterate that the text of the prediction is from mcsweenys, in case it's not clear that all i did was a little cutting and pasting.

instead of reading this book, just read ayn rand's superbowl prediction in mcsweeney's and you'll get the idea:

When he saw Bill Belichick in the hallway before the press conference, Tom Coughlin's face contorted into a whine. "It isn't fair!" he shrieked. "You have all the best players!"...more
Skylar Burris
The Fountainhead is a tale of both defeat and triumph. It is depressing and exalting, inviting and repugnant. And its philosophy, like all great lies, is more than three-quarters true.

In this lengthy novel, Ayn Rand presents her ideal man and her philosophy of objectivism. The philosophy rejects mercy, altruism, charity, sacrifice, and service. These proclaimed virtues are portrayed as either weaknesses or as tools of subjugation. Her philosophy is a sort of extreme capitalism applied to every...more
Foodpie
This book is easily described as garbage. Poorly imagined, poorly conceived and poorly written it is only exceptional in the lengths it will go to justify the morally, ethically and socially reprehensible behavior of the central character who's vaunted genius amounts in the end to nothing more than being a willful disobedient ass. He is neither original or exceptional, he is simply an ass, and is treated as an object of admiration for it. A thoroughly disgusting piece of writing.
Dave
Overall, this is not only great fiction, but Rand also has some great ideas which are presented with an uncanny amount of clarity.

The architectural profession serves as the backdrop for the story. The story itself is quite interesting; either Rand did a great deal of research or she did a good job faking it. I maintained a complete disinterest in architecture before reading the book, but still found myself actively engaged while Rand discussed the matter. I wonder how many young readers are stee...more
Chris
I hated Anthem so much that I vowed never to read another book by Ann Rand, but I still talk about how much I hate all of her other books, too. That's how much I disliked Anthem. I also think I have the right to hate The Fountainhead without having read it because:

a) Ayn Rand is a horrible writer. Everything I've seen by her is badly written and I don't like badly written books.

b) Ayn Rand thought she was a philosopher and injects her silly "objectionist" point of view into all her books. She wa...more
BirdBrian
SCENE OPENS IN A PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE. TWO MEN FACE EACH OTHER IN COMFORTABLE-LOOKING ARMCHAIRS.

Dr Williams (DrW): Howard, I want you to understand that even though you were acquitted for destroying the Courtlandt housing project, the court has ordered you to these sessions because they are concerned you may be a danger to the public. Some of your colleagues think you may be insane.

Howard Roark (HR): Insane? Pffft- they wish! They just can't handle my genius. If they possessed my knowledge of a...more
Maria
Aug 07, 2007 Maria rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people with too much time on their hands
Egads, I hate this book. I first read it 6 years ago when I was 16, and I thought to myself, this book is an enormous pile of compressed dog feces. However, because I'm aware of the fact that our judgement at the age of 16 is not necessarily quite so excellent as most of us liked to think it was, I decided recently to reread it, and see if I understood what other people saw in this book.

I still have absolutely no clue. After slogging through it for a second time, I still think that it's 700+ pa...more
Jen
Jun 08, 2009 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: square pegs surrounded by round holes who secretly know square pegs are of better design
Recommended to Jen by: my high school math teacher
I read it at the right time- that time when the body is young and capable of only genius and having unapologetic mind sex on philosophical rooftops with someone else as young and genius sounds like the highest good...or at least better than making out in a Sunday School room while your parents are at choir practice.

At 17 I thought this Earth-shaking and sexy. I thought it a moral imperative to try to get my little revolutionary hands on everything she ever wrote and by doing so stumbled right in...more
Dan
Ever read a book that changed your life as a kid, I mean totally reconfigured your perceptions of life and how it should be lived? Yeah, me too. This was one of those books for me. It blew me away as a kid. My hero was Roark and his rugged individualism and integrity. Upon rereading this 50th anniversary hardback edition as an adult, I was appalled at this amoral tale. Roark is a sociopathic monster whose integrity is blind and callous. The Objectivism that Rand uses to undergird this story seem...more
Jojo Bananas
May 18, 2008 Jojo Bananas added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are too full of themselves to care what I think about this book
If you like your characters rendered in stunning Black and White, without all that pesky grey in between, this is the book for you. With characters as self-centered and unbelievable as they are unlikeable, is it any wonder that architecture students who are encouraged to read this end up so full of themselves? I wouldn't use it to prop up the short leg of the couch. I throw my poop at it.
Max Ostrovsky
I did not like The Fountainhead as much as Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged was more of a page turner. There were very specific character goals that drove that story. The Fountainhead had a gradual buildup to a very climactic courtroom scene. The Fountainhead took the reader on a very linear journey, but never going beyond the basic story of a man who wants to succeed. Of course there are more nuances than that, but that is the basic essence. Atlas Shrugged takes a more epic approach and raises mo...more
Keely
Jan 15, 2013 Keely marked it as to-avoid
Based on everything I've heard about Rand, from her supporters, her detractors, or in interviews with the author herself, I feel there is no reason to believe that this book or any of her others contain anything that is worth reading, not even as 'cautionary example'. Since my goal here is to read as many good books as possible and to do my best to avoid bad ones, I'm going to be giving Rand a wide berth.
Yulia
It's difficult to find a book as disturbing and unappealing in its content, prose, intent, or sheer mass. Those who admire Rand actually frighten me.

I suppose it could be more offensive if it were published as a water-proof beach or bath book in non-recyclable plastic. I await that edition with bated breath.
Richard
Nov 12, 2013 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature audiences only
(Update at end; latest is 2013-11-12)

OK, I’ve got to explain this four-star rating, because I don’t want anyone to think I’d actually recommend this book...

It has been many years since I’ve read either of Ayn Rand’s two doorstop books, and I can’t really recall the details of either. I’m pretty sure the one with John Galt had the absurdly long speech near the end, and all the cool kids smoked special cigarettes, and was mostly about railroads. This was the one with the architect, right?

Anyway, I...more
Laurel
Oh, Ayn Rand. How I wish I could enjoy your books more than I do.

This is my second go at a Rand book. My first was Atlas Shrugged. I liked this one a lot more, but I pretty much hated Atlas Shrugged, so I'm not sure how much that says. :) I'm starting to think Rand may be an acquired taste.

It's not her writing I have trouble with. In fact, I was impressed with how much her book kept my attention despite it's length (about 800 pages, or 26 CDs). She's clearly an intelligent and thought provoking...more
Eveline
A book that was difficult to read. From the first pages I disliked all the characters. The supposedly kind characters are portrayed as pushovers and wimps, so equally unfavorable. Rand tries to make you believe that the hero of her story is to be admired. The more characters were introduced the more unlikable and extreme Rand's Objectivism shines through like a dark light. What an obnoxious world she is revering in this story. That is perhaps too unkind. (not that any of Rand's fans would care)...more
Brandon
the one star:

i didn't get around to reading this book until the blizzard a couple years ago in new york. i was in a particular mood, woke up at 3am and decided i had to get out of the apartment, so i grabbed the copy i'd bought a couple days before and suited up to go down to yaffa. it was nice, the snow fell gently at that point, the waiter and i had a great conversation when he saw i was reading the book, i got pulled in, read until past sunrise there, started looking up at the buildings while...more
Emma Ryan
I read the Fountainhead, the famous book by Ayn Rand that almost everyone else in the country read long ago, before me, and "LOVE love love love love loved" it, well after I should have.

The book is 800 long pages, and I labored through it for about a month, including a week haitus when I couldn't take it anymore, and finally found some chapters at the very end that captivated me enough to say I couldn't put the book down (maybe 50 pages, total).

This book is commonly accepted as wonderful, but I...more
Lisa
Jan 08, 2008 Lisa rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
Ayn Rand has written some of the most undistinguished prose in the English language. Moreover, her politics are appalling.

Ironically, the most common pick-up line I've been given over the course of my life involves random drunk dude #243 ascertaining my intelligence, believing that he's more apt to get me to give up my number (or my virtue) if I believe him to be intelligent, too -- so he busts out something about "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged", or suggests that I am unusually stimulatin...more
Max
I recall that most people read Ayn Rand in high school, which is the ideal time to embrace protagonists who refuse to compromise their originality and are assaulted on all sides for their greatness. Having skipped several grades in public school I missed some of these formative books so I'm reading them as an adult. More than 50 years have passed in architecture, capitalism, and the glorification of the mediocre, since Rand wrote The Fountainhead, which is why its philosophies are more suited fo...more
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The Modern Librar...: The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand 6 40 Dec 27, 2013 11:21PM  
  • Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand
  • A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays
  • Extravagance
  • The Meaning of Consuelo
  • The Survivors of the Chancellor
  • The Holy Barbarians
  • New Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • Fat Land
  • The Archidamian War
  • Brigadoon (Vocal Score)
  • The Passion of Ayn Rand
  • The Little Locksmith
  • The Art of Fiction
  • L'Etranger/La Peste
  • Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night / Come Back to Sorrento / Turn, Magic Wheel / Angels on Toast / A Time to Be Born (Library of America #126)
  • The Law
  • My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and Its Aftermath
  • Ayn Rand Answers: The Best of Her Q & A
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Alisa Rosenbaum was born in pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg to a prosperous Jewish family. When the Bolsheviks requisitioned the pharmacy owned by her father, Fronz, the Rosenbaums fled to the Crimea. Alisa returned to the city (renamed Leningrad) to attend the university, but in 1926 relatives who had already settled in America offered her the chance of joining them there. With money from the sa...more
More about Ayn Rand...
Atlas Shrugged Anthem We the Living The Virtue of Selfishness: A New Concept of Egoism Atlas Shrugged & The Fountainhead

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