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The Fountainhead

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  236,612 Ratings  ·  9,277 Reviews
When it was first published in 1943, The Fountainhead - containing Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision with the seeds of her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism - won immediate worldwide 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
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Published by Penguin Group US (first published 1943)
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John Sneed Brett, reading is entertainment. If the story is not entertaining, don't read it. Come back in five years and give it a another try. Your personal…moreBrett, reading is entertainment. If the story is not entertaining, don't read it. Come back in five years and give it a another try. Your personal experience and your view on life is important if this book 'speaks' to you.
Give Ayn Rand the benefit of the doubt and let her tell her story. No editors please.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Mike I was not, but had read Rand before. I don't feel it trudged on and on, but then again, the concept of pride in the work you do. Ownership of ideas,…moreI was not, but had read Rand before. I don't feel it trudged on and on, but then again, the concept of pride in the work you do. Ownership of ideas, and a belief in the self is something I subscribe to. Ayn Rand is not for everyone, but I enjoy her books immensely.(less)
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Community Reviews

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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
Nov 28, 2007 Ryan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 31, 2014 Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  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
Apr 08, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sparrow
Sep 14, 2010 Sparrow rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 12, 2007 Brendan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jrule
Aug 10, 2007 Jrule rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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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) it feels good (perhaps a marker of personal progress?) to reject or condescend to that which we once loved. (see also: catcher in the rye and on the road)

2) those (the overwhelming majority of bookfacers) who fall on the liberal end of the spectrum find the residual conservative drool all over the book a bit yukky?

3) the philosophy is u
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Manzoid
Aug 09, 2008 Manzoid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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Lyn
Apr 08, 2016 Lyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Let me begin by saying that after reading this, and especially after reading her novel Atlas Shrugged, that I do not much like Ms Rand. I think her philosophy must surely have been created as a reaction to her experiences with Bolsheviks.

That said, I think this is a modern masterpiece, Rand's reformation and restatement of Nietzschean mythos.

This was beautiful yet brutally simple, shockingly hypnotic; like a bull fight, difficult to watch but you cannot turn away. Many archetypal characters, ve
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Dave
Sep 18, 2007 Dave rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, philosophy
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
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Riku Sayuj
Sep 23, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics

If I were to suspect the artist of having written out of passion and in passion, my confidence would immediately vanish, for it would serve no purpose to have supported the order of causes by the order of ends.

~ Sartre



It is not literature. It is not philosophy. It lacks any understanding of how an economy functions. A childish affirmation of pure entitlement.

It is just a rant told through a really bad piece of fiction.

Ayn Rant.


+++

(the 4 stars rating was given at a very early and impressionable
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Foodpie
Jun 18, 2008 Foodpie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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!"
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11
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
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Skylar Burris
Dec 29, 2007 Skylar Burris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Jen
Jun 08, 2009 Jen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Maria
Aug 07, 2007 Maria rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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J.G. Keely
Jan 15, 2013 J.G. Keely marked it as to-avoid  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
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mark monday
Jun 15, 2011 mark monday rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I once broke up with someone because she was an ardent follower of Ayn Rand. it just started bothering me more and more, and I started seeing the taint of Objectivism in so many of her comments. mind you, this was in college when i was much more obnoxiously political.

after we broke up, she turned around and started dating my roommate... sweet revenge, and a fitting response from an Objectivist.
Dan
Feb 20, 2008 Dan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Richard
Nov 12, 2013 Richard rated it really liked it
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
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Fabian
Jun 06, 2016 Fabian rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I went over to the other side and made it back! I will admit that I had been properly warned (Liana, others). You read “The Fountainhead” because many other readers have, before you; it is a book as popular as “One Hundred Years of Solitude.” This awful novel begins strong, climaxes early (no pun intended) with an insipid rape scene, then’s all downhill. The tones mismatch, but not in an interesting way, but dull! Is there, indeed, a tone? I don’t think so. The androids which make-up the ensembl ...more
Max Ostrovsky
Jun 27, 2007 Max Ostrovsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
j
5 stars for being a ludicrously entertaining soap opera. The most lurid, overdone philosophical text I've ever read (probably because I haven't gotten to Atlas Shrugged yet).

Whether you agree with Rand's ideas or not (please say you don't!), it's pretty damn entertaining to watch them played out via a cast of steely heroes and sniveling villains. The S&M sex scenes are probably the best part - objectivism in the bedroom.

Worth reading for sure, if you can keep your head on your shoulders and
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Yulia
May 10, 2008 Yulia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: repelled-by
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.
Chrissie
I certainly did like this book, and yet I have an easier time pointing at things that should make me dislike it. That is not the case; I most definitely liked it.

This is a book that presents an ideology. That is what makes it interesting. Individualism versus collective aspirations/altruism. Egotism versus the social good for many. Every word has side connotations; every word choice needs to be analyzed / discussed to reach a balanced and a fair evaluation of what is the ideal. Ayn Rand is here
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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
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“I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.” 2363 likes
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