Rodriqueze's Reviews > The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
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U 50x66
's review
Jun 16, 11

really liked it

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Intense may be the best word for this book. Not in the sense that it was action packed and suspenseful, but that it was a heavy book that was a mind-load to read - an intense experience. Meticulously thought out and particularly designed, The Fountainhead clobbers you with Rand's philosophical doctrines. Sometimes this is amazing and revelatory, sometimes it's spelled out a little too much and you're left feeling like Rand's chewing your food for you. Overall though, it was amazing. Rand's ability to cut down altruism and promote individuality above all else in a way that doesn't seem cruel and petty is striking. Her hero would classically be considered an anti-hero, but she makes him an ideal man you want to identify with, though you know you could never come close to his standards. You ache to me more like her characters that embody her philosophy, even though they're miserable pricks in a lot of ways. Which raises the question, how much of her philosophy seems right? Should we all be individualists who measure ourselves solely through our own standards and the rest of the world be damned? Is charity abominable and altruism self-defeating? As with most of my answers for life's most important questions, I take a little from column A and a little from column B. Rand is an extremist and a society based around the morals and ethics of The Fountainhead would collapse under the weight of it's own ego, though the collapse would be glorious and we'd all go out with our heads held high. We should however learn to be a little more stronger in terms of personal individuality, ie, figure out what makes us happy and have the balls to go after it without letting societal norms hold us back.
At the end of the day, this book was a great read. The characters were powerful and intriguing, though a little predictable and 2-dimensional. BUT the characters weren't flesh and blood people as much as they were representations of ideas, ideals, schools of thought, and classes. The story was secondary to the characters, which worked for this book. You don't read it to find out the trials and tribulations of becoming an architect (well not exactly anyway), you read it watch the interactions among the characters, which is really an interaction of ideas put into practice. The enjoyment of this book comes from weighing Rand's philosophy for yourself. From the inevitable critical thinking it induces and from being surprised at your own reactions to the radical ideals put forth. Are you a strong enough individual to maintain your own ideals and morals in the face of Rand's forceful arguments for individuality? Only one way to find out, and it's about 700 dense pages long.

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