Adam's Reviews > The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
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's review
Dec 16, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, philosophy
Recommended to Adam by: Numerous people, thank you!
Recommended for: Everyone, Architects, Artists, Business(wo)men, You
Read in December, 2009

Again, wow, what an incredibly well done story, if you can call it that, by Ayn Rand. The poignancy of this book is such that the label of fiction hardly seems encompassing enough. While sure, the characters, their lives and actions are fabricated from a single brilliant mind, the underlying ideas could not be any more realistic or relevant. But then again, that's what she set out to do isn't it!?!

Having so thoroughly enjoyed Atlas Shrugged last year, I was excited to return home and find a copy of The Fountainhead on our bookshelves downstairs. Expecting nothing less than pure brilliancy, based on only one previous reading, I immediately dove in and committed winter break to the story of Peter Keating, Howard Roark, Gail Wynand, Ellsworth Toohey and Dominique Francon.

What I noticed at first was that Rand offered no subtlety in the presentation of her included philosophy. In reading Atlas, I was at first enthralled by the story itself, only later realizing that the whole thing built up to some grand philosophical theory. While I very much appreciate, and am certainly fascinated by Rand's 'objectivism,' I was a bit startled at first by the degree to which The Fountainhead outwardly pushes these notions from the very first pages.

That said, once I overcame my initial shock, I couldn't have enjoyed the story more. . .well, unless it was about Dagny, but Dominique isn't such a bad piece of pie herself!

While obviously discussions of Rand's work can, and have, spanned countless thousands of pages across numerous disciplines, I find it satisfying to take one or two big ideas and simply relish in those. The notion of 'integrity' is clearly a focal point for the novel and one that is only all too absent in so many facets of modern life. Along those lines, the commitment and dedication to oneself that Roark demonstrates, and Wynand struggles so hard with, is an important part of what I understand to be the underpinnings of 'objectivism.'

A summary is hardly worth going through and trying to express what I learned from this book in words is a task that is well beyond my patience and ability to accurately articulate myself. That so, let me conclude by noting that Rand has thus far stood two for two with the most timely, and yet timeless, pieces of fiction that I've consumed. Not a bad deal if you're propagating a philosophy that is supposedly indicative of the human race.

Keep on keeping on people.

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Quotes Adam Liked

Ayn Rand
“Now take a human body. Why wouldn't you like to see a human body with a curling tail with a crest of ostrich feathers at the end? And with ears shaped like acanthus leaves? It would be ornamental, you know, instead of the stark, bare ugliness we have now. Well, why don't you like the idea? Because it would be useless and pointless. Because the beauty of the human body is that is hasn't a single muscle which doesn't serve its purpose; that there's not a line wasted; that every detail of it fits one idea, the idea of a man and the life of a man.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand
“A house can have integrity, just like a person,' said Roark, 'and just as seldom.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand
“All I mean is that a board of directors is one or two ambitious men--and a lot of ballast. I mean that groups of men are vacuums. Great big empty nothings. They say we can't visualize a total nothing. Hell, sit at any committee meeting. The point is only who chooses to fill that nothing. It's a tough battle. The toughest. It's simple enough to fight any enemy, so long as he's there to be fought. But when he isn't. . .”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand
“Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand
“It's easy to run to others. It's so hard to stand on one's own record. You can fake virtue for an audience. You can't fake it in your own eyes. Your ego is your strictest judge. They run from it. They spend their lives running. It's easier to donate a few thousand to charity and think oneself noble than to base self-respect on personal standards of personal achievement. It's simple to seek substitutes for competence--such easy substitutes: love, charm, kindness, charity. But there is no substitute for competence.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

Ayn Rand
“The age of the skyscraper is gone. This is the age of the housing project. Which is always a prelude to the age of the cave.”
Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

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