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The Fountainhead

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  310,625 ratings  ·  13,202 reviews
The revolutionary literary vision that sowed the seeds of Objectivism, Ayn Rand's groundbreaking philosophy, and brought her immediate worldwide acclaim.

This modern classic is the story of intransigent young architect Howard Roark, whose integrity was as unyielding as granite...of Dominique Francon, the exquisitely beautiful woman who loved Roark passionately, but married
Mass Market Paperback, 25 Aniv Edition , 704 pages
Published September 1st 1996 by Signet Book (first published April 15th 1943)
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John H 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 exp…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, a…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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Jason Pettus
Jul 09, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Nov 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jan 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Meredith Holley
Jul 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: I'd read Atlas Shrugged instead
Recommended to Meredith by: Ayn Rand
Shelves: reviewed, disturbing
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand

Alice O'Connor, better known by her pen name Ayn Rand, was a Russian-American writer and philosopher.

The Fountainhead is a 1943 novel by Russian-American author Ayn Rand, her first major literary success.

In early 1922, Howard Roark is expelled from the architecture department of the Stanton Institute of Technology because he has not adhered to the school's preference for historical convention in building design.

Roark goes to New York City and gets a job with Henry Ca
Apr 11, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Jun 16, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: previously-read
This is a very useful book. My partner and I use it as a litmus test for figuring out which of our acquaintances are driven or amused by selfishness, egotism and misogyny. Since it's also over 700 pages long and quite heavy, we occassionally use it to whack each other on the head whenever the other person is bullshitting or doing something excessively stupid.

In the summer, when drinking glasses get ridiculously sweaty, I like to use this as a coaster (I daresay the water and coffee rings give i
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was ok
I went over to the other side... & 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; its 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 ensem ...more
Aug 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Adita ✨The Slumbering Insomniac✨
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: You got the gumption?


My mind is blank. The Fountainhead is a saga. It had been a part of my day for six months, until today. All these days, I had so badly wanted it to be over, but today, now that it's over, I don't know why I should feel a great sense of loss. It is such a ginormous vacuum which is going to take a while to be filled with an equally good, if not better, mind-numbing piece of literature.

I had always wondered, while writing reviews, who the review should be addressed to- one who has
Dec 24, 2008 rated it liked it
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
Sep 18, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: philosophy, fiction
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
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
Apr 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
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. ...more
Feb 27, 2010 rated it did not like it
There's a certain kind of gentleman who comes to my reviews and says:


which is seriously what some dude led with just today, and I play a game with people like this; the game is, go to their profiles and find the five-star review of Ayn Rand. It's always there!* Ayn Rand is the patron saint of mansplainers.

Other things mansplainers are super into reading
- Tropic of Cancer
- Alan Moore

* To be honest today's dude didn't have her**, but he did have an "essential reading" shelf with The Bell
Aug 04, 2007 rated it did not like it
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
Riku Sayuj
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Skylar Burris
Dec 23, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
mark monday
Jun 15, 2011 rated it did not like it
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.
Nov 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Lit Bug
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who wants to be Happy
A wonderful book. Having read a lot of negative reviews, I was apprehensive about what this book might be like. But it has a very simple message to give - Set yourself free.

At the beginning, I found Roark and Dominique incomprehensible, somewhat unrealistic and improbable as characters. Someone we do not usually meet even once in the course of our entire lives. Towards the end of the novel, I realised, THAT IS THE POINT.

To be free, one must pay the steep price our culture, our world demands of u
dead letter office
Mar 27, 2008 rated it did not like it
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!"
J.G. Keely
May 26, 2007 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. ...more
Jan 12, 2008 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
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 not
Jun 22, 2017 rated it it was ok
The Fountainhead is not a great novel. Not philosophically, not literarily. The characters are unbelievable. The plot is at times entertaining but mostly boring and far-fetched, yet nauseatingly predictable. The dialogue is predominantly stilted. The vocabulary is monotonous. How many times must we read the word bromide?

There are some truths to be found: most people are made up of conglomerations of what they’ve heard from others. They let the words of others fill their heads and become their ow
Rosie Nguyễn
Apr 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A true masterpiece. Rich in details and philosophy, stunning in context and emotion. The novel reminds me of the purpose of living, of following the inside call, of not compromising with mediocre ways of living, but thriving for the excellent, for the best of human. It reminds me of my dreams, of the life I want but still not reach, of the ideal of my life and my battle for it. I need to fight, like Roak has fought, for the society that should be, for integrity, for creativity, for freedom, for ...more
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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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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“[Dean] “My dear fellow, who will let you?”

[Roark] “That’s not the point. The point is, who will stop me?”
“I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.” 2847 likes
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