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The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead (1943)

by Ayn Rand

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,320188141 (3.92)247
  1. 103
    Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (bigtent21, thebookpile)
    bigtent21: "Atlas Shrugged" and "The Fountainhead" are becoming more relevant as we head into 2009. Large Government Buyouts and Regulation are the scourge of Atlas Shrugged and the outright sponsoring of mediocrity predominates The Fountainhead. Rand can be long-winded, but these two books are must reads regardless of your own personal beliefs.… (more)
  2. 31
    Essays on Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead by Robert Mayhew (mcaution)
    mcaution: Gain a deeper understanding and appreciation on the classic novel from this collection of scholarly criticism.
  3. 32
    Anthem by Ayn Rand (Voracious_Reader)
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    Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (SunnySD)
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    Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland (Alixtii)
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    The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham (edwinbcn)
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    Triangle: The Fire that Changed America by David Von Drehle (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: The real world results of libertarianism.
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    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Voracious_Reader)

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» See also 247 mentions

English (179)  Hebrew (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (185)
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
I never feel really comfortable reviewing classics, books that have been studied by doctorites and were published twice as long ago as I have been alive. So I will share with you what I did and did not like about this book.

I love the way Ayn Rand writes. She writes in a way that I have never seen before, the way she describes emotions, or the lack of them surprises and delights me every time. I love the characters in this book, I know Howard Roark is not supposed to be a loved character but I can't help it. There is something enticing about someone who knows exactly who he is and what he wants in his life and stands up for it.

I hate Dominique, she annoys the crap out of me. I think it is the way she can't stand for what she wants, she has to go about destroying it instead. I am well aware of the undertones, political and social, but I just don't understand them, so these point of views are mine just on the book, as it is.

Nothing in the world can stop me from reading more of Ayn Rand's books. ( )
  mojo09226 | Nov 12, 2015 |
An epic love story between the most selfish, self-centered, egotistical people in the world and their own bloated senses of superiority.

Howard Roark is essentially Holden Caulfield grown up: an arrogant, misanthropic, "fuck expanding my horizons because I already know it all," "fuck everyone else because they aren't me," douche-monkey.

Domanique Falcon seems to be a flaccid author avatar of the conservative mortal-goddess Ayn Rand. She's a cardboard cutout of a human - seemingly an android masquerading as a human - and completely devoid of any real or even seemingly genuine emotion beyond a corrupt fixation on the only other human as incapable of the intimation of affection as herself.

Gail Wynand appears to be a conflation of the infamous newspaper tycoons of the early twentieth century such as Hearst and Rockefeller. All he seems to care about (until meeting the married Falcone) is his ability to create and destroy whomever and whatever he so chooses.

And finally, an attempted pseudo-contrast to the contemptibility of these "heroes" of free-enterprise and industrial libertarianism is Peter Keating.

Peter Keating is a boring, flat, facsimile of what Ayn Rand considers the average person.

All in all, the story as a whole is enjoyable, as would be a biography of Lex Luthor, though there's no Clark Kent to truly stand in contrast to the foulness, nor is there a Lois Lane to at least distract us. ( )
1 vote benuathanasia | Sep 10, 2015 |
Love it!!! What an amazing intellect Ayn Rand has..
I don't necessarily share all the character's principles, but
that doesn't me from appreciating the wholeness of his character..his
self-sufficient person.. ( )
  smiley0905 | Sep 3, 2015 |
this is the first time i've read this (and i think it's my 5th reading) that i didn't find it almost perfect. it seemed to me, this time, that there were a lot more "mistakes" made in her writing. things that seem small, like using the word regretfully when probably roark would never feel that way or she has him or dominique or gail answer a question that they would never answer, but it moves the scene forward to do it. but if you believe what she tells you about man's purpose and man's perfection, then these aren't small things at all. it's also the first time i've read this that i haven't felt like she was telling me that i am peter keating. (and not because of what happens with lucius heyer; i've always felt that even that could be anyone, could be me. and not because of the attempt at redemption, which i tend to forget, but which makes him such a great character, perfectly written.) i think it was because the book as a whole just resonated with me less this time around. it's the first time i've read this that her reprehensible ideas bothered me and got in the way of the story and the characters. i've always disagreed with most of what she says and thinks and stands for - really with everything except being true to yourself - but have always loved this book anyway, for all the other things that it has in it and that it gives. it was harder for me this time.

i still very much enjoyed it. i still think this is very very well written, but not as close to perfect as i once did. (and not in the way i usually mean when i say well written; it's precise and studied, not lyrical and beautiful.) i think the rape is a bigger problem than i ever did before; not just that it happened but how it's discussed when it is (there are just a couple of mentions) and how dominique feels about it. it's so weird because it's so obviously a rape but also exactly what she wanted, and so then not a rape. it's problematic on a number of levels and it takes something away from the rest of the book every time i read it.

the speech roark makes about taxes and the relative value of men is pretty awful and somehow never bothered me before. toohey actually makes a similar point about valuing men, and they couldn't be more opposite (and he couldn't be more evil a character). i had a harder time ignoring this kind of political talk this time around, and it got in the way of my being able to see the characters the way she wanted the reader to see them. while i was far more annoyed by her pro-capitalism speech and the anti-helping people and no tax view she takes, i am still impressed that i can disagree so vehemently with her philosophy and her view of life, and still like this book as much as i do, but i certainly liked it less this time than the other times i've read it.

and i can't believe that the opening paragraph that i've read upwards of 10 times can be read as being all about sex and i'd never noticed that before.

also. so she has this anti-socialist rant - really, it's her main point throughout - about how people aren't of equal value but only worth what they contribute (this ties into her issue with taxes) in a capitalistic way, but she completely assumes that everyone has the same starting position to be able to contribute what they want or can. she fled communism in the ussr but clearly internalized part of that system, as she's basing her idea of capitalism on a communist foundation that just doesn't work. it entirely ignores the reality of privilege, which, once you acknowledge, makes everything she says an impossibility. also she's only talking to white men, and anyone else isn't even considered.

but. i do take something valuable from her talk about selfishness and selflessness. the argument that doing something you believe in and care about or just want to do shouldn't be done because it's selfish is taken to an extreme in this book, but it's a point well made and one worth listening to, i think. almost everything ayn rand stands for is the opposite of what i believe in, but there are still things to take from this book, and lots to make you think. i can't hold it in quite as high esteem as i have in the past, but i still think it's quite something, and i am already interested in seeing if i'll like it even less next time, or if it'll be back as a favorite and that this reading was the anomaly.

"Peter Keating had never felt the need to formulate abstract conditions. But he had a working substitute. 'A thing is not high if one can reach it; it is not great if one can reason about it; it is not deep if one can see its bottom' - this had always been his credo, unstated and unquestioned. This spared him any attempt to reach, reason or see; and it cast a nice reflection of scorn on those who made the attempt."

4 stars

from oct 2009:

is there anything better than coming back to your favorite book and finding it as glorious as you remember?

i try to read often and a lot and i've never come across a book i love better. (although there is a book i love equally.)

what strikes me every time i read this book is how much i don't agree with her actual point (or some of them) but how much i can still take away. also, how derisive she is toward me, and how i love to take it from her.

some people say that this is a book to be read when you're young (late teens/early twenties) when you can truly embrace it, and that returning to it (or reading it later in the first place) you will see your folly. i think i first read this book when i was 21, and i loved it. this is my 4th read of the book and now that i'm 32, i still love it. i speculate that the reason that most young people love this book at first, and then find it horrifying, is as follows:

rand claims through howard roark, the book's hero, that the only way to live is by being true to yourself. through the book she shows how difficult it is to do that in this world. (but she is clear that there is no excuse in not living for yourself and yourself only.) not succumbing to other's opinions, views, critiques, etc, and doing what you need to do to live the way you believe in, creating that which you want to, in the way that you want to. it's a struggle, and you're always fighting the other people, most beautifully shown in the character of peter keating, who i have always thought is probably the best written character in literature. throughout the book she gives the reader tastes of her philosophy, which is pretty objectionable in practice, but i don't think this is the problem people have with it. i think that people read this book and love it because they think that they are noble, like howard roark. they're young and they believe that they will never compromise their selves and they love the heroism in themselves that rand says they thereby have. but then they reread this book 10 years later and realize that they aren't howard roark in the end. they've compromised, they care about other people's opinions, views, esteem. in order to continue to feel good about themselves, they have to believe that howard roark is no hero after all, and then what's the point of this book anyway, and they think that it's not nearly as good as it was at that first read. and maybe by devaluing this character and this book, they can re-value themselves.

i've known from the beginning that i was no howard roark. i recognized that the vast majority of readers of this novel, including me, are peter keating. while that's completely contemptible, it's realistic. i can only hope that i never reach the depths that keating does, but i also know that i will never be roark. reading as a story, the characters toohey and wynand may seem like hyperboles of a character (but we know that roark and dominique are never that) but peter keating never could feel that way. he is so purely written. he is everyone. i read this for the first time, and every time since, knowing that peter keating is simply awful, and that i am peter keating. and that if ayn rand had the capacity to think about anyone other than those that were worth thinking about (her roark and her dominique), that she would revile me for it, but that because i'm peter keating, she'd never give me any thought at all.

that said, there is a lot about roark that i'm perfectly satisfied not being. (a rapist is one of those things. i've never been able to wrap my head around that part of this book, although i came closest during this reading. i'm still disappointed and wish she wrote that differently.)

one thing i will always take away from this book (and that blew my mind when i first read it) was the power of the media. i always find myself thinking about ellsworth toohey and the power the people in the media have to shape public opinion and direct where money is syphoned in our society.

i obviously don't agree with her opinions of social work (and let's be honest, capitalism or socialism) and people who do help others. (although i absolutely agree that there's no such thing as altruism.) i've never been totally satisfied with the ending of this book (maybe the last 4 or so out of the 700 pages) and the way she wraps thing up. my point is that you don't have to agree with ayn rand's philosophy or every dramatic point to appreciate this book. i'm stunned that english is not her first language, because this book is written with such precision. and barring any feeling about the statements that she makes, this is a compelling story with characters that completely suck you in. (i mean come on, how is this not an amazing beginning: "Howard Roark laughed. [P] He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone -- flowing." i typed that and am compelled to start the book over again, to just keep reading. i love the way she starts this book.)

and it's worth saying that although one of her points is how lacking self we all are, another of her points is also how much she esteems the human being and how great she knows we can be.

i have so much to say about this book and much of it is disjointed....i guess i'll let her say the rest:

in her introduction:

"It is not in the nature of man - nor of any living entity - to start out by giving up, by spitting in one's own face and damning existence; that requires a process of corruption whose rapidity differs from man to man. Some give it up at the first touch of pressure; some sell out; some run down by imperceptible degrees and lose their fire, never knowing when or how they lost it. Then all of these vanish in the vast swamp of their elders who tell them persistently that maturity consists of abandoning one's mind; security, of abandoning one's values; practicality, of losing self-esteem. Yet a few hold on and move on, knowing that that fire is not to be betrayed, learning how to give it shape, purpose and reality. But whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential....It does not matter that only a few in each generation will grasp and achieve the full reality of man's proper stature--and that the rest will betray it. It is those few that move the world and give life it's meaning--and it is those few that I have always sought to address. The rest are of no concern of mine; it is not me or The Fountainhead that they will betray: it is their own souls."

and in the book:

"They stood silently before each other for a moment, and she thought that the most beautiful words were those which were not needed."

"'It's said that the worst thing one can do to a man is to kill his self-respect. But that's not true. Self-respect is something that can't be killed. The worst thing is to kill a man's pretense at it.'"

"'...a quest for self-respect is proof of its lack.'"

"'What you feel in the presence of a thing you admire is just one word - 'Yes.' The affirmation, the acceptance, the sign of admittance. And that 'Yes' is more than an answer to one thing, it's a kind of 'Amen' to life, to the earth that holds this thing, to the thought that created it, to yourself for being able to see it.'"

5 stars ( )
  elisa.saphier | Aug 29, 2015 |
Se Rand se tivesse ficado pela sua exímia capacidade de conceber literatura de aeroporto digna de elogio por tal vertente, teria dois pares de estreluscas para atribuir à obra.
No entanto, a fluente narrativa cativante da ávida curiosidade de gare não exisitiria se Rand não precisasse de um veículo eficiente para propagar as suas ideias.
Ora, a natureza das ideias que pretende propagar é de tal modo primária e até ingénua que arrasta tais defeitos para a concepção das próprias personagens. Assim arruinando aquilo que, reitere-se, poderia ser excelente literatura de aeroporto.

Tudo isto se poderia resumir a um livro hypeziado por um certo grupo de gente meio ingénuo. Mas alguma desta gente é também perigosa. A factura começou a pagar-se há pouco tempo e ninguém sabe bem quanto há ainda por pagar e, ainda menos, quando se acabará de saldar a conta. Sobretudo se gente como Alan Greenspan é havida por semi-santificada depois de ter activamente construído a neo-ruína sem qualquer tipo de efectiva sanção.
( )
  Ritinha_ | Aug 26, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 179 (next | show all)
[Miss Rand] has written a hymn in praise of the individual and has said things worth saying in these days. Whether her antithesis between altruism and selfishness is logically correct or not, she has written a powerful indictment.

» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rand, Aynprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peikoff, LeonardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Rheenen, JanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Whatever their future, at the dawn of their lives, men seek a noble vision of man's nature and of life's potential." _____Ayn Rand
To Frank O'Connor
First words
Howard Roark laughed.
To say "I love you" one must first be able to say the "I".
"If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away" ---Victor Hugo.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (4)

Book description
Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is the story of Howard Roark, a man who stands up for his principles in a world where they are not valued. He pays the price for it, with his rivals like Peter Keating getting ahead. But he runs his own race, because the race everyone else runs is one filled with compromise and without integrity. He falls in love with a woman, whom he must first teach to live in a world like this. He stands tall, alone, and shows us the essence of individualism.
Haiku summary
The selfless man is/acting as his own builder/and as destroyer (missteacher)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451191153, Mass Market Paperback)

The Fountainhead has become an enduring piece of literature, more popular now than when published in 1943. On the surface, it is a story of one man, Howard Roark, and his struggles as an architect in the face of a successful rival, Peter Keating, and a newspaper columnist, Ellsworth Toohey. But the book addresses a number of universal themes: the strength of the individual, the tug between good and evil, the threat of fascism. The confrontation of those themes, along with the amazing stroke of Rand's writing, combine to give this book its enduring influence.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:44 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Here is the story of an intransigent young architect, Howard Roark, of his violent battle against a mindless status quo, and of his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who worships him yet struggles to defeat him. In order to build his kind of buildings according to his own standards, Roark must fight against every variant of human corruption.… (more)

» see all 14 descriptions

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