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The Fountainhead 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 550 reviews.
FocoProject More than 1 year ago
What amazes me about this book, is that a lot of people are under the impression that this is a book about architecture. I remember back in `96, when I was in architecture school and people found out about it, they would ask me if I had read The Fountainhead. I would tell them I hadn¿t and they would suggest that I read it, because it is ¿a book about architecture.¿

This book is NOT about architecture.

It deals with architects. It deals with buildings. It deals with the creation process and it meaning, but that very well could have been all substituted by a painter, or a director, or a freaking plumber. This book is beyond everything else a philosophical statement on what Ayn Rand calls Objectivism, pitted against Collectivism which is its antithesis. One one end you have the ego, and the egotist, which holds above everything else the self. True, honest and unwilling to dilute his/her ideas, the egotist, stands above the thoughts of the mob, which is too simple to understand. This is Howard Roark, the genius who is calmly driven by his own confidence and morality, without need of religion and without need of assurance from his peers. On the other hand you have the man that will sacrifice the self, for the masses, the `humanitarian¿, the one Ayn Rand calls through her characters, the second-handers. These are the people that live to please the masses, that sacrifice self-worth in exchange for the praise that comes with making others happy. And of these, there are many in this book.

It is an interesting point of view, in my opinion too idealistic and extremely black and white to ever fully function in society, but the argument she makes is interesting nonetheless.

The book as a whole, philosophies aside, is interesting, even if it deals with architecture and most of the people have very little background in the subject. However, because of the philosophy that has been injected into the material, the dialogue tends to get on the heavy side, and some of the characters seem a bit too extreme to seem real. As a result, this is not the type of book that one becomes a part of, but rather one that we can see unfold in a rather voyeuristic sense. There is nothing particularly wrong with that, but its simply a different approach.

Though I do not agree with the idea of objectivism, and I fail to see the world in the way this book describes, there is a lot of good points raised, a lot of material that brings up for interesting thought and conversation if you are into discussing philosphy. But you do not have to agree with the book to appreciate it for its fine quality, its intricate plot, its very fleshed out characters and twists which one never quite sees coming.

This is a heavy, intelligent read and one that requires a bit more of an investment from the reader, where nothing is quite left in the surface and written out over 727 pages in small print. If you pick up this book, expect to put time into getting through it. I personally am not a fast reader, so it took me a while¿but the content and the story are intriguing that one never quite feels like it is dragging.
Chrissie11 More than 1 year ago
Anyone that has read Ayn Rand's fiction is familiar with her complex character development, her intelligent plot progression, and her unique and captivating philosophies. The Fountainhead falls seamlessly in line with the other fantastic works in Rand's impressive collection. I was intimidated when I first began this book. Rand's other pieces have shown great depth of understanding and contain abstract, advanced concepts on politics, society, and mankind itself. However, everything that I had read had been reasonably short, like her novel Anthem, which is around one hundred and fifty pages, or her 120 page long play, Night of January 16th. It is a story of a man that will not give up his self to the common way of thinking. He holds firm to his daring and controversial ideas in spite of those who strive to break him. Howard Roark, the hero of The Fountainhead, is a bold, intelligent architect with unfailing integrity. He meets one obstacle after another as he tries to build in a society that glorifies classical architectural forms and refuses to accept Roark's modern and innovative designs. Peter Keating is Roark's past colleague who gives up everything that makes up his spirit in order to gain success in the competitive world of architecture. He hates Roark for his integrity and honorable, unfailing ideals. Dominique Francon is the stunning, fascinating, intelligent daughter of a prestigious architect, who falls terribly in love with Howard Roark, but tries to tear down his career and marries his enemy. A vast number of people work to sabotage Roark's career, but find that he will not yield. The Fountainhead is a beautiful tribute to the spirit of man. Rand depicts the courage that must be had in order for a man to cleave to his innate ego and power and portrays how inspiring that strength can be. I think her concept is magnificent; - that people are willing to succumb to the popular opinion or the accepted norm and give up their true selves, their souls (in a secular sense) to simply obtain recognition. Her flawless and intricate writing adds to the depth of her story and philosophy. This is a book that takes reflection and a willingness to search for understanding, but the reward will surely justify the effort.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Rand's writing is captivating and intelligent. The character development is wonderful, and I was unable to put the book down. I have recommended The Fountainhead to multiple friends and to my book club with rave reviews from anyone who's read it. It is an important addition to anyone's personal library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There not enough words to praise this book...a masterpeice. A must read.
SHAE-D More than 1 year ago
Ayn Rand is one of the most intelligent authors i've ever know of. Her books are not only well written, but enjoyable too. Fountainhead is intellecually stimulating and will keep you thinking. You may even have to read it twice! It's really not about architecture at all, but the concept that man's self centered mental stability is the fountainhead of life and how decisive they are. If you are looking for something to make you smarter.... this is it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand was a very complex book. It covers many ideas, such as the manipulation of the human psyche, and the nature of the imagination. The story is about a controversial architect named Howard Roark, who is shunned by many people for his radical ideas. It features a variety of characters, such as Peter Keating, an ambitious architect, Ellsworth Toohey, a manipulator of men, and Gail Wynand, the owner of a multi-million dollar news corporation. The Fountainhead explores the media and how it is influenced by its owners and writers. It also has a large focus on altruism, especially towards the end of the book. Rand basically says that altruism is simply a facade for men to appear benevolent. The ignorance of mankind and its shunning of new ideas is a major theme of this book. I did not really enjoy The Fountainhead for a variety of reasons. One of the numerous things that I did not like about Rand¿s book was the way in which she describes her characters. They are very flat and static. For example, the main character, Roark, is not very believable as a person as he does not show any emotion or seem to care about anything. Another reason is Rand¿s writing style. It is much too flat and monotonous for me. Although she makes good use of imagery, the book is lacking in fluidity and other literary techniques, such as metaphors. In conclusion, The Fountainhead¿s underlying messages were good, but the way in which they were transmitted onto the page were not as well done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first Ayn Rand book and I was a bit worried that there would be too much lecture and not enough story. Well the story line is excellent and the character development superb. I felt all sorts of feelings and the story did challenge me to look at societal dynamics. I would highly recommend this book to anyone willing to think and challenge him/herself. It was a very enjoyable book, I look forward to reading more of Ayn Rand's work.
LiterateMan More than 1 year ago
Ayn Rand has written a novel that is also a warning to future generations. While her expression of her personal phylosophy may not resonate with everyone, we can all understand her assertion that man, or women, should not begin life under the blanket of mediocrity. Her characters show individuals who celebrate their own abilities and demand nothing from others except respect for that ability. The story takes us on a journey where we are not really sure where it will end but with an ending that does not surprise the reader. Ms. Rand's style does not lend itself well to casual dialogue between her characters so they sometimes come off a bit contrived, but althentic nonetheless. This is not a book for anyone looking to spend a quiet afternoon with simple, light fare. it is a story for those who wish to stimulate their intellect.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
In light of this being not just a magnificently written literary work, but a POWERFULLY influential philosophical work above all, I truly can’t recommend The Fountainhead highly enough! Should you wisely choose to read it with an intellectually receptive mind without ramparts guarding your treasured virtues, this will quite surely be a life advancer. It glorifies self-sufficiency, individualism, and living a life fundamentally founded on personal objectives, relatively indifferent to the praise or disparagement of others and fueled by nothing but a self-perpetuating flame thats a reason of its own. It’s deciding to become a psychologist because the human mind leaves you insatiably fascinated (an end unto itself), surmounting the secondary reality that what you’ll technically be doing for a living is greatly helping people (which is quite awesome too). Be ready to inspect the foundation that your current beliefs rest on, and with that preliminary in place, just start reading and let this masterpiece help you find any cracks in your philosophical pavement, P.S. - try not to be too bewildered should you find any, whether they're barely discernible cracks, or gaping holes that need filling.
LivetoGeek More than 1 year ago
Part of the appeal of ebooks was that they where supposed to be more economically, 27.99 is definitely not part of the reason why i bought my nook. Like with the ebook version of atlas shrugged, you will get more bang for your buck buying the actual book version, at a ridiculously low price of about, 9.99$-- and still have left over for another copy! How or why anyone would think that buying this ebook at almost 3 times the price of the paperback is a good investment, is beyond me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Fountainhead is a character study of people with and without integrity. The hero is uncompromising in his approach to others as well as to himself. The "villain" is one whose sole purpose in life is to manipulate others into compromising their integrity. The other characters are gradients along the line of integrity. I chose this book because I had read Atlas Shrugged by the same author and found that the issues it addressed were as relevant to this time as it was when it was written. I hoped for more of the same from The Fountainhead. While it was worth the read, I enjoyed Atlas Shrugged more.
Alera on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is by far one of my favorite reading experiences to date. The material was provoking, evocative, intelligent, and philosophical. Above all else within this novel is packaged a wonderful story with characters, while archetypes, that manage to feel truly tangible. The Fountainhead is the story of a man fighting for what he believes in. But above that, it's the story of every man who has ever gone against the status quo. It's a story not for the revolutionaries, but for that first man who sparked the change, whatever that change may be. It's an utterly fascinating work of literature and something I believe everyone should read at least once.
Cecilturtle on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A novel as epic as the architecture it describes! Rand spares the reader no detail as to the life and times of her characters. Drawn into a world of movement and manipulation, the reader discovers the motivations, aspirations and weaknesses of the various characters, each representing Rand's philosophical perceptions of world: the followers and power mongers will fail while the earnest and strong will win. This now defunct view still stands in its historical context and provides an interesting backdrop on thinking's evolution. Rand's symbols are obvious, but solid and consistent. Her rants and preachy dissertations at the end, however, do make the novel unnecessarily long - if the reader hasn't understood her meaning by then, there is no hope! Dominique and Roark's relationship also bothered me: I'm not sure how dominance and power play reinforce Rand's message; surely as soul-mates, these violent games were a bit far-fetched.Overall a compelling political novel which will stay with me for a long time.
jayduhon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Excellent book portraying Ayn Rand's ideas on individualism versus collectivism. Other reviewers have characterized her character dialogue as "leading the reader by the hand", but as a philosophical book, I found it quite helpful. Howard Roark, as the ideal man, still has emotional issues I have disagreement with, but overall the concept of individual effort trumping collective compromise is one worthy of exploration.
starkravingmad on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Among the best books ever written.
ftorralba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the most influential books I will ever read. Highly recommended to everyone. It has profoundly influenced how I think about the motivations for my actions. Do I do things because of the happiness or usefulness that they bring to myself, or because of the reactions of others? Rand's definition of selfishness, and her praise of it, struck me like a ton of bricks. A selfish person, Rand says, is a self-sufficient ego. The opposite is a "second hander."
gbill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I admire Rand as a philosopher and The Fountainhead certainly made me think, though I had read Atlas Shrugged previous to it and the themes were by and large the same. Her views include the importance of the individual over the collective, the denial of self-sacrifice as an ideal, the need for the superior man to be free from convention innovating to advance humanity, the unrecognized debt humanity has to superior men, etc. Rand's "true virtues" : reason, competence, innovation, achievement, independence, perseverance, not wavering or compromising, and being brutally honest to oneself and to others.You get the idea. As a novelist, Rand is average. Her characters are caricatures - the positions they take are stilted to an extreme, and their actions and dialogue are sometimes laughable. She also comes across as preachy; the plot is a vehicle to deliver her philosophy, and if one doesn't agree with that philosophy, I imagine these would be long, painful books.The 1949 movie with Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal is worth seeing if you're a fan of this book.
thompschomps on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised at how into this book I got. It reads well and the characters are believable in relation to her philosophy. Howard Roark is one of my new literary heroes. She brings up many obvious truths that are often hard to detect in real life, although I'm not sure I completely agree with her philosophy. Definitely makes you think differently. I am excited to read her other books and learn more about it.
dakobstah on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the greatest works of American literature in the twentieth century. This book has a wonderful plot, larger-than-life characters, an epic struggle, powerful romance, and yet still retains a level of realism and relevance to daily life. In essence it is about an idealistic young man named Howard Roark who seeks to live life by his own rules and refuses to compromise his life's work (architecture) to those who have no principles or morals. Roark is the strong, independent, and moral hero that many Americans idolize, yet his moral system is a bit different from the mainstream (Roark, like Rand, is an atheist). Those who might be tempted to avoid the novel because they think they might disagree with the underlying philosophy or because they have heard rumors about Ayn Rand are truly missing out.
atomheart on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
maybe, the greatest book ever written...
GaryPatella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of the two works by Rand that is worth reading. I really liked the characters and the story. The message is pretty clear. I would say to read this, wait two or three years, and then read Atlas Shrugged. Why the two or three year wait? Simply put, the message is the same in all of Rand's works. Reading one after the other would be too monotonous.
DenzilPugh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I honestly don't know where to begin with this one. I've been putting it off for some time. I would go so far as to say I've been experiencing writer's block, all because I've wanted to write about this book, but felt so not up to doing so. It is simply one of the finest works of literature I have ever read. From the preface of the novel, Rand blasts the current condition of "throw-away" novels, books that are disposable and honestly forgettable. I've read many books such as this, and they are stacked on my bookshelves, as if they were some treasure to which I would gleam some future knowledge. She goes further to say that most books now lack the permanence of the 19th century Romantic novel. And this is exactly what I would compare The Fountainhead with. It brings the images of Frankenstein standing resolutely at the North Pole, or Friedrich's Traveler painting and thrusts them into the 20th century. In an earlier post, I talked about the conversation I had with Dr. Pepetone on whether Romanticism was inherently a Conservative movement or not. Of course, this was the beginnings of the thought processes that would turn Romanticism, with those bold characters that would shun society for individual values, to the Political idea of Libertarianism. And this is what Ayn Rand's books have been known for today, namely, being the cornerstone of Libertarian thought. I have wondered, since reading this amazing book, why it was never included in the courses I took on Romanticism and the Byronic hero, since Rourke is one of the best examples of that model in the 20th century. Further, Rourke brings the ideas of Capitalism and Anti-societal thought (marching to the beat of your own drum) together to show why Social Progressiveness is bringing about the downfall of human drive and magnificence. Only once, in the recent past, has society come together to achieve a goal that would truly be considered magnificent. The Moonshot that happened 40 years ago, landing man on the Moon. But I digress. I want to talk about the book itself, not the philosophies behind it. Roarke, and Francone, and the other Protagonists are as finely constructed as the architecture that Roarke builds. In fact, for the most part, every character is molded and shaped as if by an artist skilled in her work like no other. I've never actually read descriptions of characters, as they are usually done poorly. But Rand paints visages that are unique and instantly form on the mind's eye. The descriptions of the settings are likewise, painted with words as eloquent and austere as a slash of a artist's brush would instantly create a world to explore. Each word is essential, every syllable needed to create the world that Roarke lives in. The buildings and even the natural settings become intricate characters in the story. And the love story....ahhh.... it is the best romance (small r) novel I have read, with strength and passion, deception, banter, everything that a master romance novelist would need, except, in this case, you don't just donate it to Goodwill afterward, you keep it on your shelf and read it over and over. It is Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights written a century later, with the repressed passions and the flashes of desire and lust springing forth. It is truly a work that exalts the human spirit, and makes Pope's declaration of studying man all the more true, as the potential of what man can do on this Earth should shine as brightly now as ever before, and not sink into the mire of Reality Television and the uncaring world of people I see everyday. It's just not fair. People should be better than that. The Fountainhead is a love story about what it means to be human, to shine in all our glory, to the unlimitless potential that we have going forward. I say this because after reading Rand's book, I saw Star Trek, and read Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. Both deserve blogs in their own time, but suffice it to say that these examples of the unconquerable human spirit
Tpoi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Awful book. And this is And Rand's best. Long pedantic speeches plugged in as character dialogue, preachy, obvious. There is some interesting quality to the main character, you can identify with him in spite of the preachiness and wordiness, but not enough to save the book. I wonder if the movie kept that interesting quality and ditched the preachy bits?
ncnsstnt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rand's hero, Howard Roark, is an architect that creates buildings using simple lines, doesn't copy anyone's or any time period's style, and never adds a single element that doesn't absolutely need to be in the building to serve a function. The other architects in the book, the bad guys like Peter Keating, always either carbon copy other styles or add superfluous ornamentation to their buildings. If Rand had written her book more like Roark and less like Keating then it may well have been a great book. This 680 page book could have been about half as long and packed twice the punch. Rand spends too much time illustrating her character's integrity or lack thereof. She frustrated this reader by continuing to hammer home points about her characters long after she had sufficiently illustrated these points. As a novel The Fountainhead is merely so-so. Some of the character's motivations are implausible and many of the book's premises are downright unbelievable. But, ok, Rand was using this novel to platform her philosophy. I cannot help but think that her point would have been better served by a (much) shorter essay. She claims to be speaking to people of intelligence but yet treats her audience as dullards who didn't get her point the first 7 times around.
PiyushC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A decent piece of fiction but I can not tag it as a philosophical book (which some people claim it is!). Her ideas of individualism and objectivism are old and quite obvious! The characters are well sketched and are quite interesting, but I did feel that they lack reality and were on the other side of extreme, each one of them! The only reason I can think of her getting so much attention and acclaim is because she was a Russian who hailed Capitalism.In a nutshell, worth a read, but not the masterpiece you may have heard it being referred to as!