The Fountainhead

The Fountainhead

Book - 1993
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Penguin Putnam
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 his worst enemy...and of the fanatic denunciation unleashed by an enraged society against a great creator. As fresh today as it was then, Rand’s provocative novel presents one of the most challenging ideas in all of fiction—that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress...

“A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly...This is the only novel of ideas written by an American woman that I can recall.”—The New York Times

Baker & Taylor
Originally published in 1943 and now available in a special centennial edition, this classic and controversial story of gifted architect Harold Roark, his struggle against conventional standards, and his violent love affair brilliantly addresses a number of universal themes. By the author of Atlas Shrugged. Reissue.

& Taylor

The story of a gifted architect, his struggle against conventional standards, and his violent love affair

Publisher: New York : Penguin Books, 1993, c1943
Edition: 50th anniversary ed
ISBN: 9780451191151
Characteristics: 704 p. ; 18 cm
Additional Contributors: Peikoff, Leonard


From the critics

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Oct 07, 2017

According to author, Ayn Rand (quote) "Selfishness is a virtue."

While reading The Fountainhead - Make it a point of keeping Rand's philosophy about selfishness firmly in mind. It'll certainly help you to understand more clearly WTF? she's ranting and raving about in this preposterous story about an architect's struggle not to conform and cave-in to a mob mentality.

Apr 20, 2016

I bought a copy of The Fountainhead at a used bookstore. At the time I had never even heard of Ayn Rand. After reading The Fountainhead I began searching for information about her and was surprised to find how prolific she was. Most people either love her or hate her; no middle ground. Rand has been much criticized for events in her personal life. Let me just say that if all philosophers were discredited on such grounds, there would be few who could withstand such scrutiny. Human beings aren't perfect. Rand's mistakes in her personal life do not detract from her brilliance. Her support of logic over emotion is just plain good sense. She encourages everyone to be self-sufficient and to base their decisions on reason rather than blindly accepting what others would tell you is right based on their own agenda. However, don't take my opinion or that of anyone else. Simply read the book for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Even if you don't agree with Rand's philosophy, the story is riveting. But I must say that the validity of her ideas is illustrated every night on the six o'clock news! Since reading this book I have viewed politics, philosophy, and human relations in an entirely new light.

Feb 16, 2016

A very interesting read. You can ignore Rand's philosophy and just focus on her amazing insights into society and the individual.

The story is riveting - one man at odds with society and rampant conformism.

Dec 31, 2015

My favorite book

Mar 20, 2013

For some reason, just reading the foreword reminds me of my own grandmother. Not sure yet if that's a good thing, but it's certain they've both survived a war and a rebellion and are as tough as nails.

Am looking forward to spending a month analyzing this.

Feb 05, 2013

"Objectivism": an invented word for the cult of selfishness.

Oct 30, 2012

If you think this book is horrible, I don't think you understand what Ayn is trying to portray. The quote about Roark when he explains to one of Heller's commisoner's about how the human body should not be built like an ostrich because there would be "no point." is exactly why our society today - is - where it is. Because we constantly feel that we need to entertain people, by buying the newest gadgets, or building huge night clubs; rather than small speak-easy's, or advertising new tooth pastes as 3-D whitening, when infact they do the exact same thing as the last toothpaste or dollar toothpastes. It talks about the neccessary and uneccessary. And it really speaks to me because I have Aspergers Syndrome, which I felt that dominique and I would get along really well because it talks about mathematics. See, mathematics should be understood by anybody. It's really just symbols that convey the neccesary. There's no need to even communicate verbally in this world, but we do it every day because we've been conditioned to do it from a certain point in our lives. However, the greeks always spoke through symbols or spoke only when they needed to convey something. It was in the Roman times when mediocrity was conveyd as beauty like the Forum of Rome. The forum of rome was literally just a posession of the emporer, and not of the people. Yet, the people had access to it. Why? It was uneccessary. They could have had a forum anywhere else in the city of Rome. Yet we continue to literally build things like expensive suits to impress... who? Expensive cars for... what? See what I'm getting at? What is the point? The purpose of your architecture? What are you building? For who? Why are you going to post-secondary? For philosophy? Can't you ask questions about your exsistence yourself? Why do you need a degree to tell people you understand a concept? Can't you open a book?

Sep 18, 2011

Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. The book feels like a 1000-page advertisement for objectivism, and why it's better than any other philosophy.

May 29, 2011

A must read!

Feb 03, 2011

What makes "The Fountainhead" such a remarkable book? Well, the theme of the story is creativity vs. mediocrity. For example, main character (protagonists) Howard Roak is talented architect. On the other hand, (antagonist) co-worker Peter Keating’s major talent is uncheck longevity getting away posing to be talented (or a professional architect). While the arrogance of Mr. Keating’s subconscious ID refuses to acknowledge Mr. Roak’s superior arcitechural geniuses, his surface conscious ego makes it plausible for him to steal or usurp the creative ideas of Mr. Roak. This is not uncommon in real life. A lot of humble thinkers are ripped-off daily by organizational “Empire Builders’” like Mr. Keating. They won’t hesitate to use non-creative cognitive energy to rip off defenseless thinkers, and this behavior goes on in a lot of organizational cultures. Mrs. Ayn Ryan O'Conner developed her objectivism philosophy based on the behaviors of these cultures. She contends that creative thinkers in a free market society have led to major improvements for human kind. Many have done this while working along side non-creative associates and colleagues who have no scruples about usurping the glory from the work of geniuses, especially those who know how to get away with cheating on exams, falsifying or inflating mediocre credentials, and landing high paid positions as a result of affiliations or political connections, etc. Mrs. O’Conner’s book will always stand the litmus test of genius vs. mediocrity in human creativity and workplace dynamics. Recommendation: read “Alas Shrugged,” and “We the Living,” also by Ms. Ayn Ryan O’Conner.

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Jul 09, 2016

mikeehan thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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Oct 30, 2012

nabilone thinks this title is suitable for All Ages

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rwh77 thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 15 and 17

rwh77 Jun 04, 2012

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Apr 28, 2010

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Add a Summary
Sep 27, 2013

The Fountainhead's protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand's various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author's ideal man of independent-mindedness and integrity, and what she described as the "second-handers". The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand's embodiment of what she believes should be the human spirit, and his struggle reflects Rand's personal belief that individualism should trump collectivism.


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Mar 18, 2012

"But I don't think of you [Ellsworth Toohey]." -Howard Roark


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