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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it yourself
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...
Published on April 3 2001 by Tracy G. Fitzgerald

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2.0 out of 5 stars Selfishness above all?
The thinker of selfishness as a virtue has written a few novels which illustrate her competitive vision of society. This novel is a cult, which tells much on the contemporary era.
I thought I would like the book anyway as an important piece of modern literature...Unfortunately, the dry writing style and cold characters have been a deception.
As an inspiraton...
Published 4 months ago by Bookworm


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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it yourself, April 3 2001
This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Probably the Better of Rand's Two Epics, June 5 2011
By 
Bart Breen "Bart Breen" (Sterling, VA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
Of course, this is more than a novel. This is Ayn Rand's attempt to use the vehicle of fiction to present her philosophy of objectivism. In addition, she used another epic type novel, Atlas Shrugged.

In terms of literary value, there is a lot to be desired in this novel. It is long. It rambles in places. It could have used a great deal of editing and rewriting to make it tight and the characters at times seem shallow and are revealed for the literary vehicles they obviously are to make her point.

Why give it 4 stars then?

Because this book has succeeded in what it set out to do. It has stood the test of recent time and grown in popularity. It has had a profound impact in philosophy, politics and simple human values and as such it can be said to truly be a classic.

Lest you think that means that I'm a huge fan of the message of the book, I am not necessarily.

You have to put the book into context however.

Ayn Rand grew up in Soviet Russia and viewed the impact of collectivism and the impact that it had upon the individual when society's needs were elevated above opportunity for the individual to rise and shine. She chafed and wrestled against it.

Introduced to the US and capitalism, she swung in rebellion to her upbringing and sought to elevate selfishness to a virtue which was to be encouraged and allowed with minimal restraint and influence from "Big Brother."

The Fountainhead, in my opinion is better than Atlas Shrugged, because here Rand achieves a more personable protagonist in which there is a sense of idenitification and sympathy. In that context, her philosophy takes on a rosier glow and seems more inviting and palatable

Of course, ultimately, for me as well as many others, this philosophy breaks down. As others note, the presentation breaks down in many areas. There are no children, no dirty diapers, human emotions are kept in check to logic. This is what I have found with objectivism as well when I flirted with it. The constraints against abuse are artificial and rest too deeply in an idealism that itself doesn't pass the reality test for me.

It does a wonderful job though of demonstrating the folly of the opposite extreme, that Rand saw in Russia and her evaluation of that system and its viability in the long term has been borne out by history.

That's why I like and recommend the book. You don't have to agree with it to benefit from reading it. It has driven me more to the middle rejecting either extreme. That wasn't Rand's goal. But she did a good job presenting her case and I felt able to make some choices and evaluations. I was affected and that is the measure of a good book.

The success of a book isn't necessarily in garnering your support and agreement. If it presents its case well enough that you can form an independent opinion and grow for the experience of reading it, then it is valuable whether you adopt objectivism or not.

Read it. Enjoy it. Learn from it. Interact with it.

It's a gripping read in the realm of thought, even if literarily it falls a little flat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars valley of skyscrapers, Oct. 25 2000
By 
bob (hayward california) - See all my reviews
I am a 30 year old architect. I read fountainhead for the juicy details of big time architecture. Rand wrote a story that is both bigger than life and true to life. She was a voracious researcher and a highly imaginative writer.
Art imitates life in Fountainhead, in glorified fashion. I can attest from personal experience that a career in architecture does indeed include elements such as school rivalries, office politics, insecurities, megalomania, long hours designing, critiques, skyscrapers, mansions, engineers, contractors, tradesmen, and wealthy clients.
There is mediocrity in American architecture, and there was a modernistic movement in the early twentieth century. Rand abridged it for her story. The lives of her magnified characters are entangled in destiny. This could never happen in real life, could it?
Many scenes are so confident and gritty I cannot forget them. Also, her building descriptions are vivid and beautiful.
As you can tell, I needed some extra excitement in my 9 to 5. I thank Rand for the greatest American story about architects that I know of.
Only, I wish she would have finished it.
I have a big problem with the last third of the book. A misplaced dialectic of philosophy cuts into her ending. The ending is missing something. If only Rand would have kept her artistry and philosophy more separated.
Thus, as is, Fountainhead ultimately is not literature to me, but propaganda. And every person should be wary of propaganda. The message of this story is not universal. It is a mistake for young readers to imitate Rand's protagonist.
Roark is the most wooden hero. He is a robot programmed to design masterpieces. A puppet in a book, not to be confused with a real life fountainhead.
Instead of anthropormizing Roark, look for real life leaders who struggle and ultimately change our world. I know I'm just a regular architect. If I was a fountainhead, I would know it. Don't be a player hater.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Fountainhead, April 23 2014
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This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
I could not stop my reading,One of the best book,and any person who like to read would think as I do.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Goos Read, April 18 2014
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This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
Ayn Rand is a wonderful author. Deceased now, her work lives on in The Fountainhead. With a large vocabulary the Fountainhead encourages readers to know what fastidious and impervious and other larger words mean.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Selfishness above all?, Feb. 26 2014
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The thinker of selfishness as a virtue has written a few novels which illustrate her competitive vision of society. This novel is a cult, which tells much on the contemporary era.
I thought I would like the book anyway as an important piece of modern literature...Unfortunately, the dry writing style and cold characters have been a deception.
As an inspiraton for the self and self-achievement, I recommend norse mythology and the nordic idea of the "Wyrd" (Destiny) as something we are partly responsible for.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, Feb. 4 2014
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This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
Read this years ago but wanted to again, very long and may be a bit tedious for some but its a classic everyone should at least try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and Captivating, Dec 18 2013
This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
I read this book about 15 years ago and forgot that I read it but realized that the characters and the story are familiar. It was a book that I wanted to finish reading. I made sure that I read from the book daily until it was completed because the story is engrossing, the characters are real and the time that the book was written in translates well into the story, it was a depressing time and fits well in to todays culture. It is a book that makes you think about things long after you are done reading. I highly recommend this book and am looking forward to reading Atlas Shrugged.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An enduring classic, July 27 2013
By 
Diana E. Young "Diana Young" (Vernon, B.C., Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
This enduring classic was written in 1943 – now 70 years later Ayn Rand's philosophy against collectivism is as true today. Ayn Rand was a great literary novelist and philosopher, who shared her point of view through fiction.
This book is about an architect who dared to be passionate about his work and his integrity. It showcases how many people are willing to live a life of being second-handers. They are unable of thinking their own thoughts and simply follow along with the masses.

Ayn Rand’s philosophy on objectivism is explored, nor through boring doctrine, but rather unfolds through in a page-turning story of love, passion, truth, relationships and power. While it has all the ingredients of a good drama, it also encourages you to think and question some of your own values.

This book followed “We The Living” written in 1936 (which I’m now going to read) and also Atlas Shrugged (1957) which is my all-time favourite book on entrepreneurship and capitalism.

The Fountainhead is the perfect blend of an engaging and entertaining story, while also educating and making you think.
P.S. Since this book is 70 years old, it also offers good insight in to the culture of that time. The world was very man-centered, which comes through loud and clear where it was expected that a woman simply support her man and also quit her job once she got married. Fortunately, this has changed. Also, Ayn writes that of one of the female characters that she “was a petite lady only a size 12”. Unfortunately this has changed and the media has created a belief that size 12 is now extra-large.

Diana Young- World Traveler – currently sailing in the South Pacific for six months and #1 Amazon Best-selling author of Financial Fitness for Beginners.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great intro to the writings of Ayn Rand, March 18 2013
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This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
This novel is a great book to read if you would like to begin to understand Ayn Rand's philosophy (objectivism). This book is very philosophical and thought provoking. I recommend this book to anyone who lives the examined life. If you enjoy this novel be sure to read Atlas shrugged as well.
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The Fountainhead
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (Paperback - July 29 2008)
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