Book Review – Fountain Head

I’ve just finished reading Fountain Head (by Ayn Rand), a book on Architecture, Integrity and Individualism.

At the outset, I never guessed this book is going to be so sensational. The title of the book did not excite me, nor did I know the author. However, when I was told that the book was about Architecture, I decided I had to read it. It’s not everyday that someone comes along and writes a book on something as complex as Architecture or Individualism. And so I started to read.

A few choice quotes from the book

1. The opening sentence: “Howard Roark laughed.”

What a way to open one of the greatest books ever written. I think it shows everything Howard represents in the simplest of terms.

2. “My dear fellow, who will let you?” - Dean

“That’s not the point. The point is,WHO WILL STOP ME?” - Roark

3. “You’re too good for what you want to do with yourself.?(p. 62)

Henry Cameron tells Roark that he will suffer greatly because in spite of designing the most beautiful buildings, they will remain on paper and never be erected while he will watch mediocre others reap high commissions and glory because they are willing to copy the past.

4. When Toohey urges Roark to say what he thinks of him, Toohey presses the issue, saying: “Mr. Roark, we’re alone here. Why don’t you tell me what you think of me? In any words you wish. No one will hear us.” and Roark replies, “But I don’t think of you.”

5. “We don’t want any great men?I shall rule.?(p. 635)

In his lengthy monologue in Keating’s apartment, Toohey finally confesses his intentions. He wants power and in this effort attempts to make people into selfless beings, who in addition to altruism and excessive guilt forget how to be happy themselves. Since great people don’t buy into this philosophy and thus obstruct his path to complete power and domination, he wishes to eliminate them.

By the time I finished reading the book, I was so much in awe of the characters, the author’s perspective and deep insights. Also, this was a book written in 1938, and yet surprisingly stays relevant in today’s context.

Recommended Reading.