The Fountainhead: A Preview

A confession to start: I don’t recall ever reviewing a book anywhere, anytime. Not sure why, I don’t read many books per year but I’m always working my way through something interesting. Currently, I’m working through one of the most unique books I’ve read. It’s called “The Fountainhead” and is by a pretty notorious author called Ayn Rand. Rand had some very controversial ideas, essentially she promoted selfishness as a virtue. She was an athiest and felt it was ridiculous for people to live their lives for anyone except themselves. She tempered that – slightly- by saying that your promotion of yourself shouldn’t come at the cost of another, but altruism or sticking yourself out for someone else or their happiness would be opposed by Rand.

The Fountainhead is about two dueling architects. One, Peter Keating, is a manipulative, effervescant, people-pleaser. He does what the world would say to bring success, he charms the boss, does what “he ought to” and completes that with some backdoor Machiavellian manipulations. His foil is Howard Roark, a monolithic, almost primal, force of “self”. Roark usually speaks in simple phrases or short phrases and is willing to compromise nothing of himself: no matter the cost. Roark would sooner kill himself then please a single other soul in a way that would be inauthentic to himself.

I’m only 1/3rd done because I am taking so many notes. The book will need to be distilled into a long-form essay, then a short-form essay, and finally a blog posting here. There’s simply no other way to address this book except to “distill” it like a fine spirit. Distill really is an accurate verb for what I’m doing, but I wanted to get you excited because frankly, the book is a rush and I can’t wait to put my thoughts into a coherant form and share it with you here!

-Matt