Customer Review

118 of 137 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you read one book, make it this one., 2 Dec. 2002
This review is from: The Fountainhead (Paperback)
This book was recommended to me by a friend who described it as a life-altering work and the best book he had ever read. I greeted this with the cynicism that such emotive comments often deserve. Nevertheless, I bought the book and have bought it for many more friends since. No book (or other art form, for that matter) has influenced me, encouraged me, excited me and criticised me as much as Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead".
I find it impossible to describe precisely what I took away from the book other than an overwhelming desire to meet the protagonist, Howard Roark. I compared myself (somewhat unfavourably) to his inspirational character; a man of complete integrity (in the sense of being whole and unimpaired) and, above all, a man who remains incorruptibly faithful to himself (odd though that sounds - read the book!). I fell short in almost every respect because he is, of course, a work of fiction living in a stylised world. However, I have since found that in some small measure we can attempt to lead our lives in a manner which more closely resembles Roark's philosophy (or, rather, his way of being). I agree with another reviewer that this is not The Answer, but I believe it is some small part, without which the remainder may be unobtainable.
This book will not be universally liked. It polarises opinion because its message is not to everyone's taste. Nor is it the most beautifully crafted prose (it was the author's second language, after all). And, Ayn Rand sometimes verges on being self-consciously clever. However, if the measure of a book is how often you refer back to it, how heavily you rely on its message and how vociferously you recommend it to others, it is clearly the best book I have ever read (and the only book I have felt obliged to review online).
Just my thoughts - I hope you enjoy it.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Jun 2011 21:31:28 BDT
English Rose says:
Thanks very much for your review. Feel compelled to get a copy - inspired by your thoughts.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2011 22:42:22 BDT
Tamara L says:
I wondered how you felt about the character of 'complete integrity' being a rapist?

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Oct 2011 09:17:23 GMT
I think you misunderstood the nature of that encounter, for Dominique that was the only way of making the ultimate exception in her personality. She says herself she could have called out, and she knew Roark only carried on due to the way she struggled with him.

Posted on 6 Nov 2011 13:27:00 GMT
S. MORRIS says:
Chapter XI of part 4 is where I feel the philosophical lessons are really nailed

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Mar 2013 14:24:47 GMT
Ah, so the rape is her fault. So that's alright then.

Posted on 27 Apr 2013 19:09:57 BDT
Onora says:
Thanks for a good review. I'm just after purchasing Atlas Shrugged and when I finish it I will purchase this.

Posted on 6 Dec 2013 16:13:45 GMT
I think she was actually writing in her fourth or fifth language. Good review. I am really enjoying the book...
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