The Fountainhead by Ayn RandThe Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

The Fountainhead

byAyn RandAfterword byLeonard Peikoff

Mass Market Paperback | September 1, 1996

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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
Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Rand’s unique philosophy, Objectivism, has gained a worldwide audience. The fundamentals of her philosoph...
Title:The FountainheadFormat:Mass Market PaperbackProduct dimensions:720 pages, 6.88 × 4.31 × 1.56 inShipping dimensions:6.88 × 4.31 × 1.56 inPublished:September 1, 1996Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0451191153

ISBN - 13:9780451191151


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for architects A great gift for any architect, architecture student or anyone interested in architecture. Its an inspiring novel and Ayn Rand at her best.
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Interesting I find people's reaction to Rand's philosophy most interesting. While her characters represents the extremes of her beliefs, the core of her belief is that of individual contribution. Her argument is that we must all rely on our own efforts and it is immoral to depend instead of working.
Date published: 2018-05-18
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Can I give Zero stars? Aside from the fact that the book is horribly written, I absolutely detest Rand's ultra conservative-capitalist philosophy. Her ideology is crystal clear throughout her work and it was too preachy I found. I understand that she had escaped Russia and stood for the absolute polar opposite of what she thought communism was, but give it a rest lady... has she ever heard of subtly?
Date published: 2017-09-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking I really enjoyed this book. It's very long, but, so worth the read.
Date published: 2017-07-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant This is a story of a young architect who refuses to build conventional old-fashioned buildings but want to build new modern buildings. He refuses to compromise. he would rather be a failure building the types of buildings that he wants to build than a success building the types of buildings that society wants him to build. Along the way is his relationship with the woman who he loves who at the same time wants him to change his principles which he will not compromise. it may seem silly that a person would behave this way just for a building but the entire story is an analogy to political and social principles and persons being allowed by society to determine their own creativity and their own destiny. the book is brilliantly written and will keep you wanting to find out what happens next. Will he stand firm to his principles and succeed? will he and the woman he loves finally be happy together? Read and find out. the book is a social commentary on society.
Date published: 2017-03-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Overlong and dissapointing Not as bad as Atlas Shrugged but still disappointing. The book is much too long with selfish characters and a narrative that is much too slow. I did not finish all of it. Not recommended
Date published: 2017-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent This book describes a very profound point that is missing in this day and age between artists and art. I won't ruin the point for anyone so I suggest reading it. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book!! Great book for those who like characters questioning government.
Date published: 2017-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reread One of my favorite books to date. Although long and very descriptive, Ayn Rand provides the reader with great insight about her philosophy through her strong and unyielding characters
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wow! Very well written, albeit a bit difficult to get through at times. Overall an excellent, thought-provoking read. So glad I picked it up!
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 1 out of 5 by from sTRUGGLED THOUGH THE BOOK Not very interesting. Everyone except the main character was fighting for power.
Date published: 2016-12-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Fountainhead I found this book sometimes difficult to read as the character description and plot development can be intense. That being said, I have never read anything like Ms. Rand's Fountainhead. Deep yet engaging this book is thoroughly enjoyable. Full of life lessons and an interesting investigation into human nature.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fountainhead One of my top 5 books - character development and plot line like no other. Life lessons to be learned.
Date published: 2016-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Reading it again...:) I first picked up this book in Grade 10 and it left me puzzled, bedazzled and pondering. Reading it again three years later, I am once again drawn in by Ayn Rand's descriptive writing and detail in plot, settings and character development. Easy to read, but profound thought put into this book.
Date published: 2011-08-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thought provoking Only recently did I stumble across this book. I wish it had been years sooner, especially when I was still at the university. Superbly written, makes the reader question the society and its pressures. The story is engrossing you can’t wait to see what will happen next, and you are often surprised. A must read for all, don’t be a second handler.
Date published: 2009-03-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Easy to read, non-patronizing philosophy The name 'Ayn Rand' is synonymous with objectivist ideas. For first time readers, Rand's philosphy focuses on man's ability to think and make choices. This book is an excellent investigation of this topic. It's easy to read with well developed characters. Not only do you learn something about people and their nature, you learn something about architecture as well. This book is a must read for students in high school or university. Though this work is an overture to Atlas Shrugged her masterpiece, I recommend reading Atlas first as the ideas and their uses in society are better explained in Atlas.
Date published: 2004-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Fountainhead Well written, contravercial novel. I really enjoyed it, the descriptions were complete but not exessive or boring. Ayn Rand is very opinionated and many of those opinions are strongly expressed in this novel through it's many characters. Howard Roark, the exact oposite of Peter Keating, is an extremely strong willed character. Very intriguing relationships, a good book!
Date published: 2001-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For You If you have ever felt isolated from mainstream society, if you have felt mocked for the need to stay true to your truth, if you see the gray in life and can’t understand why to most of the world it’s black and white, if your purpose for living is maintaining the purity of your beliefs, if your dreams have been tarnished by the ignorance of others, if you have tried to create something and no-one could see the beauty in it but you, this book is for you.
Date published: 2001-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Fountainhead This is the book that inspired Neal Peart, of the forward thinking rock group RUSH, to write the lyrics of their 1976 album "2112". This is a must read for anyone who is aware of the psychological conditioning that society puts you through; and was born with the ability to see through the falseness of society, which is trapped within the semantics of its developed languages. I wonder if the author was inspired by the writings of Jiddu Krishnamurti?
Date published: 2000-01-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Challenges the reader to live up to its standards It delivers the clearest, most uncompromising message I have ever encountered in a work of fiction. I can picture Rand at work with a will and pen sharp enough to sculpt granite. The book is timeless and transcends era, culture, age, and class. This leaves a reader with nothing to consider but its central themes, that of man's ego and reason. Whether a reader becomes a critic or supporter of Rand's philosophy is a personally rewarding debate for he/she themselves to settle...The characters in the book seemed robotic and unrealistic at first, but it occurred to me later on that Rand may have been so determined and successful in her portrayal of ideal vs. scum-of-the-earth that the characters seem strange because we ourselves are so far from either end of the spectrum (to our credit and detriment). My opinion only, you'll be sure to have your own...
Date published: 1999-08-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Fails as Both Literature and Philosophy I'm torn about this book, because while I consider myself an individualist and give the highest priority to individual freedoms and achievements, I also know bad literature when I read it. "The Fountainhead" is long-winded, making its point 400 pages before it finally ends. Rand REALLY wants us to accept her shallow philosophy, though, so she keeps giving us example after example of Roark sticking to his sacred individuality, to a final, ridiculous extent. Her prose is clunky and inefficient. The characters don't talk like people, they talk like characters trying to ram significance down our throats. In the end, Rand never takes into account the joy that individuals may take from other people. She sells her ideas short by turning her hero into a completely self-absorbed lunatic. This is a second-rate novel supporting second-rate ideas. It doesn't deserve the cult following that has grown up around it.
Date published: 1999-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from no title Is this corny of me to write a review of a book I've only read once? Well, anyway, I guess I would say this is a life moving book. No, it won't drastically alter your life, just your perception of it. Every day we (meaning you and me) hear so much about "giving to the poor" and helping others, and we adhere to these demands. The Fountainhead, along with Ayn Rand and her entire philosophy of objectivism, questions society's morals and allows the individual to succeed in the end. Howard Roark's last speech is what made me buy this book. A true masterpiece...
Date published: 1999-05-13

Read from the Book

Part 1PETER KEATINGIHoward Roark laughed. He stood naked at the edge of a cliff. The lake lay far below him. A frozen explosion of granite burst in flight to the sky over motionless water. The water seemed immovable, the stone flowing. The stone had the stillness of one brief moment in battle when thrust meets thrust and the currents are held in a pause more dynamic than motion. The stone glowed, wet with sunrays.The lake below was only a thin steel ring that cut the rocks in half. The rocks went on into the depth, unchanged. They began and ended in the sky. So that the world seemed suspended in space, an island floating on nothing, anchored to the feet of the man on the cliff.His body leaned back against the sky. It was a body of long straight lines and angles, each curve broken into planes. He stood, rigid, his hands hanging at his sides, palms out. He felt his shoulder blades drawn tight together, the curve of his neck, and the weight of the blood in his hands. He felt the wind behind him, in the hollow of his spine. The wind waved his hair against the sky. His hair was neither blond nor red, but the exact color of ripe orange rind.He laughed at the thing which had happened to him that morning and at the things which now lay ahead.He knew that the days ahead would be difficult. There were questions to be faced and a plan of action to be prepared. He knew that he should think about it. He knew also that he would not think, because everything was clear to him already, because the plan had been set long ago, and because he wanted to laugh.He tried to consider it. But he forgot. He was looking at the granite.He did not laugh as his eyes stopped in awareness of the earth around him. His face was like a law of nature—a thing one could not question, alter or implore. It had high cheekbones over gaunt, hollow cheeks; gray eyes, cold and steady; a contemptuous mouth, shut tight, the mouth of an executioner or a saint.He looked at the granite. To be cut, he thought, and made into walls. He looked at a tree. To be split and made into rafters. He looked at a streak of rust on the stone and thought of iron ore under the ground. To be melted and to emerge as girders against the sky.These rocks, he thought, are here for me; waiting for the drill, the dynamite and my voice; waiting to be split, ripped, pounded, reborn; waiting for the shape my hands will give them.Then he shook his head, because he remembered that morning and that there were many things to be done. He stepped to the edge, raised his arms, and dived down into the sky below.He cut straight across the lake to the shore ahead. He reached the rocks where he had left his clothes. He looked regretfully about him. For three years, ever since he had lived in Stanton, he had come here for his only relaxation, to swim, to rest, to think, to be alone and alive, whenever he could find one hour to spare, which had not been often. In his new freedom the first thing he had wanted to do was to come here, because he knew that he was coming for the last time. That morning he had been expelled from the Architectural School of the Stanton Institute of Technology.He pulled his clothes on: old denim trousers, sandals, a shirt with short sleeves and most of its buttons missing. He swung down a narrow trail among the boulders, to a path running through a green slope, to the road below.He walked swiftly, with a loose, lazy expertness of motion. He walked down the long road, in the sun. Far ahead Stanton lay sprawled on the coast of Massachusetts, a little town as a setting for the gem of its existence—the great institute rising on a hill beyond.The township of Stanton began with a dump. A gray mound of refuse rose in the grass. It smoked faintly. Tin cans glittered in the sun. The road led past the first houses to a church. The church was a Gothic monument of shingles painted pigeon blue. It had stout wooden buttresses supporting nothing. It had stained-glass windows with heavy traceries of imitation stone. It opened the way into long streets edged by tight, exhibitionist lawns. Behind the lawns stood wooden piles tortured out of all shape: twisted into gables, turrets, dormers; bulging with porches; crushed under huge, sloping roofs. White curtains floated at the windows. A garbage can stood at a side door, flowing over. An old Pekinese sat upon a cushion on a door step, its mouth drooling. A line of diapers fluttered in the wind between the columns of a porch.People turned to look at Howard Roark as he passed. Some remained staring after him with sudden resentment. They could give no reason for it: it was an instinct his presence awakened in most people. Howard Roark saw no one. For him, the streets were empty. He could have walked there naked without concern.He crossed the heart of Stanton, a broad green edged by shop windows. The windows displayed new placards announcing: WELCOME TO THE CLASS OF ‘22! GOOD LUCK, CLASS OF ’22! The Class of ’22 of the Stanton Institute of Technology was holding its commencement exercises that afternoon.Roark swung into a side street, where at the end of a long row, on a knoll over a green ravine, stood the house of Mrs. Keating. He had boarded at that house for three years.Mrs. Keating was out on the porch. She was feeding a couple of canaries in a cage suspended over the railing. Her pudgy little hand stopped in mid-air when she saw him. She watched him with curiosity. She tried to pull her mouth into a proper expression of sympathy; she succeeded only in betraying that the process was an effort.He was crossing the porch without noticing her. She stopped him.“Mr. Roark!”“Yes?”“Mr. Roark, I’m so sorry about—” she hesitated demurely “—about what happened this morning.”“What?” he asked.“Your being expelled from the Institute. I can’t tell you how sorry I am. I only want you to know that I feel for you.”He stood looking at her. She knew that he did not see her. No, she thought, it was not that exactly. He always looked straight at people and his damnable eyes never missed a thing, it was only that he made people feel as if they did not exist. He just stood looking. He would not answer.“But what I say,” she continued, “is that if one suffers in this world, it’s on account of error. Of course, you’ll have to give up the architect profession now, won’t you? But then a young man can always earn a decent living clerking or selling or something.”He turned to go.“Oh, Mr. Roark!” she called.“Yes?”“The Dean phoned for you while you were out.”For once, she expected some emotion from him; and an emotion would be the equivalent of seeing him broken. She did not know what it was about him that had always made her want to see him broken.“Yes?” he asked.“The Dean,” she repeated uncertainly, trying to recapture her effect. “The Dean himself through his secretary.”“Well?”“She said to tell you that the Dean wanted to see you immediately the moment you got back.”“Thank you.”“What do you suppose he can want now?”“I don’t know.”He had said: “I don’t know.” She had heard distinctly: “I don’t give a damn.” She stared at him incredulously.“By the way,” she said, “Petey is graduating today.” She said it without apparent relevance.“Today? Oh, yes.”“It’s a great day for me. When I think of how I skimped and slaved to put my boy through school. Not that I’m complaining. I’m not one to complain. Petey’s a brilliant boy.”She stood drawn up. Her stout little body was corseted so tightly under the starched folds of her cotton dress that it seemed to squeeze the fat out to her wrists and ankles.“But of course,” she went on rapidly, with the eagerness of her favorite subject, “I’m not one to boast. Some mothers are lucky and others just aren’t. We’re all in our rightful place. You just watch Petey from now on. I’m not one to want my boy to kill himself with work and I’ll thank the Lord for any small success that comes his way. But if that boy isn’t the greatest architect of this U.S.A., his mother will want to know the reason why!”He moved to go.“But what am I doing, gabbing with you like that!” she said brightly. “You’ve got to hurry and change and run along. The Dean’s waiting for you. ”She stood looking after him through the screen door, watching his gaunt figure move across the rigid neatness of her parlor. He always made her uncomfortable in the house, with a vague feeling of apprehension, as if she were waiting to see him swing out suddenly and smash her coffee tables, her Chinese vases, her framed photographs. He had never shown any inclination to do so. She kept expecting it, without knowing why.Roark went up the stairs to his room. It was a large, bare room, made luminous by the clean glow of whitewash. Mrs. Keating had never had the feeling that Roark really lived there. He had not added a single object to the bare necessities of furniture which she had provided; no pictures, no pennants, no cheering human touch. He had brought nothing to the room but his clothes and his drawings; there were few clothes and too many drawings; they were stacked high in one corner; sometimes she thought that the drawings lived there, not the man.Roark walked now to these drawings; they were the first things to be packed. He lifted one of them, then the next, then another. He stood looking at the broad sheets.They were sketches of buildings such as had never stood on the face of the earth. They were as the first houses built by the first man born, who had never heard of others building before him. There was nothing to be said of them, except that each structure was inevitably what it had to be. It was not as if the draftsman had sat over them, pondering laboriously, piecing together doors, windows and columns, as his whim dictated and as the books prescribed. It was as if the buildings had sprung from the earth and from some living force, complete, unalterably right. The hand that had made the sharp pencil lines still had much to learn. But not a line seemed superfluous, not a needed plane was missing. The structures were austere and simple, until one looked at them and realized what work, what complexity of method, what tension of thought had achieved the simplicity. No laws had dictated a single detail. The buildings were not Classical, they were not Gothic, they were not Renaissance. They were only Howard Roark.He stopped, looking at a sketch. It was one that had never satisfied him. He had designed it as an exercise he had given himself, apart from his schoolwork; he did that often when he found some particular site and stopped before it to think of what building it should bear. He had spent nights staring at this sketch, wondering what he had missed. Glancing at it now, unprepared, he saw the mistake he had made.He flung the sketch down on the table, he bent over it, he slashed lines straight through his neat drawing. He stopped once in a while and stood looking at it, his finger tips pressed to the paper; as if his hands held the building. His hands had long fingers, hard veins, prominent joints and wristbones.An hour later he heard a knock at his door.“Come in!” he snapped, without stopping.“Mr. Roark!” gasped Mrs. Keating, staring at him from the threshold. “What on earth are you doing?”He turned and looked at her, trying to remember who she was.“How about the Dean?” she moaned. “The Dean that’s waiting for you?”“Oh,” said Roark. “Oh, yes. I forgot.”“You ... forgot?”“Yes.” There was a note of wonder in his voice, astonished by her astonishment.“Well, all I can say,” she choked, “is that it serves you right! It just serves you right. And with the commencement beginning at four-thirty, how do you expect him to have time to see you?”“I’ll go at once, Mrs. Keating.”It was not her curiosity alone that prompted her to action; it was a secret fear that the sentence of the Board might be revoked. He went to the bathroom at the end of the hall; she watched him washing his hands, throwing his loose, straight hair back into a semblance of order. He came out again, he was on his way to the stairs before she realized that he was leaving.“Mr. Roark!” she gasped, pointing at his clothes. “You’re not going like this?”“Why not?”“But it’s your Dean!”“Not any more, Mrs. Keating.”She thought, aghast, that he said it as if he were actually happy.

From Our Editors

A young architect struggles to break free of society's conventions, and falls into a violent, explosive love affair with a woman bent on defeating him. Following its publication in 1943, The Fountainhead earned an immediate place in the literature of the 20th century. Setting forth Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism, it forever changed the thinking of an entire generation, and inspired a new kind of intellectually ambitious literature.