Book Review: Reasons To Pick Up Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead

Ask me my favorite place and I’ll paint the picture I read as words while shuffling pages.

– A Bookworm

Read first, write later. There is an immense, yet at the same time, a very subtle satisfaction that one can only get by reading. Novels pave a path for you to go beyond and further. You can live in Space and you can respire there too! Or you can create things and feel smug too! Pick up a book and you’ll see yourself in the protagonist’s shoes. You could be Harry Potter, but then you could be Robert Langdon too!

And there are some books, a handful, that test your patience. They play with you mercilessly, just like a petulant pet dog. You’ll be so frustrated that throwing that book across the hall sounds good in comparison to reading the next paragraph. Why? Because the protagonist is suffering like Hell and you can’t help but wish for a miracle to meet his shitty life.

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On these lines, I introduce you to a once controversial, now philosophical fiction book, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. If you’ve already read this book, you can relate to my views on why this book gripped my heart and soul, then left me shredded and broken as I turned the last page.

1. It talks about MAN in his truest form

Who is a Man? How is he different? Is Man born to preach or to follow? How is the man who follows different from the man who preaches? How much of what that proclaimed preacher speaks or writes is correct?

You can find answers to these questions as you read the book. There is always a wordplay behind every action that occurs. The preacher is a guy named Ellsworth Toohey, whose ideas are practised by every person who reads his column in the newspaper. If he praises a novel that’s written shabbily without any plotline or sturdy character development, it will become the national bestseller. Why? Because he said so.

Now comes the hero of this book, whose ideas are judged by his conscience alone. Unaltered. Unfettered. Unbreakable. Unfaltering. He stands at the epitome of a life that’s broken, trampled upon and tampered with. He defines what it is to be born a Man.

2. Ego is not what we think it is

Ego is essentially a negative word. He is one who thinks about himself and no one else. He’d prefer his happiness over others’. This is what we are taught and this is what we precisely know.

Come and delve deep into this book and you’ll find a new meaning sheltering the Ego of a man. A man is born to live for himself, not others. In doing so, he’d be lifting the downtrodden along with himself. This is what man’s true ego is. The Fountainhead talks to us on these lines. Be it love or ambition, a man’s self is important. In recognizing that self, in nourishing your ego, the society’s development lies.

3. It helps you realize your goals

There is a minute difference between ambition, aim and a goal. Ambition is a short-term word. It’s a castle in the air. It has no purpose. On the other hand, Aim is something you really want to get. Be it a girl/boy you love or making your parents proud of you or getting a high paying job. That’ll be your aim – the one which you work hard for. The only difference between a goal and an aim is that goals are our passionate desires. A goal is our passion – something which we can’t taint with the influence of others’ opinions.

Read this book and your heart will reopen those passions for you.

4. Don’t be a second-hander

You know who a second-hander is? A person who works on a thought process that belongs, not to him but to somebody else. This book glaringly says that we, all of us, are second-handers only. We unconsciously tend to live on standards set by someone else.

They don’t ask, “Is this true?” They ask, “Is this what others think is true?”

– Howard Roark, on second-handers

5. What is greater? Sacrifice or Selfishness?

This book lets you decide through examples. Encouraging a person who has nothing more to give – this sacrifice, is it correct? Asking a man to sacrifice himself and calling it noble, is it the sacrifice? If sacrifice demands one to give up oneself, who will it benefit when every person becomes a shell of their former self?

Self-sacrifice? It’s precisely the self that cannot and must not be sacrificed. It is the unsacrificed self that we must respect in man above all.

– Quoted as an editorial in the book.

6. The power to Reason lies within the Individual

At the end of this book, during the climax, you’ll find 5-10 pages of a court scene in which the protagonist stands on trial. These parts are a must read in the entire book. Those paragraphs are literally the best I’ve ever read. They talk about a collective brain and an individual brain. To be more precise, here are a few lines from the book –

We can divide a meal among many men. We cannot digest it in a collective stomach.

– Howard Roark

7. Final words on the book

It encourages us to seek our passion – to turn our passion into our profession.

This book teaches us, how essential it is to have an individual thought process instead of borrowing someone else’s thoughts and ideas.

It preaches about religion in different shades – one which talks about its greatness and necessity and the other which calls for us to see the entire human race as a single religion.

This book also talks about God. Yes, God exists and yes, you are your own God, dear human. There isn’t a greater power other than yourself who is allowed to rule you.

Finally, just remember-

Also Read | Book Review: The Notebook By Nicholas Sparks

Have you read this book? Do you want to read this book? Drop your views in the comments below!