Book Review – The Fountainhead

the fountainhead book reviewThe Book That Inspires Me Everyday

By Saurin Parikh

For someone who hails from a creative field, and is an atheist, this book is my Geeta, Quran and Bible, all rolled into one. The book I refer to is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.

I am sure The Fountainhead needs no introduction, but for those who have come in late in life, here’s a laconic précis of its storyline. The Fountainhead is the story of Howard Roark, an architect. Roark is the quintessential man; he is how every man should be. He fights conventional standards, the system, the society and the woman he loves. From the sound of it, the story’s premise might seem hackneyed, but The Fountainhead is more than just one man’s fight against everything that is wrong. The book teaches you how to live, what to follow, what not to follow, why your individualistic thoughts are your prerogative, and why upholding them is so important. In a way, The Fountainhead is the finest self-help book. There are very few guideposts to find, this book is one of them.

The other protagonist of the book is Peter Keating. A complete opposite of Roark, Keating is what man shouldn’t be. And ironically, for most part of the story, you will relate to Keating more than you relate to Roark. And this why The Fountainhead should be read by everyone, especially the younger generation. The transformation from Keating to Roark is an essential exercise in self-evaluation, self-discovery and self-belief.

As I read The Fountainhead, I could fathom the things that Keating did. On the other hand, Roark’s character left me in wow. I wondered if I could really be like Roark. I could feel that I was majorly like Keating (a parasite, selfless, unprincipled egoistic, unethical) and as the story unfolded, I realised that I had to be like Roark (a creator, self-sufficient, self-confident, an end of ends). And thus started my journey from Keating to Roark. Of course, being completely like Roark might not be possible, but every day, I try to be a little less like Keating and a little more like Roark.

For me, the best part about The Fountainhead is that it doesn’t preach. The book makes you realise things by yourself, without having to tell you directly. The fact could be that someone might not be able to extract a deeper meaning from the story like I did, and even without that, the story by itself is fascinating. Ayn Rand has weaved the story in such a way that you itch to read the next page. It’s a story that won’t let you leave it alone.

The Fountainhead was first published in 1943 and since then it has had a cult following. The essence of the story stands true even today. Ayn Rand gave birth to her theory of Objectivism with this book, and followed it up with her next – Atlas Shrugged.

The Fountainhead, the story of the quintessential man, is by itself the quintessential novel. A true classic, this is how a novel should be. Its longevity – still published after over seven decades – vindicates its power and brilliance.

Ayn Rand once wrote: ‘A spirit, too, needs fuel. It can run dry.’ Well, The Fountainhead is the fuel of the spirit that is me. And all I can say is: make it yours as well.

12 Responses to “Book Review – The Fountainhead”

  1. 1 Poonam
    September 13, 2009 at 18:22

    Good take on The Fountainhead Mr.Parikh.
    The least I can say is, that it’s interesting.

    I like the way this book challenges the normal ideals of the society by putting forward the concept of thinking for oneself being the ultimate ideal.

    Keep writing.


  2. September 18, 2009 at 12:10

    Excellent book by Ayn Rand 🙂
    and a good review


  3. November 9, 2009 at 12:11

    I forgot to mention earlier. Do read ‘Atlas Shrugged’ by the same author. Fab job!


  4. 5 Shraddha
    November 14, 2009 at 13:18

    My bible as well! This world needs more unrelenting individualists.
    What I love about this review: “being completely like Roark might not be possible, but every day, I try to be a little less like Keating and a little more like Roark.”
    No one ever admits that! 😀 Ayn Rand was an extremist but that, I think, captures the best lesson we can take from the book.
    Also, The Fountainhead >> Atlas Shrugged.


  5. 6 sanket
    March 19, 2010 at 10:16

    This book is my all time favourite. Yes it is my bible/ Gita or Quran too. I see this not as an attempt by Ayn to create a man who has no fear of conventions or is completely unconditioned to what we see as an obvious reality, but a man who is *completely objective*. Objectivity, its virtues…and its bane.
    My landmark moment of the book is the “face off at the old train station” between the unscrupulous writer/ critic Toohey and Roark.

    Toohey – “So…what do you think of me, Mr. Roark?”
    Roark – “I don’t think of you…”

    this book will never mean anything else to me, than the greatest, epical account of a man, his objectivity and clarity around who he is and what he wants…and his being evolved enough to walk on a path he believes is not correct or righteous or any crap like that…but the one he must walk on…plain and simple…


  6. 7 Sam
    March 19, 2010 at 11:03

    Although, I prefer John Grisham’s novels. This book sounds like a revelation and brilliantly crafted by Aryn Rand. I can imagine the though process that would have gone behind this masterpiece.

    If every Soul needs a curry to spice up its spirit – This book will have that uplifting effect along with self – realization and self – actualization, in turn, which is a cornerstone of Abraham Maslow’s Theory.

    I am gonna buy it and cherish it for life. Thanks Bro, for your timely suggestion. I appreciate it, dude. Thanks a Zillion. Adi and Saurin, you guys Rock! /m\


  7. March 19, 2010 at 16:32

    This is by far one of the most brilliant books I have ever read…leaves a lot of impact on you…and great review…does seem like the book is your Bible! 🙂


  8. April 22, 2010 at 04:06

    Hey Aditya,

    Bang on! The book, I read when I was 17-18 and it was coming to life. But Atlas Shrugged is the one you should read, its far more applicable and refined. Fountainhead has edges which Atlas Shrugged smoothens.

    Anyway, Good One.



  9. August 18, 2010 at 05:01

    As you are a fan of Ayn Rand, We are pleased to announce a special screening of the film “We The Living”, and Live interaction with the producer Duncan Scott at 3 p.m. on Saturday, 21 August 2010, at the NCUI Auditorium in Delhi.

    The detailed program for the evening is as follows:

    Venue: Committee Room Alpha, National Cooperative Union of India (NCUI),
    3 Siri Fort Institutional Area, August Kranti Marg, New Delhi 110016
    Date and Time: 21 August 2010, 3 pm

    Liberty Institute, New Delhi
    Tel: +91-11-28031309, Email: info@AynRand.in



  10. November 2, 2010 at 11:55

    Wow this is a great resource.. I’m enjoying it.. good article


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