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The Fountainhead | [Ayn Rand]

The Fountainhead

One of the 20th century's most challenging novels of ideas, The Fountainhead champions the cause of individualism through the story of a gifted young architect who defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. The struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above creativity is powerfully illustrated through three characters: Howard Roarke, a genius; Gail Wynand, a newspaper mogul and self-made millionaire; and Dominique Francon, a devastating beauty.
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Publisher's Summary

One of the 20th century's most challenging novels of ideas, The Fountainhead champions the cause of individualism through the story of a gifted young architect who defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. The struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above creativity is powerfully illustrated through three characters: Howard Roarke, the genius who is resented because he creates purely for the delight of his own work and on no other terms; Gail Wynand, the newspaper mogul and self-made millionaire whose power was bought by sacrificing his ideals to the lowest common denominator of public taste; and Dominique Francon, the devastating beauty whose desperate search for meaning has been twisted, through despair, into a quest to destroy the single object of her desire: Howard Roarke. Dramatic, poetic, and demanding, The Fountainhead remains one of the towering books on the contemporary intellectual scene.

©1943 The Bobbs-Merrill Company; ©1968 Ayn Rand; Afterword ©1993 Leonard Peikoff; (P)1994 Blackstone Audio Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Ayn Rand is a writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly." (New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (4025 )
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  •  
    Ajai 04-11-14
    Ajai 04-11-14 Member Since 2013

    History, Science and a little Fiction.

    ratings
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    "Well worth the listen"
    What did you love best about The Fountainhead?

    I love the complex characters, I didn't agree with them sometimes but they made their points. A bit shocking at times, totally engrossing.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JEWEL PALOTNICK CENTRALIA, WA United States 04-01-14
    JEWEL PALOTNICK CENTRALIA, WA United States 04-01-14 Member Since 2014
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    4
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    "A must read"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I absolutely recommend this audiobook if you are a thinker and not afraid to look at yourself.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character is Dominique, she always lives on her own terms.


    What does Christopher Hurt bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The only thing I can think of that Christopher Hurt brought to the book that I couldn't experience if I had read the book, is a male voice. With that said he got pretty close to what what I would hear in my head, he did great.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I was moved every time Howard Roark was knocked back down by society.


    Any additional comments?

    If you value hard work, honesty, integrity and think that some people are moving us toward dependence on the government, and away from personal responsibility, you will love the message of this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James burleson, TX, United States 03-31-14
    James burleson, TX, United States 03-31-14 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    144
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    "This has all happened before"
    What made the experience of listening to The Fountainhead the most enjoyable?

    Being able to draw parallels to today and the past was scary. I enjoyed how the main character was never ashamed by wanting to be the best "him" that he could be.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    York was my favorite character. He was always trying to be true to himself. The struggle to be not just an architect but a man that stood firm to what he believed to be right.


    Any additional comments?

    This book shows how people in the media and the "know" use their positions to push their agenda. Sometimes because they believe in it , other times just because they can.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Colin P. Fraizer Indianapolis, IN USA 01-20-14
    Colin P. Fraizer Indianapolis, IN USA 01-20-14 Member Since 2013
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    10
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    "Christopher Hurt brings this book to life!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I recommend this book to many people. It's a great example of the (often misunderstood) romantic style of fiction that Rand so loved.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Gail Wynand. He's part villain, part hero, and all tragic figure.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Hurt – was your favorite?

    Mr. Hurt's performance was flawless. Having read this book on paper long before I listened to his audio production, I find myself reading in his voices whenever I revisit the book.

    My favorite voices:
    - Roark. The alleged protagonist is so much a creature of perfection that he appears "on stage" less than some others, but Mr. Hurt captures his heroic idealized nature without making him a parody.
    - Toohey. One of the great villains of 20th century literature and Mr. Hurt performs him in such a memorable way, I can't remember how I thought of his voice when I read it myself.
    - Alvah Scarret. "But why, Gail?" "Gail, you can't fire Sally! Not _Sally_!" Those line readings alone are worth the price of this recording.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Although it is not as great a commercial success as Atlas Shrugged, I consider this the best example of Rand's fiction. It's a book I've read and re-read, lent and recommended.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcelo 01-14-14
    Marcelo 01-14-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "The Lie Inside the Lie."

    Ayn Rand got it wrong. According to Stephen King “fiction is the truth inside the lie…” not the lie inside the lie, which is the best way to describe “The Fountainhead.”

    The dialog is not believable. Characters talk like they are in the middle of a low brow discussion at a philosopher’s café. Their logic breaks all over the place, depriving their verbal exchanges of any redeemable value.

    According to the author, objectivism holds that there is no greater moral than achieving happiness. That’s certainly not what we see in her novel, where the characters put themselves though years of misery and pain for the sake of arrogance and nonsensical caprice. You may argue that they self-sacrifice in the utility derived from attaining a highly desirable goal, but the existence of alternate ways of attaining the same goals more efficiently and effectively render erode the validity of such arguments. After all, how many more buildings could Mr. Roark have built his way with a little compromise in other projects?

    In an appendix to Atlas Shrugged, Ms Rand explains that "her philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute." There is nothing productive about terrorism, and it is certainly not noble. I won’t elaborate further on this concept as I do not want to include any spoilers.

    Likewise, there is nothing nobble about rape. On this matter, a web search would show that Ms. Rand justifies the scene saying, basically, that victim asked for it. Clearly this book is at odds with today’s culture in the light of the fight for women’s rights and the post 911 era.

    Unrealistic character interactions, limited character growth, exaggerated behaviors, and unlikable characters make for poor character development resulting, ultimately in a bad novel.

    Last but not least, those who claim to endorse conservatism don’t forget that Ellsworth Toohey is the quintessential middle manager –although he is not a manager– and his views on collectivism are endorsed today by both sides of the political spectrum– a very sad state of affairs.

    Read it if you want to but beware of what you are up against.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nick T San Diego, CA 10-29-13
    Nick T San Diego, CA 10-29-13 Member Since 2013

    Nick

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    "Excellent read, err, listen"
    If you could sum up The Fountainhead in three words, what would they be?

    Pain is gain


    What other book might you compare The Fountainhead to and why?

    Many similar themes and characters as Atlas Shrugged


    What about Christopher Hurt’s performance did you like?

    He did a good job of distinguishing characters with his voice


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I really loved it because it is so dense and thought provoking.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Clay 09-13-13
    Clay 09-13-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "Good, but not Rand's finest"
    Would you listen to The Fountainhead again? Why?

    Maybe.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Fountainhead?

    The trial


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No. I don't have two days to sit and listen to a book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Trisha West Bloomfield, MI, United States 08-11-13
    Trisha West Bloomfield, MI, United States 08-11-13
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    "A book worth reading, and an amazing narrator."
    Any additional comments?

    I hate being read to. As such, I doubted audiobooks were for me. But the boyfriend convinced me they were worth a shot, so I picked out a good fat book that I wouldn't have the patience to sit down and read otherwise: The Fountainhead.

    I listened in transit, in bed, while I cooked and cleaned, while I showered. And I've never left an online review for anything in my life, because I've never been so compelled.

    This is a phenomenal audiobook.

    For whoever or whatever Ayn Rand is - for whatever you may think of her as a person or as an ethicist - she tells a gripping, sweeping fable that reads almost like an epic poem. There's a reason this book matters, a reason it resonates, and a reason it pisses people off. It hits a pretty visceral chord.

    Most critics of this book take it not as myth but as manifesto, and you're kinda screwed if you do that. Realize that this is not a subtle book. It isn't subtle thinking. It's all searing archetypes and bold palettes. And it works. The narrative and the characters who carry it have a lot of force, a lot of impact, which to me is more than enough to make it worthwhile.

    Also: Christopher Hurt, the narrator, did an incredible job. I now realize how difficult it must be to narrate an audiobook well. He gave every character shape and distinction with his voice, yet somehow managed to fade into the story, if that makes any sense. Because of him, I'm now convinced that certain books are definitely enhanced by skilled narration.I listened to the whole thing at 1.5x speed, which was perfect.

    Yesterday I looked through the other books Hurt's narrated. I'm starting Stranger in a Strange Land by Heinlein, for the sole reason that he's narrating. :)

    So in sum: best first audiobook experience I could've hoped for. Props to Ayn Rand, and to Chris Hurt, and to Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ZOLTAN London, United Kingdom 07-06-13
    ZOLTAN London, United Kingdom 07-06-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "A gem! Excellent story and performance!"
    If you could sum up The Fountainhead in three words, what would they be?

    Original, captivating, thought provoking


    What did you like best about this story?

    The originality of the almost "philosophical" plot.


    Which character – as performed by Christopher Hurt – was your favorite?

    Howard Rourke and Gale Weinand!


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Laughter and anxiety.


    Any additional comments?

    A definite recommendation for those who like a good plot that gives you plenty to think about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Yogesh Pune, India 06-13-13
    Yogesh Pune, India 06-13-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    3
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    "Icing on the cake because of excellent narration"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Fountainhead to be better than the print version?

    Yes would definitely recommend audio version because of excellent narration of this book by Christopher Hurt. There is much variation in the voice which suits to particular character.


    What did you like best about this story?

    This book has lot of surprises, you just can't read the mind of Ayn Rand. Excellent story telling with great message.


    What about Christopher Hurt’s performance did you like?

    I almost felt like I am watching a movie. Christopher Hurt has so much variation in his voice and that helps in identifying each character and the personality. I would highly recommend Hurt, in fact I would listen audible if they are narrated by Hurt. Excellent work!


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    You don't want to miss this book in this precious life.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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