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The Fountainhead

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stevepainter

The Fountainhead

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I'm finally getting around to reading one of Ayn Rand's books. Having read about Ayn Rand's objectivist philosophy and finding myself at least in partial agreement, I've always felt that I ought to read something she wrote.So why "The Fountainhead"? Well, there it was in the collection of junk the former owner of my house left for me to clean up. An old edition published by Sears.I'm halfway through and I must say that I'm pleasantly surprised to find myself engaged in the book. The characters are rather one-dimensional, but I'm really interested in how it will all play out. I was concerned that I would bog down in it - that I wouldn't find it very interesting and there it would sit, half read, in the "I'll finish this someday" stack by my nightstand.If anyone would like to discuss this work, I suppose I'm up for it.
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Chris OConnor

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Re: The Fountainhead

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Hey Steve This book has been sitting on my shelf for years now. One of these days I'll be dusting it off and giving it a shot.I suggest you get a copy of The Ayn Rand Lexicon - excellent summary of her views on a ton of issues. Good stuff.Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
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Re: The Fountainhead

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I came across Ayn Rand and Objectivism from the opposite direction. About a year ago a friend of mine lent me the book and said it was a good book, but the philosophy was bad. I had never heard of Objectivism before. I was definitely intrigued after reading The Fountainhead. (This friend and I definitely have different philosophies of life.) Since then I have read her book "We, the Living" and "The Ayn Rand Cult" by Jeff Walker (which is about the people involved with Rand, but not really about the philosophy of objectivism itself), but I haven't gotten around to reading about Objectivism so I still don't know how much I would agree with it. Besides really enjoying it as a purely fictional read, this book made me think (once again) about choices I will be making about soon about a 'career direction.' Two parts in particular struck me enough to write down:Quote:"But you see," sid Rourke quietly,"I have, let's say, sixty years to live. Most of that time will be spent working. I've chosen the work I want to do. If I find no joy in it, then I'm only condemning myself to sixty years of torture. And I can find the joy only if I do my work in the best way possible to me."Quote: "My dear fellow, who will let you?""That's not the point. The point is, who will stop me?"When I think about possible careers, I tend to think about job opportunities and how much it will pay. I find it scary to consider doing something that I would really love to do everyday because it might be really hard to succeed monetarily doing those things. When it gets right down to it, it is only myself that is stopping me from choosing from less economically promising career paths. And that's only one aspect of my life. Upon further reflection, I realize that so far, I actually have done a pretty good job of doing that which I am truly passionate about....I go to school and learn interesting things and I read and enjoy it. I'm doing the job I love, I just haven't found the degree that will let me get paid the big bucks to do it.Anyway, I guess my point is that this book inspires me to pursue what I care about, and not be held back by people who say, "You want to be an anthropologist? Man, they have to do a lot of fundraising. And you'll have to go to school for a long time before anyone will even think about hiring you." How did you feel after you read it, Steve?
rosecoutre

Re: The Fountainhead

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I see this is an ancient posting, but I'll pick up on it anyway, esp. the career-choice thread. In the early 1990s I read Ayn Rand's "Fountainhead" and her philosophy work "Objectivist Epistemology." Her novel's characters are indeed one- or two-dimensional, as they are intended only as a vehicle to express her "philosophy of life" which sort of ties into her "philosophy." I am not a Rand-ian or interested in the Objectivist society based on her work; however, I really enjoyed her books and got a lot out of them. On careers, she is in accord with most other writers and thinkers -- that the only appropriate career choice is one that you love (one that is fulfilling, one that makes you like to go to work every morning, a career choice that derives organically from your individual identity). The only people saying to choose a career based on practical considerations of money, afflucence, or social position, are the base "mother culture" or "big brother" voices mechanically striving towards homogeneity. ('mother culture' is a term meaning all the conforming pressures and subtle messages that make you conform and dissolve your individual identity) Those voices ignore the most practical consideration of all -- that you will be miserable your whole life! Such advisors (when they are actual people instead of other message-sources like TV) also perhaps have no work-related passion themselves, so they can't imagine an individual getting real fulfillment in any career -- so naturally they can't advise you to seek a career based on passion. The career-money/mother-culture voices also fear diversity (perhaps they embrace cultural and racial diversity on the surface, but they fear real intellectual diversity and personality diversity). E.g., Oscar Wilde said "the more one is in harmony with society, the more one is in disharmony with oneself." Rand would agree! I have never met an individual who regretted a career choice based on doing what they love; but I have met many individuals who do regret a career choice based on money, advancement, and social position. So both rational and empirical analysis seem to agree -- Do what you love! (Nevertheless, I don't especially recommend Rand's "Objectivist Epistemology" -- it skirted around epistemology rather than really digging into it. But I enjoyed "Fountainhead" very much.)
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