The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand is an interesting book. Not in the sense of quality of reading itself, but more so for the strong emotions it evokes in people. I’ve met folks who have read it and absolutely love it and then there are the others who are wary of the book and find it somewhat too much to take in.
The Fountainhead was recommended to me by a teammate and I’d picked it up enthusiastically. I’d never before heard of Ayn Rand or her style of writing. I cannot say that reading this book was a breeze from the word go. I distinctly remember that I had struggled with the couple of pages itself, not sure if I was distracted or the narration was complex. But being a person who did not give up so easily on her books, I re-read a couple of times till I finally got it! And then, past that first hurdle, I’d been able to cruise along quite well.
I loved the book for the portrayal of the protagonist and the values he lives by. Also for the glimpse into different kinds of people and the interplay of their varied ambitions and aspirations. The book is filled with quotable passages and lines. However, I’ve picked only a couple of them for today’s post. Both the passages have stood the test of time, are very relevant and true even to this day!
On people’s relentless pursuit of ‘happiness’ –
“Listen to what is being preached today. Look at everyone around us. You’ve wondered why they suffer, why they seek happiness and never find it. If any man stopped and asked himself whether he’s ever held a truly personal desire, he’d find the answer. He’d see that all his wishes, his efforts, his dreams, his ambitions are motivated by other men. He’s not really struggling even for material wealth, but for the second-hander’s delusion – prestige. A stamp of approval, not his own. He can find no joy in the struggle and no joy when he has succeeded. He can’t say about a single thing: ‘This is what I wanted because I wanted it, not because it made my neighbors gape at me’. Then he wonders why he’s unhappy.”
On the men/women who are trailblazers –
“Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.”
And, just one more – I feel that this is at the crux of everything 🙂
“Integrity is the ability to stand by an idea.”
This is my entry for today’s edition of #BookBytes hosted here…
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P.S: If you are interested in reading more from this book, here is a post I found, that has 32 quotes!