At dinner last week, the conversation got onto the books that impacted ones thinking or philosophy. Fountainhead by Ayn Rand was a book that I read at the age of 15; it has stayed with me ever since. I was surprised (because it is a heavy read) that one of the other guests had a similar experience.

The philosophy of Fountainhead is individualism. It says: think for yourself, draw your own conclusions, choose your own values and live by your own standards. It celebrates the heroism of the “men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision.”

The novel suggests that the few who lead truly “first-hand” lives of independent judgment are the source (the fountainhead) of all creative achievement. The primary example of this is the novel’s hero Howard Roark, who does not seek popularity or prestige, but does his work in architecture according to his own standards and style — he thinks for himself, judges for himself and makes decisions based solely on his own thinking and judgment.

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