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The Fountainhead The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
Read this book when you are seventeen, or not at all. It’s rollicking (if overlong) fun, with romance, betrayal, explosions, trials, and politics. All, of course, driven by Principle, which is only believable when you’re seventeen. (This may be different for some people; it is possible that this book can be good between the ages of 15 and 19.) When you’re seventeen, this book will be stunning, because you’ll still have the ability to skim the “philosophy” and “politics” bits with an eye for what you like, and you’ll still have the readerly arrogance to happily pretend that these bits tell you exactly what you need to hear, which is something to the effect of Emerson’s much less rollicking and also less insane essay “Self-Reliance.”

By the time you’re twenty, you should know that you can only disclose your affair with this book to select people. You should also know that people who think this book has anything to do with actual philosophy or politics are people you should back slowly away from while telling them it is a wonderful book. You should learn to separate your enjoyment of this book from your utter disdain for those Ayn Rand people, because they are scary and they didn’t read it for the plot. You should also have learned that you will have to apologize to anyone who knew you in the vicinity of reading this book, because you were probably a self-righteous, Principled, selfish asshole for at least two weeks after (and possibly during) the completion of this book.

But if you’re seventeen…

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