I'd heard lots of talk about Ayn Rand, and I'd already read Anthem online, so I ordered Fountainhead from Bath Central Library using their online reservation system. The system worked really well. Ultimately of course, books will be like music, where you just download it. Hopefully books will be licensed under a free content licence.
Anyway, Rand uses the book to promote her philisophy of objectivism. I think that the book is good, and the philosophy is interesting but not something I can really adopt. Rand says that one should always act in one's own self-interest, she abhors altruism. Well, maybe, but then she goes on to elevate the lone genius, and denigrate working as a group. This clashes with my experience of life. I often swap ideas with other people, to mutual benefit. Cooporation, that's the word. She could have kept her idea of selfishness, because cooperation is often the most selfish option.
Does the philosophy work if you're not a genius? Rand doesn't seem to think much of ordinary people, and yet the book is widely read, so we must like her! I think the hero of the story, Roark, has a particular type of personality. In fact I know someone a bit like him. It's possibly not what Rand intended, but the book kind of says it's okay to be like Roark if that's your nature. My opinion is that it was wrong of him to dynamite the building.
Reading the book prompted the question, 'does not being a genius mean you get on with people better?'. Yes, because if you have a technical skill that's very much in demand, you can get by without having to learn how to get on with people.