Can reading a novel make a real difference in one’s life?
I know that for me, the answer is an unequivocal “yes.” And, I know I’m not alone, because many people have said that reading that same novel profoundly altered their perspective, deeply challenged their thinking and also inspired them to become who they really wanted to be.
The novel I’m referring to here is The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand.
If you don’t know about “The Fountainhead,” it’s the story of Howard Roark, an innovative architect who, as the author once described him, “struggles for the integrity of his creative work against every form of social opposition.” That struggle for the integrity of his work is really the struggle of the individual vs. the collective, not just in society or politics, but in a single individual’s soul.
As the events of the novel play out and, in what is a brilliant integration of both plot and theme (the two most essential components of a novel), protagonist Roark faces constant challenges from those who are threatened by his genius and who are afraid of his uncompromising independence. That independence runs so deep for Roark that when a building he designed on the one condition that no changes be made to it is, in fact, changed, he takes matters into his own hands and physically destroys the creation of his own mind.
For those who haven’t read the novel, I’ll stop there, as I don’t want to spoil the profound pleasure that awaits you. Yet the reason I bring the novel up is because this week, Monday, May 7, fans, like myself, of the “The Fountainhead” celebrated the 75th anniversary of its publication.
While some people I know took time to post accolades to social media sites, others I know held “The Fountainhead” parties. I chose to celebrate this life-changing work by discussing its significance with fellow fans, and by talking about the role it has played in so many lives.
That discussion also happened to be recorded, and it’s the latest episode of The Atlasphere podcast.
The Atlasphere is a website designed to connect admirers of “The Fountainhead” and Ayn Rand’s other game-changing novel, “Atlas Shrugged” (hence the site’s name).
The Atlasphere podcast is hosted by my friend Heather Wagenhals, who also happens to host the highly recommended and extremely popular Unlock Your Wealth radio show. Like me, Heather has a love of money, prosperity and helping readers/listeners achieve economic freedom. Also like me, Heather has been profoundly influenced by the works of Ayn Rand.
On this podcast, we were joined by Ed Hudgins, research director of The Heartland Institute, a great organization dedicated to discovering, developing and promoting free-market solutions to social and economic problems. Before Ed was with The Heartland Institute, he was a senior scholar at The Atlas Society, an organization that promotes the philosophy of reason, freedom and individualism espoused in the works of Ayn Rand.
I really enjoyed my conversation with Heather and Ed, and I think readers who are interested in literature, the works of Ayn Rand, the primacy of reason, the morality of capitalism and the eminent virtue of independence portrayed so exquisitely in the character of Howard Roark will find this discussion both interesting and uplifting.
So, if you want to celebrate a great intellectual achievement that has been influencing people for some 75 years, I invite you to do so with me.