I really enjoyed reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, so I knew I had to read her other major work of fiction (which actually came first), The Fountainhead. This book was just as enjoyable and inspiring. It focuses on the concept of a "heroic" man who by production and achievement in his own selfish way represents progress of our civilization and the best man can be. This book explains how selfishness is a virtue and how pity, sacrifice, and altruism are really not. The idea is that by doing work in a "primary" capacity, actually building, making, achieving things in the way you and you alone think is right, you create happiness for yourself and are self-reliant. Relying on other producers and being a "second-hander" is the opposite of this (mooching off others' achievements while criticizing and punishing them nonetheless).
A lot of the ideas resonated with me, and I was really inspired by the main character and how he is able to face the world, not care what others think, and do things the way he thinks is right, no matter what (and ends up contributing significantly to society along the way).
Ayn Rand's focus on production and achievement reminds me a lot of the current trend towards encouraging people (like in the tech community) to MAKE instead of just watch, theorize, and plan, and I like that.
The book was filled with lots of details about architecture (the author even worked at an architectural firm for a while as part of her research). I enjoyed these details and am actually now interested in learning more about architecture and building.
Below are my other notes and takeaways from the book.