Ayn Rand’s works, mostly Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are considered by many American readers to be among the most important things they have ever read. I won’t disagree with this idea, although in the area of understanding one’s way in life I would give the preference to The Fountainhead.
While I don’t have any illusions concerning the direct literary quality of its text, I shall still say that it is one of the best and most important books that have ever been written. The book that teaches that there is not a single more important thing in the world than the work a man does, and only according to this work and not a person’s intentions a man should be judged.
In the very beginning of the novel, the main character, Howard Roark, tells his former schoolmate when he turns to him for an advice concerning his career choice: “Never ask people about your work. How can you live without knowing what you have to do?” This is the idea that goes through the entire text of the novel and is more important than any economical and sociological ideals Rand tries to convey. It is the best way to find out whether you are doing your work or not – if you know what to do next, if you know what is right – it is yours. If you need to ask others about advice – it is better to look for something else.
Although the fame of The Fountainhead has been somewhat dimmed by its successor, Atlas Shrugged, I still think it is a very important text in its own right.