I'd agree with James Saunders -- "Atlas Shrugged" brings to fruition ideas that were only beginning to flower in "The Fountainhead." The two books are cut from the same cloth, but the stitching is more finished in "Atlas." That's not to say "The Fountainhead" is a lesser book, but that I think you'll understand it better and enjoy it more after reading "Atlas Shrugged."
My experience has been that most people who read "Atlas Shrugged" come away with a voracious appetite for more Ayn Rand; why not order BOTH books, save a little on the shipping, and have "The Fountainhead" ready when you finish "Atlas Shrugged." Both books belong in any good personal library anyway, and you'll be glad to have them.
I actually read ANTHEM first. But between the two you listed, I think you should read the FOUNTAINHEAD first. I've heard someone describe those two novels in this way. "FOUNTAINHEAD explains that the leeches hate you. ATLAS shrugged gives more detail into the leech thought process, so you see WHY they hate you."
I agree. Read The Fountainhead first, then Atlas Shrugged. The only question is will Kindle have enough memory for Atlans Shrugged? Just a joke. Its like 1200 pages. It is an investment of time, but worth it. When I re-read it a few months ago, I told myself I was only allowed one chapter a day. You will find yourself wanting to read more and it will fly by.
Atlas Shrugged is better but you'll have to skip at least half of the "this is John Gault speaking" chapter to get the most enjoyment out of it. I like both books, but Ayn Rand has a tenancy to get on her soapbox and just rant. She does it a lot more in Atlas, and I think that is why many people don't like it. He thoughts are more develop in Atlas though and the plot better illustrates her point because of it.
As a novel, I prefer the Fountainhead. As a vehicle for Rand's philosophy, I think Atlas Shrugged would be the best choice. Personally, I'd do almost anything for a Howard Roark, but John Gault seems too distant and barely human to relate to.
Atlas Shrugged. Hands down. Fountainhead is great; Atlas is astounding. It's hard to believe a human being wrote it.
As for it's length, I wish it were 10,000 pages. I could've read it for the rest of my life.
Here's my suggestion: Atlas, then We the Living. Fountainhead is similar, yet inferior to Atlas. We the Living is different in its own right. Anthem is interesting but very thin compared to the other 3 Rand novels.
For me, F is perfect; AS, self-indulgent. Philosophically, F is 'Aristotelian' (ethics of excellence and self-realization); AS adds a 'utilitarian' outlook--these minds are great in part because they are socially valuable (in fact, indispensable), which has the seeds of a conflict with her celebration of individual freedom and even 'egoism.' In the end, JG chooses the right, and socially useful course; but would it be equally 'good' if he chose to stay 'on strike?' There is a side of AR which says 'yes' and, I submit, a side that says, 'no.'
If you are young, read Fountainhead. It gives reason to the newly found "I" in your world. If you are looking for Rand's ultra-ultra conservative philosophy, go right to Atlas Shrugged. Either way, she was a fantastic writer.
Atlas Shrugged is an overbearing, philosophically laden, deadened version of Fountainhead. I regret reading AS, it was a reiteration of Fountainhead, but bogged down and overbearing, it ruined some of the memory of Fountainhead for me and soured me on Rand in general.
The Fountainhead is a fine novel. Atlas Shrugged is a groping, cumbersome philosophic treatise poorly disguised as a novel. Too many monologues.
Fountainhead fo shizzle - every page is worthwhile. Atlas Shrugged sort of beats a dead horse IMHO... good characters, but can get a little preachy and after a while felt like saying, I GET THE POINT, AYN... The Fountainhead is easier to get thru.
Yes Robin, well said. Atlas Shrugged beats a dead horse. Enough already, we get your point. It shouldn't take OVER 1200 pages to say what you are trying to say. I think it is the most over rated book I have ever read, and I highly recommend not wasting your time on this book.
I absolutely loved Fountainhead. I also liked Anthem. I will be starting AS soon.
Unfortunately, after reading exceptionally well written books like Fountainhead and Darkness at Noon (probably my favorite of all), I find myself unable to finish most other books I start because they are either poorly written or contain so much filler that you end up skipping page after page to get back to the storyline.
I read Darkness at Noon three times. I personally think it was one of the greatest books ever written.
I actually despise Rand and find both novels to be unrealistic; that being said, The Fountainhead is a generally uplifting book, aside from the cliche rape-fantasy sequence.
The book would have benefited from the presence of an editor with a backbone who could have reined in Rand's tendency to verbosity and dense, philosophical speeches. I find her presentation of her ideas to be a bit hamfisted as well.
All in all, a good premise for a story, executed fairly. A satisfying read, if you agree with Rand and/or are capable of taking her with a grain of salt.
I actually disagree with alot of Rand's conclusions, even though I love the arguments she makes and how she makes them. She really is just a reactionary product of her upbringing in Russia. I agree the rape thing was sort of dumb, and both stories are unrealistic but that is by design. I'm pretty left wing and I actually think her concepts in the Fountainhead are as liberal as you can get. Individuality and daring to be different are progressive views. IMHO she just draws the wrong conclusions as portrayed in Atlas Shrugged - She assumes that all businesses would be run by ethical people like Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart, when in reality there are alot of James Taggarts out there and so you need some governmental oversight. Look at what happened by 2008 when Wall Street was left unchecked... it almost destroyed the economy!
I actually did go with the fountainhead first and loved it. I was 20 when I read it and was amazed by it... Ayn and her world were opened up to me and it was crazy but somewhat comforting to learn about it. I do admit it made me a little bit crazy as I began to classify those around me as "Roark" types and "Keating" types..despising the latter! But the world can't be classified into such harsh black and white as both are extremes. Yes the book kind of goes over the top but at the same time...it does make you wonder what the world would be like if there were more howard roark types, we cannot all by like him but I wish that more of us could in the sense of not being materialistic, being independent, original and honest. Ayn Rand is quoted saying something to the effect of "an honest man should never consume more than they have produced." How can you disagree with that?? She makes some valid points. It is greed and dishonesty that has lead the world to be in the mess that we are in now. And being in the design world myself..I DESPISE how blatant designers and architects rip each other off just to make a quick buck..I mean why go into this business if that is what you want to do? Howard Roark is an extreme but most of his characteristics and how he lives his life is admirable. The rape scene didn't bother me...I may be wrong but I interpreted it as the only way Dominique would ever loose her virginity. She would never give a man the satisfaction of possessing her..no man in her eyes was worthy of that. She could not and would not be dominated by anyone or anything. And although I believe that she wanted Howard to be the man that changed things for her...she would not go willingly so it was rape but not really because she wanted it to happen-is that what makes it a cliche? anyway it has because one of my favorite books and I am glad I read it first like most people on here said to do.
However my problem now is that I'm afraid to read Atlas Shrugged because I do not want the fountainhead to be ruined for me. However with the movie coming out I am overcoming my fear and picking up Atlas Shrugged at the library tonight...