Monday, June 29, 2009

Blaze a new path like Howard Roark


"The FountainHead" by Ayn Rand is an eye opener in many ways. Howard Roark is an architecture school student who has a different philosophy on how buildings should be built. He wanted to build structures that will be aesthetically pleasing, economically meaningful, in tune with the environment and the building should make a statement. Whereas the industry was aping what the Gothic and romantic architectures of the past had built - with meaningless arches, facades and wasted space.

He is thrown out of his college because he refuses to design the traditional architecture and struggles for work - but he never once compromises on his ideals. He waits and his time comes and the world accepts his style of architecture. It is one man against a well established industry who tries hard to keep him down. But the harder you push a ball into water - the faster it rises out and with more force - Howard Roark wins in the end.

As an entrepreneur - you might have battles yourself - as you are trying to blaze a new path, a new product, a new concept. You might be told many a times that your idea will not work. Listen to them to retune your product or offering - but do not get discouraged. If you have faith in your idea just stick to your guns - you will win in the end. There are so many success stories out there where perseverance and believing in oneself helped create an industry.

This book is a hard read - 600 or so pages - and it takes a full 100 pages before the pace picks up. And the first half of the book is quite discouraging because Howard Roark goes to the very bottom - but the second half gets very interesting and you can relish his victories. Somewhere in the middle while Howard Roark is fighting a battle, he gives courage to a drama writer  - to take the hard path. The advice he gives very much will apply to an entrepreneur.

Some interesting quotes from the book :

"Wheeling his bicycle by his side, the boy took the narrow path down the slope ofthe hill to the valley and the houses below. Roark looked after him. He had never seen that boy before and he would never see him again. He did not know that he had given someone the courage to face a lifetime"

" I don't build in order to have clients. I have clients in order to build!"

"The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me"

Howard Roark you are my hero :)


  1. Another inspiring post Venkat. Thanks for sharing these great book reviews.

  2. Dilip Sanyal4:03 PM

    this is a nice idea.. i don't have a startup yet but i know that the hectic life of a entreprenur does not allow reading lot of inspiring books.. so a book club concept is good..where ppl share what they foudn inspiring in a book they managed to read.. who knows which business may just get saved due to a few motivational quotes!