Three Leadership Lessons from The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Leadership depends on individual thought. Creative thought. Directive thought. Leadership depends on people who think differently, cut through the confusion, and take a course of action that’s different than the crowd.

Ayn Rand, in The Fountainhead, creates a stirring story of two young architects who set out to build their lives. Peter Keating and Howard Roark represent opposing views of society. Peter Keating lives for the approval of the people. He aims for fame and recognition. He maneuvers his way through the social elite to gain status and acclaim. Keating is a “second-hander.” A man who lives off of what others think of him.

Howard Roark builds buildings for the sake of building great structures. He’s a creator, an individual. Howard Roark could not care less about what others think. He lives for the sole principle of building something great. Not great as defined by popular thought. Greatness according to his own style and building prowess.

It’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. I can’t stop thinking about it.

Will I live as a second-hander? Or will I be a true leader, a creator? Here’s three lessons I’ve taken away from this incredible book.

To be a creator, you must…

  • Think for yourself
    1. In views about life
    2. Politics – too many people don’t know what they believe or why
    3. In music – listen to something different and turn off the radio
    4. In career – Assess your strangths and plan your career accordingly
    5. In friendship – spend time with quality people, not popular people
    6. In social circles – there’s no “in crowd”
    7. Stand for something, not everything – know what matters to you and why
  • Be yourself
    • In relationships (No chameleons aloud) – everyone else is already taken
    • In your culture (European, African, Asian, American, etc) – the American way is not the only way
    • In your personality – Don’t be conformed to this world’s marketing
    • At work – add value and think outside the box, or you are expendable
  • Activate yourself
    • In your free time – turn off your television
    • In your creativity – tap into it!
    • In your family – make memories by making a difference
    • In your moral decisions – stand for great principles – even if it means you stand out

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