Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Fountainhead - Read by Chad

This was my second time through The Fountainhead. Caitlin and I first read it together while on our honeymoon. Romantic, I know.
In The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand explains her theories of the glorification of man embodied in her main character, Howard Roark. According to Rand, true happiness can only be obtained by a strict adherence to one's purest desires. In other words, complete selfishness.
Howard Roark is an architect in the early 20th century who's genius could earn him a fortune if he could only forfeit his own desires to design buildings according to the ideas and desires of others. To do that, he would have to forgo his desires which he can not do. Instead, he lives a meager but happy life, designing the type of structures that satisfy his desires, regardless if the client(s) likes them or not. Some recognize his genius and support him. Other's recognize it, and try to extinguish it.
While I don't agree with all of Rand's ideas, there is something to be said for those who find happiness in doing that which they truly want to do, regardless if that thing brings them success (according to a worldly standard) or not. Happiness is success according to Rand. And one can never find happiness down someone else's path. That is, except for the Savior's path but I guess Rand had never heard about the Church.
In conclusion, this is one of my favorite books. I highly recommend it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell

I really liked this book. This book, and The Tipping Point both remind me of Freakonomics. The author has a way of coming at problems and questions sideways so you don't anticipate where he's going and then, bam! there's a connection that you never thought of before. Every chapter is insanely well researched, to the point where you think "how would you ever think to look up something like that?"

The book is about our ability to make decisions without thinking or considering options. How we can look at a situation and just 'know' something right away. A good example of this kind of thinking from the book goes something like this: A man and his father are in a car wreck. The father is killed. The man is rushed to the ER and the doctor sees him and shouts, "This is my son!" Who is the doctor? The doctor is the man's mother. You don't have to think about it, the answer just comes, bam. The book talks about how this kind of thought process affects every aspect of our life and the decisions we make. It's really interesting stuff.