Letter 072, pg. 3


As a minor compliment, let me congratulate you on some of your very good sentences. They have the quality of a calm, penetrating intelligence, and a nice kind of bitter, humorous wisdom. For instance: “He wanted to start at the bottom and work to the top—not start with illusion and work down to reality.” I think this is very well put—considering what that sentence covers. 

In conclusion, just as a personal remark, I want to say that it was very interesting to me to discover how you judge people. You place competence above all, as the test virtue which determines the whole character of a person. So do I. But I don’t know anyone else who does, or who understands how and why it is the test virtue. Howard Roark does. Read page 329—about Roark’s attitude toward his employees. In a general way, that attitude toward men is the whole theme of “The Fountainhead” and of the difference between creators and second-handers. I could not help wondering whether that was why you liked “The Fountainhead”, quite apart from modern architecture.

Well, I’ll be very happy if all this is of help to you in writing. Good luck—and all my best wishes to you.

Sincerely yours,

Ayn Rand