Art most certainly influences life-even when it comes to private equity. Just ask Roark Capital Group, the Atlanta, Ga.-headquartered private equity firm that named itself after Howard Roark, the protagonist of Ayn Rand’s pre-Atlas Shrugged classic, The Fountainhead. As a character in the novel, Roark is an aspiring architect, a man with an independent vision who refuses to compromise his creativity for the sake of appealing to the status quo.
Roark is expelled from architecture school and ostracized from the architectural community for refusing to copy the mass-produced classical styles of the past-the very styles his unimaginative, people-pleasing peers swear by.
Roark’s unwavering commitment to his own style even puts him at odds with the press as well as other influential people and institutions. He defies their constant outcries to give up. Instead, he pursues his passions with a renewed zeal-even designing gas stations when he must. By the end of the book, the former architectural elite are exposed as frauds and Howard Roark, because of his integrity, is discovered as a true visionary.