Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Submission

The Seattle Public Library Northgate branch book club met last night to discuss THE SUBMISSION by Amy Waldman. It is an intelligent book that skillfully deals with timeless issues of prejudice, conforming to pressures of a group, and the right of an individual to take credit for the intellectual property or design he creates. From the first few pages, I saw that this book deals with the gifted and talented individual who is asked to conform, compromise, to blend in, rather than to be himself. It reminded me of THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand and I am now in the middle of rereading this book by Ayn Rand. Both are about architects who are asked to conform, blend in. They are both asked to modify their brilliant designs. Khan in Waldman's book was asked to let someone else take the credit for his design or to withdraw. Howard Roark in Rand's book was asked to add classical design ideas to his modernistic design so as not to threaten the architectural community. Only recently did the U.S. Supreme Court rule that the inventor has the right to profit from his invention. Before this time when an individual at a university or research facility invented something original, the intellectual property rights belonged to the institution for whom he worked. Khan in Amy Waldman's book felt he was being erased when he was asked to allow someone else to take credit for his submission or withdraw. This is a powerful book that should be read along side THE FOUNTAINHEAD by Ayn Rand.

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