Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Have you ever wondered how modern business evolved to what it is today? If so then look no farther than the biography Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. It deconstructs how he was able to build the Standard Oil Trust into the money machine that it was and shows how he helped lay the foundation for the way that modern business is ran today.
Long before he imagined of becoming the richest man on the planet, he had very humble beginnings. Growing up with his parents, he was able to see 2 very different personalities. His mother was a very nurturing and caring lady while his dad was a scandalous, two timer who would disappear all the time and eventually even started a second family in secret. Rockefellar loved both of his parents but he learned very different lessons from both of them which he carried with him and used through the rest of his life.
While he was young, his family moved several times before finally settling in Cleveland, Ohio. Early on Rockefellar showed a great business sense because of his meticulous bookkeeping, which actually helped land him his first real job. It didn’t take long before the young Rockefellar worked himself into a business partnership. In seeing the ups and downs of being in the oil drilling business, the young Rockefellar thought it to be more prosperous to be in the oil refining business. Which looking back now was the moment that really set him up for success later on in his life.
He continued to build his business up but eventually he saw the need for some structure amongst the oil companies. So he formed the Standard Oil Trust and slowly either brought other oil companies into the Trust or just bought them outright. All during this time his wealth continued to grow through dividends paid out which he continued to reinvest back into the Trust. This compounding factor helped him grow to be the wealthiest man on the planet. For three decades, he continued to build his empire as a tough business man. He had such a reputation as a cut throat business man that there was even a series of articles published about him in Time Magazine that really portrayed him in a very bad light.
Despite his bad reputation, he had always held the belief that it was the duty of wealthy people to give back through charitable donations. So for a lengthy time, he had been giving money for education, medical research and more. His son John Rockefellar, Jr. spent most of his life working in philanthropy giving away portions of the family fortune. This actually worked in favor of Rockefellar Sr. since it really helped his public relations. By the time that John D. Rockefellar, Sr. died in 1937 he was considered to be “World Citizen #1” by a lot of people.
This book is a very lengthy book at 832 pages but I highly recommend it. Rockefellar is an interesting character whose life is very intriguing to learn about. The author Ron Chernow is an extraordinary who is definitely in a class of his own. I was so impressed by the author that I have already purchased one of his other books and intend to read it soon. Believe me when I say that I have only given a small outline above, the amount of detail that the author puts into this book is just amazing. If anyone has read this book or has any recommendation of a similar nature I would be very happy to hear them. I hope that everyone had a great New Years and I look forward to hearing from you soon. Until then happy investing!!!
Thanks for your detailed book review. I love reading books like these about the lives and successes of the old robber barons. I’ve read about Jay Gould, Vanderbilt and a few others but this one sounds great too, so I’ll likely pick up a copy. Thanks again!
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