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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.…
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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (vuoden 1998 painos)

– tekijä: Ron Chernow

JäseniäKirja-arvostelujaSuosituimmuussijaKeskimääräinen arvioMaininnat
1,924256,358 (4.21)17
A biography of America's first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., drawing from Rockefeller's personal papers to provide information about his rustic origins, his creation of Standard Oil, his often controversial business tactics, and his personal relationships and attributes.
Jäsen:melvinsico
Teoksen nimi:Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
Kirjailijat:Ron Chernow
Info:Random House (1998), Edition: 1st ed, Hardcover
Kokoelmat:Oma kirjasto
Arvio (tähdet):*****
Avainsanoja:Business Biography

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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (tekijä: Ron Chernow)

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Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 25) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
Among the best biographies I have read. Read it 2-3 times while reading it the first time just to be sure I picked up all the details. The man who willed and worked Standard Oil into existence was also equally well known for his philanthropy. How many new he made the initial grant to establish Spellman College, or the the first and ongoing large grants to establish the University of Chicago? ( )
  starkravingmad | May 3, 2021 |
bio. ( )
  sherribrari | Apr 17, 2021 |
I liked it. Chernow uses lots of primary material, giving the biography realism and letting us often hear the voices of John D and the people of his world. It was an especially good choice for me to read while the kids and I study the gilded age and though at first I was taken aback by the volume's length, I don't see how Chernow could have done his subject justice without covering everything he did. ( )
  mullinstreetzoo | Feb 12, 2021 |
Massive biography about a man that lived for a long time. Born in the 1830s, died in the 1930s, John D. Rockefeller lived through the American industrial and commercial revolution.

Although the man is clearly fascinating, anyone trying to document it is in over his head, and that I think summarizes this book quite well. The author tries to describe a man that both changed over time and was extremely careful and selective with private information. In a way I'm sure that the author succeeds better than others but it's still far from the full picture.

Nowadays Rockefeller is mostly known for philanthropy. Many things (institutions, buildings) over the world, but especially in the USA, carry his (and his dynasty's) name. The source of that wealth is not as nice though. By pooling with the railroads and other parties he managed to create an efficient oil business and monopoly just as oil became very important (first for kerosene and lubrication, later as fuel for motor vehicles), and to protect it, he used any possible means, save direct violence, to remove competitors. Without a doubt he would be a major economic villain in a modern world, put away in the deepest dungeons, but this was before current business laws so at most we can call him deeply unethical.

Up against his dark side you also see his background as a religious fanatic and puritan. Contradicting, yes, absolutely, and the author argues, and I believe him, that he managed to rationalize every bad deed with some greater good. As the fanatic he was, he had no trouble seeing himself as a higher power, allowed to play with people's life. (Fanatic is my word, I don't think the author ever used it.)

Exactly how involved John D. Rockefeller was can never be said since he relatively quickly distanced himself from the dirty deeds by appointing henchmen and avoid avoided all hard copies of information and decisions and instead relied on oral agreements. Not that people thought he was innocent, but as he was also a good actor (first in hearings and courts, later in personal movies) so it was hard to get anything to stick.

Listening to the author the economic side is well-covered and a not very interesting aspect of his life and he instead seems to try to focus on charities, gifts and John D. Rockefeller's relationship with his siblings, parents, wife, children and grand children. For this he replays events from various angles which means that eventually the book becomes rather repetitive as well as confusing since the time span moves back and forth. Keeping track of in what order things happen is very hard and I think the author made a big mistake in not focusing harder on the chronology. By seeing the order of the events it is easier to form an idea on why things happened.

A large potion of the book is also exclusively focused on his only son, John D. Rockefeller Jr. (called Junior), for which there apparently is much more material but who is also much less interesting as he mainly just handled trusts and charities and did almost nothing controversial in his whole life (the one exception, the Massacre at Ludlow, gets a lot of pages).

Massive as it is, this biography was a rather disappointing read, made worse by its size. I wanted to know more about what made John D. Rockefeller uniquely successful and that is a question completely avoided and absolutely not answered. If I want to read about troubled relationships inside a family there are millions of stories (fictional and non-fictional) to choose from. I also ended up not liking John D. Rockefeller very much. In the end he did a lot of good for american education and medicine, but that was more a factor of him channeling immense amounts of dirty money than his own achievements.

As the richest man in the "world" (USA), he was preceded by Commodore Vanderbilt and it was reading the Commodore biography that triggered this read. They couldn't have been more different. Where Commodore Vanderbilt was a hands-on man that was deeply involved in every-day-affairs until he died, with a lot of honor and a lot of visible human emotions, John D. Rockefeller was a calculating businessman which happened to be able to exploit one of the largest business opportunities in modern history (oil) with his success as proof to himself that he was heavenly sent.

I like Commodore Vanderbilt.
I don't like John D. Rockefeller.
I don't like this biography very much.
Next read of a biography will not happen any time soon... ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Wow, this is a fabulous listen (audio book) . Never a dull moment, Chernow has done the incredible, made a tyrants long life exciting and stunning, while still showing what an absolute scum Rockefeller was. Maybe Chernow can do trump's life, he might be able to make it readable (instead of wanting to tear my head off).

Audiobook note :excellent narrator ( )
  marshapetry | Oct 16, 2020 |
Näyttää 1-5 (yhteensä 25) (seuraava | näytä kaikki)
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Sinun täytyy kirjautua sisään voidaksesi muokata Yhteistä tietoa
Katso lisäohjeita Common Knowledge -sivuilta (englanniksi).
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To my brother, Dr. Bart Chernow, who pulled me back, at the last moment, from the brink, and to the lovely Valerie
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In the early 1900s, as Rockefeller vied with Andrew Carnegie for the title of the world's richest man, a spirited rivalry arose between France and Germany, with each claiming to be Rockefeller's ancestral land.
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A biography of America's first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, Sr., drawing from Rockefeller's personal papers to provide information about his rustic origins, his creation of Standard Oil, his often controversial business tactics, and his personal relationships and attributes.

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