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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Vintage)

Titan The Life of John D Rockefeller Sr Vintage National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A biography that has many of the best attributes of a novel Wonderfully fluent and compelling The New York Times A triumph of the art of biography Unflaggin

  • Title: Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Vintage)
  • Author: Ron Chernow
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 286
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A biography that has many of the best attributes of a novel Wonderfully fluent and compelling The New York Times A triumph of the art of biography Unflaggingly interesting, it brings John D Rockefeller Sr to life through sustained narrative portraiture of the large scale, nineteenth century kind The New York TimeNational Book Critics Circle Award Finalist A biography that has many of the best attributes of a novel Wonderfully fluent and compelling The New York Times A triumph of the art of biography Unflaggingly interesting, it brings John D Rockefeller Sr to life through sustained narrative portraiture of the large scale, nineteenth century kind The New York Times Book ReviewIn this endlessly engrossing book, National Book Award winning biographer Ron Chernow devotes his penetrating powers of scholarship and insight to the Jekyll and Hyde of American capitalism In the course of his nearly 98 years, John D Rockefeller, Sr was known as both a rapacious robber baron, whose Standard Oil Company rode roughshod over an industry, and a philanthropist who donated money lavishly to universities and medical centers He was the terror of his competitors, the bogeyman of reformers, the delight of caricaturists and an utter enigma Drawing on unprecedented access to Rockefeller s private papers, Chernow reconstructs his subject s troubled origins his father was a swindler and a bigamist and his single minded pursuit of wealth But he also uncovers the profound religiosity that drove him to give all I could his devotion to his family and the wry sense of humor that made him the country s most colorful codger Titan is a magnificent biography balanced, revelatory, and elegantly written Important and impressive Reveals the man behind both the mask and the myth The Wall Street Journal One of the great American biographies Chernow writes with rich impartiality He turns the machinations of Standard Oil into fascinating social history TimeFrom the Trade Paperback edition.

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    1 thought on “Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Vintage)

    1. Without doubt this book deserves five stars. Those five stars mean quite simply that I loved every minute spent with the book. This is my favorite by Ron Chernow. In this book there is so much more to relate to personally than when you read about an American President from a bygone era. The book covers with great depth John D. Rockefeller, Sr.'s parents, siblings, wife, children, grandchildren and all the in-laws. You follow how Sr. made his money - all those with whom he ran Standard Oil, all t [...]

    2. Titan is another Ron Chernow masterpiece. Titan refers to John D. Rockefeller the oil tycoon and philanthropist. He had two qualities that may have been responsible for his great business acumen. The first was that he was a deeply religious Baptist. His belief that God would always take care of him allowed him to make, what some would consider, considerable gambles. The second quality was his reverence for money. He valued money so much that he recorded each expenditure in his personal ledger. H [...]

    3. Truly magisterial.I came away from Custer's Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America with a thirst for more on early US industrial magnates and their corrupt shenanigans, operating in an age free of regulation, tax or indeed any interference by government, really. Is it surprising to find that under such circumstances the market does not necessarily regulate itself, and what insinuates itself into every nook and cranny is a massive all-embracing monopoly, that kills competition through ta [...]

    4. "Standard Oil had taught the American public an important but paradoxical lesson: Free markets, if left completely to their own devices, can wind up terribly unfree. Competitive capitalism did not exist in a state of nature but had to be defined or restrained by law."- Ron Chernow, TitanOne of the great truths about America is the paradoxes built into it, almost from the beginning. It was the land of the free, but built largely on the backs of slaves. It has all the bunting of freedom, but often [...]

    5. It's only March but I suspect this will end up being my favorite book of the year. I listened to the audio - 35 hours in less than a week. That's unheard of for me, unless I'm on an obscenely long road trip but this book was exceptional. I'm not sure if I kept listening because I couldn't sleep or if I couldn't sleep because I kept listening.Rockefeller has always been an inspiration to me in both business and personal life although we have little in common, like the fact that he was richer than [...]

    6. Fascinating account of a Gilded Age titan much worse known than Carnegie.His charming but scheming bigamist wandering con-artist father reminds me of my old observation that a lot of very successful people seem to be high but not *too* high on the psychopathy continuum and have had difficult or abusive childhoods; while we tend to think of psychopathy as all negative, aspects of it, like its heritability, are consistent with it being a lifecycle strategy under balancing selection, indicating adv [...]

    7. One of the great American Biographies. Chernow always delivers.The Narrator Grover Gardner, has a monotone type of voice that reminds one of Jack Webb, and yet it seems like exactly the type of voice the listener needs to help them slice through these large historical tomes.

    8. Amazing biography/history lesson. This man was born to make money, obviously was good at it, but married a discrete religious woman and raised his children to be humble. 'I am so happy little John has told me what he wants for Christmas, so that I may deny him it.' Sounds harsh in our over-indulgent days, but when you see they likes of Paris Hilton and other horrifying progeny of the wealthy in the 'news', it makes you long for the days of hard work, discretion, and modesty.

    9. This book was interesting initially, but became more of an effort the further into it I got. Rockefeller was certainly an interesting man and his contributions to American business were highly significant. However, once the author established the type of man he was, what his contributions were, and the impact he had on society, the book became an exercise in perseverance for me. Serious students of the late industrial revolution and the rise of American and international business, may find it mo [...]

    10. I know Chernow has such a great reputation as a biographer, so I don't want to be too critical. I'm also biased because I just read The Power Broker, which has to be the absolute best biography in the world and the most well-written non-fiction I've ever read. However, I was not too impressed with Chernow's writing style. He added details that were unnecessary. The Power Broker is over 1,000 pages long, but I really believe that every word served a purpose. Titan, on the other hand, seemed infla [...]

    11. Titan is a titanic book about a man perfectly suited for the time at which he came to young adulthood. The discovery of oil in western Pennsylvania would have led to riches if John D. Rockefeller had not been born, but his combination of personal frugality, keen competitiveness, self-control and business acumen created a monopoly and personal wealth not matched until Bill Gates used some of the same techniques with the advent of personal computers.Rockefeller is an interesting character and his [...]

    12. I really enjoyed this book. Such a fascinating person. John D. was the richest man in the world of his time and the world's first billionaire. And one only reaches such heights through dubious means; including extortion, bribes, back door deals, payroll politicians, and general cruelty to all the little fish below.There are many reasons to demonize someone such as him, but what surprised me, was how I often found myself liking him. He was excessively frugal, never ostentatious, and extremely cha [...]

    13. Long, but really interesting book about the head of the Rockefeller family who earned enough money to boggle the richest person's mind. He earned billions of dollars at a time when one million would set one for life.Ably narrated by one of my favorites, Grover Gardner, this book was especially interesting to me for its venues including Ohio (Toledo and Cleveland) and New York City that I am very familiar with.The book is primarily about John D but, as it should, gives background of his parents a [...]

    14. Well-researched and fair biography that is wonderfully written by Chernow. Rockefeller lived a long time (1839-1937) and Chernow does an excellent job of chronicling how society changed over his lifetime and how Rockefeller helped to influence prevailing views of large corporations and wealthy businessmen. Throughout the book, Chernow deftly flushes out Rockefeller's often conflicting business moves and motives vs his ultra-religious private life. Chernow does not attempt to dissuade anyone from [...]

    15. Wow, this one took a lot of effort. If there's one thing this book is, it's well-researched and comprehensive. Chernow clearly spent years pouring through primary sources, conducting his own interviews, and reading the biographical attempts of other authors. You'll finish this book feeling an expert on Rockefeller, the principles that guided him, and context in which he operated.This book is not easy to get through: it's 700 pages about one person's life I don't care how important you are; there [...]

    16. Titan was a very comprehensive biography of John D. Rockefeller - almost too comprehensive. There was a lot of repetition and approximately half the book is about the people around Rockefeller including a lot of time spent on his son and some of his business associates, but this allows for a very dynamic and complete picture of the era and Rockefeller's role in it. The most intriguing part of this book is the deftness in which Chernow handles the dichotomy of Rockefeller's character: that such a [...]

    17. I drive a lot for my job. To pass the time on the road, I've begun to listen to audio books. I bought a subscription to audible, which at $15/month seemed a little steep, but has turned out to be well worth the investment. The first book I downloaded is Ron Chernow's, Titan: The of Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr I brought up the whole thing about listening to audiobooks in the car only because, knowing myself, there is no other way I would have gotten all the way through a book like Titan in an [...]

    18. Having read this, I can only assume that if Chernow lives long enough he'll write some kind of "aw shucks" bio about President Trump. I even saw parallels to modern characterizations of the Trump children as "young men" in his framing of Junior. Sure, the aspirational autocrat doesn't have the whole church fixation, but I'm sure Chernow will find some kind of "gee whiz" about him eventually. This gets 2 stars because it's quite a useful overview of how they shaped the modern world. But it lacks [...]

    19. A fascinating and surprisingly peppy biography of Rockefeller. His charming snake-oil salesman and bigamist father, Rockefeller's own duality--the cold-blooded businessman and the pious philanthropist--and the variety of characters among his children and grandchildren form a better-than-fiction cast. I picked this book up now that I live in Cleveland, to learn more about how Rockefeller got his start here and the legacies he left behind. But I found I have other connections, too: My great-grandf [...]

    20. This is what I took away from John D. Rockefeller, once the richest man in America and the largest benefactor of his time.Rockefeller was an avid saver. "Save when you can, not when you have to." He donated even when he himself did not have much. But he always calculated the amount of money he could donate and gave not a penny more or less.Rockefeller was an avid lender. He always kept vast cash reserves. "The impression was gaining ground with me that it was a good thing to let the money be my [...]

    21. Entirely way too much detail for the regular human. This is very long and I did skip a large section in the middle when it was focusing mainly on the business dealings (I’m more interested in the human side of his life), but RC is a great biographer so what I did listen to (which was the majority of the book) was interesting.

    22. The name John D. Rockefeller conjures up the birth of the oil industry and money – lots and lots of money. Even by today’s standards – pun intended – and taking into account inflation, John D. amassed a staggering fortune, (much of which he “gave away”), with his creation of Standard Oil. Titan is a very detailed, and as this reader found, a very engaging, cradle to grave biography of Rockefeller – the good, the bad, the ugly – and wildly contradictory.Rockefeller was a fervent B [...]

    23. This was an absolutely superb biography. I loved Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamiilton, but this was even better. Chernow is such a good writer that the weighty book reads like fiction. He could have gotten lost in the weeds in details of the complex business operations, but he was able to bring to three dimensional life the complex and reclusive personna of John D. Rockefeller Sr. Chernow's research is broad and meticulous and he evaluates Rockefeller's astounding business success and his [...]

    24. No doubt my love for biographies influences my enjoyment of Titan. Chernow's detailed and comprehensive view of John D. Rodkefeller's life is quite compelling. I learned much about the man that I did not know. His dual persona of a cut-throat businessman in the tumultuous area of the late 1800s combined with his unparalleled generosity and philanthropic commitment throughout his life leaves the reader wondering "who exactly is John D. Rockefeller?"On the business side, his formation and building [...]

    25. This is a good history/biography. Clearly written, easy to follow and well-researched.The rub is that it focuses so much on the duality of Rockefeller that it pushes everything else to serve these ends. The contrasting of his massive philanthropy with his underhanded business tactics is constant. As is his obsession with religion with his obsession with money. What I don't understand is why, exactly, this is treated as such an aberration. We are all studies in internal&external contradiction [...]

    26. An exceptional biography of John D. Rockefeller. This story follows the arc of his life nicely. Great detail (no surprise to those who have read other of this author's works). If interested in Rockefeller's life, this is a terrific book to read.

    27. I"m reminded of the Yogi Berra quote "If you come to a fork in the road, take it." Rockefeller did just that over and over and over

    28. “Titan” by Chernow is one of the most surprising books I’ve read in a long time. From Rockefeller’s personal life (he was super religious and his dad was a bigamist?!) to Standard Oil business practices (the board made decisions only by consensus?!) and Rockefeller’s far-reaching impact on philanthropy (he pioneered rigorous philanthropy and created UChicago, Rockefeller University, Spelman, AND ELIMINATED HOOKWORM IN THE US SOUTH?!), Titan was a revelation.Chernow does a fantastic job [...]

    29. The life and times of John D. Rockefeller (Senior) are in good hands with Ron Chernow at the helm. While many will know the Rockefeller name as synonymous with money and American business acumen, Chernow seeks to provide the reader with a more thorough understanding of the man, his beliefs, and how he started a multi-generational familial investment in business and political power. In this wonderfully researched biography, Chernow explores John D Rockefeller from three primary perspectives: the [...]

    30. This book is the size of a cinderblock. I think it weighs 400 pounds. Opening to the first page is intimidating…like taking your first step to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. I haven’t climbed Kilimanjaro… But I did manage to read this book and it is really, really, really good. (I figure if a book is about 800 pages one ‘really’ isn’t good enough). I knew very little about Rockefeller other than what I remembered from 8th grade US History class – which was nothing beyond the fact that he w [...]

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