Friday, August 26, 2011

TiTAN- John D. Rockefeller

          A National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, "Titan" draws on unprecedented access to John D. Rockefeller's private papers to reconstruct the story of his troubled origins and his single-minded pursuit of wealth.
          Seldom does an author so thoroughly reveal the essence of a man; Ron does an amazing job in revealing even the tiniest details of a man who was legendary both in the way he changed our industrial world and in the way he reinvented charitable outreach. Such a fascinating person. John D. was the richest man in the world of his time and the world's first billionaire. John D. Rockefeller was a study in contrasts, and from the dirty details of running his first oil enterprise to the even dirtier details of how he kept his grip on oil production, refining and transportation, Jon Chernow illustrates Rockefeller's merciless business side while also revealing to us a man so meticulous and generous in his giving that he single-handedly formed colleges and even the way medicine was practiced not only in our country but around the world. 
I really enjoyed this book.  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 charitable. He had a nice Baptist simplicity, and a pleasant air. His philanthropy revolutionized medical science and education. He also contributed to African American causes, feminist causes, and even Helen Keller, who was an outspoken socialist. 
I also enjoyed reading about his family; his scalawag of a father, who was a bigamist and a conman; his envious brothers, and his children, grandchildren, and in laws. Proof that inherited money can't buy happiness. 
I don't mean to say his good justified his bad, but it's very important to recognize the complexity and dichotomy of such powerful figures, and to take from it what you can. 
         If you've ever wanted a view inside the life of a man who has been both reviled and praised throughout the last century, you'll find no better source than Titan.

You can download it here:
Titan-Biography of John D. Rockefellar PDF Download-eBook
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