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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Audio CD – Audiobook, 15 Aug 2013


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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (15 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1470882183
  • ISBN-13: 978-1470882181
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 13.3 x 14.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 699,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Barrett on 25 April 2007
Format: Paperback
I'm currently working my way through the list of twenty books Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett's partner) recommends in the second edition of Poor Charlie's Almanack (very highly recommended). Thus, I am reading books I frankly wouldn't otherwise be (which I'm feeling increasingly sure reflected poorly on me) and I therefore feel somewhat less certain about my opinions. For example, I've read very few biographies and so it's harder for me to compare it to others.

With that caveat, I do read a lot, and I know an excellent book when I come across one - and Titan (2nd edition, 2004, 679 pages) is first rate. The author has clearly done a staggering amount of research, writes well and clearly and is admirably even-handed in his approach (so much as one can tell without reading the background material oneself). I think these are probably the three key factors in producing a biography and it is difficult to find fault in his approach to any of them.

Rockefeller comes across as a fascinatingly strange mixture of cold hearted and genial, a hyper-religious bandit who was convinced that his was God's work even when it involved political bribery and industrial espionage on a grand scale. I found it particularly interesting that he was not considered in any way remarkable in his abilities whilst at school - it appears his success was mainly due to his utterly relentless approach and self-discipline. There are many other interesting subtexts that emerge through the book, such as the enormous difficulty in preventing great wealth from destroying family relations.

My approach to reading my way through Munger's list is to devote an hour to reading each day before I do anything else (I found that was the only way to ensure it got done).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steven Griffin on 10 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
"Titan" is a huge read, and heavy going at times, however this is due to the staggering detail into which the author goes rather than any fault on the part of the material. I can barely imagine the amount of research that Ron Chernow put into this book, but it must put him in a bracket with very few (and one that probably includes Rockefeller himself!) when it comes to obsessive professionalism.

What is made clear in this book is that Rockefeller was what we might call the "perfect capitalist", even moreso than Warren Buffett. The man was purely driven by the desire for money and power, whether it was subconscious or not, and his constant citing of "God's work" in his (often questionable) business practices is sparse camouflage, and not something I feel he believed himself. Almost seems as if he felt the more extreme he came across as religiously, the more ruthlessness he could justify in his political persona, and it probably worked.

Anyway, enough of my kindergarten psychology. Great book, buy it and immerse yourself. Took me 3 weeks, and I'll be impressed if that's beaten.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Iheagwam on 1 Jun. 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm only about half way through, so it's only a partial review. I bought this book on recommendation from a friend and I don't regret it at all. This book chronicles the entire life of J.D Rockefeller aptly named Titan. It includes Standard Oil, his family, his Christian beliefs, his philanthropy, and even his mistakes.

The only downside is that some people may need a dictionary alongside them whilst reading this, but don't let this put you off. On the whole, a very engaging book to read, especially for the entrepreneurial minded.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By www.badgerland.co.uk on 22 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
I only bought this book because Amazon recommended it to me. I didn't really think it would be all that interesting and the massive number of pages meant it would be a daunting read.

It is actually an amazing account of the life and time of John D Rockefeller and his close family. The deals done and the plans laid meant that he became the richest man every to have walked the earth - being worth (in modern money) the combined worth of Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Mr WalMart three times over.

The book itself explains about his methods in business and how the combination of his intellect, planning and attention to detail lead to his immense wealth.

Towards the end of his business career, the book shows how the breakup of his company (Standard Oil) became inevitable; but lead to his wealth increasing every more quickly after he retired from running the business.

Thereafter the book charts his gentle retirement, setting up the University of Chicago, medical foundations in New York and the deep south, national parks, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and countless other world-class institutions.

The sadness of the death of his wife and his own death some years later, is tempered by the knowledge that he used his wealth to provide more of a benefit to mankind than any other human being.

This book is a truly amazing read and Ron Charnow was rightly awarded huge acclaim for the work he did.

Buy the book and read it for yourself - you won't regret it!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This wasn't a bad book, but I suspect that anyone that reads it will be disheartened by the end of its' final chapter.

It outlines the life of John D Rockefeller Sr., who went from a booking clerk (of dubious parentage on his father's side, his father being little more than a confidence trickster) to the world's richest man, and biggest philanthropist.

The book was depressing because Rockerfeller, while undoubtedly a generous philanthropist, and wiley businessman (both of which are well documented), he broke the spirit of the law (and ideas of competition), even if he didn't break its' letter. When this is coupled with a holier than thou attitude about how he earned his money, and a certain amount of low cunning while he attempted to keep it, and I got depressed by the whole thing.
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