Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Audiobook [Free Download by Trial]

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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow

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John D. Rockefeller, Sr., history’s first billionaire and the patriarch of America’s most famous dynasty, is an icon whose true nature has eluded three generations of historians. Now National Book Award–winning biographer Ron Chernow gives us a detailed and insightful history of the mogul. Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller’s rich trove of papers. Full of startling revelations, the book indelibly alters our image of this most enigmatic capitalist.



  • Chernow used to be one of my favorite authors, but after reading his historical review of Rockefeller, I realized that I need to approach his books with a different perspective. It is clear that Chernow harbors a deep-seated hatred for religion, especially fundamental Baptist, and this bias greatly affects his portrayal of Rockefeller. It's almost comical how Chernow applies modern morals and anti-trust perspectives to a time when Rockefeller operated in a completely different cultural and social climate. Monopolies themselves are not inherently evil, except now we have come to believe in and sometimes enforce anti-monopoly practices, although it seems like exceptions are made for companies like Apple and Google. Chernow seems perplexed by Rockefeller's choice to attend the same church, abstain from extravagant social events, avoid alcohol, and remain loyal to his plain-spirited wife. He fails to understand why, once Rockefeller became wealthy, he didn't join a more socially prestigious church like the Presbyterian, which could have potentially advanced his career. Despite these flaws, the book does provide some valuable cultural context, and Chernow's skill in placing parallel events into perspective is evident, as it always is. However, I don't think I'll be purchasing any more of Chernow's books in the future.
  • I personally felt that the author had a biased perspective rather than remaining objective. They seemed to be guilty of the modern tendency of evaluating historical figures based on present-day standards. Additionally, their comprehension of economics, capitalism, and 19th-century evangelical Baptists appeared to be simplistic and lacking depth. I made the decision to stop listening to the audiobook after reaching about one-third of its duration.
  • This biography delves into the captivating life of a truly influential individual. It not only explores the origins of the global oil industry, but takes us on a journey from the discovery of oil extraction techniques in NW Pennsylvania to the rise of oil refining in Cleveland. The narrative extends to the dissolution of the Oil Trust, which ironically led to Rockefeller's increased wealth. Throughout the pages, Rockefeller's exceptional knack for organization and his unorthodox behavior are vividly portrayed. However, a significant portion of the book focuses on his monumental philanthropic pursuits and his family, making it an incredibly significant read.