- Audible Audiobook
- Listening Length: 35 hours and 3 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
- Audible.com Release Date: August 7, 2013
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00EDSLSBK
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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Chernow is, as usual, an excellent stylist. The book can roughly be divided into two parts: 1) how Rockefeller got the largest fortune in American history at the time and 2) how Rockefeller gave most of that away in philanthropic work. He drove thousands of small businesses out of the market and put multiple thousands of workers out of work using ruthless and cutthroat techniques, many (not all) of which were legal at the time. Cooperation with him was always better than competition and woe to anyone who did not agree. His personality is fascinating and Chernow does an exceptionally good job at bringing that out. In fact, Rockefeller’s personality and character are central themes that run throughout the book – how this pious Baptist who thought God wanted him to make as much money as possible so he could give it away could go through life with massive repression and apparent equanimity. His (and his son’s) philanthropy is incredible, from founding the University of Chicago to Rockefeller University to the Rockefeller Foundation. Millions for this, multiple millions for that in late 19th century and early 20th century money! It is mind-blowing. The book begins with Rockefeller’s father, a patent medicine quack showman who kept two separate families and ends with Rockefeller giving more money to advance real medicine than any individual in history.
The book expands the reader’s consciousness and is a fascinating and enjoyable read at the same time. Though Chernow’s Hamilton gets all the press these days, I learned more from this book about America and enjoyed it more. In my view it is a pinnacle of biographical writing - by any author.