• Titan

  • The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
  • By: Ron Chernow
  • Narrated by: Grover Gardner
  • Length: 35 hrs and 3 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-08-13
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.7 (187 ratings)

Summary

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 Ron Chernow, a National Book Award-winning biographer, gives us a detailed and insightful history of the mogul. Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller’s exceptionally rich trove of papers. A landmark publication full of startling revelations, the book indelibly alters our image of this most enigmatic capitalist.
Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world’s richest man by creating America’s most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Branded "the Octopus" by legions of muckrakers, the trust refined and marketed nearly 90 percent of the oil produced in America.
Rockefeller was likely the most controversial businessman in our nation’s history. Critics charged that his empire was built on unscrupulous tactics: grand-scale collusion with the railroads, predatory pricing, industrial espionage, and wholesale bribery of political officials. The titan spent more than 30 years dodging investigations until Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters embarked on a marathon crusade to bring Standard Oil to bay.
While providing abundant evidence of Rockefeller’s misdeeds, Chernow discards the stereotype of the cold-blooded monster to sketch an unforgettably human portrait of a quirky, eccentric original. A devout Baptist and temperance advocate, Rockefeller gave money more generously than anyone before him - his chosen philanthropies included the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Chicago, and what is today Rockefeller University. Titan presents a finely nuanced portrait of a fascinating, complex man, synthesizing his public and private lives and disclosing numerous family scandals, tragedies, and misfortunes that have never before come to light.
John D. Rockefeller’s story captures a pivotal moment in American history, documenting the dramatic post–Civil War shift from small business to the rise of giant corporations that irrevocably transformed the nation. With cameos by Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Jay Gould, William Vanderbilt, Ida Tarbell, Andrew Carnegie, Carl Jung, J. P. Morgan, William James, Henry Clay Frick, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers, Titan turns Rockefeller’s life into a vivid tapestry of American society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It is Ron Chernow’s signal triumph that he writes this monumental saga with all the sweep, drama, and insight that this giant subject deserves.
©2004 Ron Chernow (P)2013 Blackstone Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By James Gorman on 07-07-14

The Unknown Man

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would definitely recommend this book to a friend who enjoys history or business. It is an incredibly detailed account of how John D. Rockefeller rose from a humble beginning to become the richest man to ever walk the face of this earth. Ron Chernow goes into details that I had never known about Rockefeller, including his sleezy father and his strict Baptist following.

Any additional comments?

This book is incredibly long, but I was hooked to it. I would listen to it on the way to work, at the gym, and at night lying on my couch. There is so much detail in it, that you feel like you are there watching Rockefeller grow old. John D. Rockefeller is usually portrayed as an evil man by most accounts. This book did go into some of his lesser moments, but it was an absolutely fair depiction of the man and the greatness that he was able to achieve.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in business, especially in starting your own company.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By sian morgan on 24-06-18

A true great!

A very interesting read for business people and historians alike! Will take place as one of my favorite audio books to date!

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Rick on 04-11-13

He makes Bill Gates look like a Pauper!

This was a long, long read but I just can’t see how you’d get the whole story about the Rockefeller Empire by reading an abridged version. It was long, but well worth your time.

From the onset, John D Rockefeller was destined to be a financial giant. Choosing not to enlist in the union Army during the civil war he began building his empire in Cleveland with a small Oil refinery. As the demand for oil grew, and following several business savvy maneuvers he slowly built Standard Oil into the world’s largest oil company and he into one of the world’s richest men. Not without a few underhanded tactics which he would ignore, Standard Oil grew to colossal proportion until it was ultimately broken up by the US courts.

This was an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone who would like to learn about Rockefeller, Standard Oil, his philanthropic endeavors, or how one of the largest corporations in the world became the greatest monopolies. The story is long and no detail is left out and it is well worth the time to learn how this very powerful, yet very complex family empire came to be.

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33 of 34 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By martha on 17-12-13

WOW! What a fascinating story!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

YES! And I have, to anyone who will listen. This is a fascinating story of a man very few people know much about beyond his wealth. Chernow is both an excellent writer and a master of research. This is a long listen but it never bogs down. You will walk away having completely revised your understanding of Rockafeller. You may not like him any better but you will know him better.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Titan?

When I realized the origin of Spellman College in Atlanta, GA.

What about Grover Gardner’s performance did you like?

Everything, he is one of my favorite narrators. Knows when to emphasize and when to hold back, easy on the ears, good diction, pleasant tone.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The end. I was sorry it was over.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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