Monday, August 13, 2007

John D Rockefeller

Sorry guys. Not finding time to post often ( Best excuse for not being productive !! ).
Found the following piece here ( Fabrice never ceases to amaze with his range of thoughts, must read for everyone! ).

All the while, John Rockefeller, with the dogged patience that would defeat scores of embattled competitors, waited determinedly in the wings. …
Rockefeller succeeded because he believed in the long term prospects of the business and never treated it as a mirage that would soon fade.


Again, like Weber’s ideal capitalist, “he avoids ostentation and unnecessary expenditure, as well as conscious enjoyment of hispower, and is embarrassed by the outward signs of the socialrecognition which he receives.”

By avoiding talk of money as unbecoming, Rockefeller concealed from his children the magnitude of his fortune. When Bessie [daughter]enrolled at Vassar in the mid-1880s … she went on a shopping expedition with some classmates to purchase a Christmas present for a favorite teacher. At a Manhattan store, they found the perfect gift: a $100 desk. Since Bessie and her companions had only $75, they asked the merchant if he could wait a fewdays for the remaining $25. He agreed to do so if a New York businessman would vouch for them. “My father is in business,”Bessie offered meekly. “He will vouch for us.” Who is your father? asked the man. “His name is Mr. Rockefeller,” she said. “John D. Rockefeller; he is in the oil business.”The merchant gasped. “John D. Rockefeller your father!” When he agreed to ship the furniture, Bessie imagined he had merely changed his mind to please them.

Dislike of show-offs:

Rockefeller and Morgan were antithetical types, offering a vivid contrast between the ascetic and the sybarite, the Roundhead and the Vavalier. As the chieftain of the Anglo-American financial establishment, the wellborn Morgan, expensively educated in America and Europe, was a consummate insider inthe business world. … Blustery and theatrical, Morgan was impetuous and hot-blooded… At his headquarters at 23 WallStreet, he often seemed harried, ruling by brilliant snap judgements. Fond of luxury, Morgan inhabited the world of the ultrarich, with their gargantuan cigars, fine port, and oversized steam yachts.
For Rockefeller, Morgan embodied all the sins of pride, luxury,and arrogance. When they first met … they took an instant dislike to each other.

[Rockefeller’s] retirement was equally remarkable for its omissions. For instance, he lacked the wanderlust that infected other rich men, such as J.P. Morgan, in their later years. He never collected art or exploited his wealth to broaden his connections or cultivate fancy people. … He showed no interestin old-money clubs, parties, or organizations. … When someone expressed surprise to Rockefeller that he had not gotten a big head, he replied, “Only fools get swelled up over money.”Comfortable with himself, he needed no outward validation of what he had accomplished. We can criticize him for lack of imagination, but not for weakness.

True philanthropy (as opposed to self aggrandization in the guise of philanthropy):

Before Rockefeller came along, rich benefactors had tended to promote pet institutions (symphony orchestras, art museums,or schools) or to bequeath buildings (hospitals, dormatories,orphanages) that bore their names and attested to their magnanimity. Rockefeller’s philanthropy was more oriented toward the creation of knowledge, and if it seemed more impersonal, it was also far more pervasive in its effect.

“I had no ambition to make a fortune. Mere money-making has never been my goal, I had an ambition to build.”

“The person who starts out simply with the idea of getting rich won’t succeed; you must have a larger ambition. There is no mystery in business success. If you do each day’s task successfully, and stay faithfully within these natural operations of commercial laws which I talk so much about, and keep your head clear, you will come out all right.”

“Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”

“Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”

“Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.”

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.”


Archu said...

Good Post!And the last line is very very true ;-)

Preethi said...

one of My favorite personalities...

just adding a coupla more lines..

"I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature." -Rockefeller

Karthikeyan....KK said...

Archu - Where is your bloggg????? Am not replying to your comments any more....

Preethi - Neat ! After reading through this piece on JDR, he is clearly my fav personality too!!
Thanks for dropping by!