John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller is an American Oil Magnate and the first billionaire in the history of the world. In today’s dollars, Rockefeller is still considered the richest man in modern history.
He was also one of the first few philanthropists in the world, giving back a huge portion of his wealth to the community.
A Quick History
John D Rockefeller was born second of six children in Richford, New York.
From a very young age, he was taught by his father to be shrewd and cunning in every deal. His mother was a fervent Baptist and taught him to be a good Christian.
As he grew up, he developed a love for music, which he considered as a career as some point, and later on found that he loved bookkeeping.
At age 20, he started a business with a partner which started with wholesale foodstuff and eventually started an oil refinery. It was the perfect timing as the need for crude oil grew during that period as whale oil began to become more scarce and expensive.
It was the beginning of his journey into becoming the world’s richest man.
Through many deals made by him, Standard Oil company began acquiring many of his competitors to become the largest oil supplier in the US. He convinced many of his competitors that it was unprofitable to challenge him.
It was because of his many acquisition and takeover deals that led him into trouble with the authorities. He had to face many lawsuits as many argued that his practices were anti-trust and monopolistic.
During all these, he began thinking of retirement and he spent a lot of his time giving back to society, funding the University of Chicago as well as medical research, which led to cures for yellow fever and hookworm.
Eventually, Standard Oil company would be broken down into 34 companies, many of which you still see today like ExxonMobil, BP, Chervon and more.
These companies’ value would raise fivefold, leaving John D Rockefeller with a personal wealth of US$900 million and the title of history’s richest man.
John D Rockefeller Leadership Lessons
As a leader, we have to learn to be wise in handling other people as well. While it is important for us to have character, but it is also imperative that we are shrewd enough in dealing with people who we are not sure about.
While the best thing within an organization is mutual trust, you must remember that outside your organization, not everyone is thinking of your good. Learn to be wise and discerning in the people you are dealing with.
2. Focus not on money
This is true for you as a leader. If you want to chase the money, you’ll realize that money runs away from you, and more than that, people run away from you too. But once you focus on building a solid character and reputation, money begins to follow you wherever you go.
3. Give back to society
I believe that the source of his wealth was in his immense capacity to give from the very start.
We have to learn to adopt the same attitude of giving as well. Our money is the expression of our heart attitudes, and a leader must take the attitude of the giver, not the taker.
Don't blame the marketing department. The buck stops with the chief executive.
Every right implies a responsibility; Every opportunity, an obligation, Every possession, a duty.
I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people's efforts than 100% of my own efforts.
If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.
If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.
Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.
Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.
Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It's to see my dividends coming in.
The only question with wealth is, what do you do with it?
The way to make money is to buy when blood is running in the streets
Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.
I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure.
I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.
I have ways of making money that you know nothing of.
Good management consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.
I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.
I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.
A friendship founded on business is better than a business founded on friendship.
I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.
I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money's sake.
It is wrong to assume that men of immense wealth are always happy.
Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.
Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one's aim.
The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.
The most important thing for a young man is to establish a credit... a reputation, character.
A short feature on the life of John D Rockefeller:
Wikipedia: A short account of John D Rockefeller’s life
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