"Titan" by Ron Chernow is one of my favorite biographies. It goes over the life of John Rockefeller.
Matt Ackerson just sent me a wonderful summary written by his friend Dane Maxwell.
Dane's analysis is really fantastic. He summarizes Rockefeller's habits, attitudes, skills, and approach to doing business. I loved Titan, but it's a big book - over 800 pages. This summary reads fast and gives you a lot of the key lessons. Highly, highly recommended you check it out.
A big thanks to Matt for sharing this with me, and Dane for kindly allowing me to share it with you. If you want to find these guys online, Dane Maxwell runs Zannee.com, where they do real estate recruiting and retention technology.
Matt runs Petovera.com, a professional web design company.
Wow, thanks for sharing Sebastian, this document was a gold mine to me. I've already started managing my expenses the way John did and I'm not gonna stop trying to replicate his skills and methods.
That's a bit stupid, but I feel really empowering to incantate "Let's do this Rockefeller-style" when dealing with a choice to make or an attitude to have :D
Those of us who are anti-wealth, such as myself and Christopher here, can get a bit carried away with trying to spread the anti-wealth message.
So initially - Sorry.
It's just that when you view the operating system in this way, it becomes very difficult to remain quiet, and any message that is even remotely pro-wealth gets our hackles up.
Of course we understand why people are pro-wealth, and on an individual level it makes obvious sense to be this way. However we have become convinced that the negative effects that wealth has on the human psyche (and society in general) are so great that they outweigh the benefits. Funnily enough, this was not true in the past, yet the evidence suggests that it may be true today.
Of course we are more than willing to be proven wrong in regard to this hypothesis. I'd really like to be... it would take a lot off my mind!
Anyway, I still have to agree with your response to Hurt Anderson, in that many of the perceived villains of history weren't so bad (and in this case good), while many perceived heroes were in fact pretty horrible. Che Guevara is a great example, and with so much information about him stating both sides of the argument, one often has to sit on the fence as to whether someone was "good" or not.
Although I'm of the opinion that you can't really place people into these categories anyway, and to do so is folly -
"I stand here for I stand on the shoulders of giants"
When you take this concept within the more general framework of "memes", the result is the evolution of ideas over time, with the great people throughout history being the ones who are able to evolve the idea (or at least understand the idea) better than anyone previously.
Not to take anything away from these great historical figures, many of them were indeed "great" people, however to determine "good" is only ever relative to ones society at the time, and is therefore not necessarily applicable...
Did any of my ramblings there make sense? Sorry, haven't had enough coffee yet today.
I have to agree with you here, Sebastian. The production values for this video leave something to be desired.
I also appreciate your intentions with the posting of your friend's summary. An abundance mindset is important.
As for whether I was on topic vis a vis the video, I respectfully suggest that we let your readers decide this for themselves.
Even so, I realize that I was remiss in not providing a bit of preamble for my previous comment. Sorry about that.
I haven't had the opportunity to read Rockefeller's biography, but I'm going to add it to my list of books to read. I just finished reading through Dane's summary of "Titan" and I have a few initial observations:
Dane's portrayal of Rockefeller sounded very similar to Marcus Aurelius (and other stoics) in some of his attitude and personality. I would guess that came from his strongly Christian beliefs.
Rockefeller's strict reliance on using numbers for his decision making sounds very useful but also challenging to adopt. In my own life I've been trying to change towards a more probabilistic approach to decision making. I haven't been able to overcome the innate fear with many actions, I find it really odd.
Without going into depth the other facets that really stood out: Delegation, Flexibility within strict structure, his humanity.
A question for you Sebastian: You've mentioned several times before about having a really pro-wealth stance, I just wondered if you derived any of that specifically from Rockefeller's biography, or if its something that arose independently from multiple sources?
Thanks, very interesting.
A very good guest post by Matt Mazur - if you enjoy this (and I think you will), then you can find his blog at mattmazur.com. He currently runs two business apps: Preceden.com, a tool for making timelines, and jMockups, a high fidelity web design tool. Here's Matt -
Nine Tips for Getting Started with Life Tracking
Inspired by Sebastian’s posts about the benefits of life tracking, I decided to try it for myself. After several false starts, I’ve now been doing it for almost two months straight and have had some great results. In this post I’ll explain how my current tracking system works and I’ll share some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
How it Works
Every Sunday morning I print an eight page document that I use throughout the week to track various aspects of my life. The first page is an overview, which I will fill out at the end of the week to summarize my results. The remaining seven pages are devoted to each day of the week.
I don't think I'm some sort of bigshot who gets people fired because they look at me wrong. Really, I tend to make friends with most people. But there have been two incidents.
I was on a cruise ship for two weeks, heading around the Caribbean with three friends. The worst part about cruise ships are the weird little markets they have where they sell crap like "gold chains by the foot". These little stands are always in the main hallways that you cross all the time.