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Lately I have been reading a biography on John D. Rockefeller and wanted to share some of my insights.

John D. Rockefeller was one of the most successful businessmen in American history owning 1.5% of U.S. GDP in 1937. He became a billionaire by founding the Standard Oil Company, which was the largest oil company in the world at the time. Rockefeller was also a great philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to charity.

Like him or not, what we can learn from John D. Rockefeller?

1. It is important to be successful in business, but it is also important to give back to the community.

2. Rockefeller started out with nothing but was able to leverage loans and connections he built to buy out his competitors. This enabled him to build his empire.

3. Rockefeller made deals with the railroads to give him an edge over his competitors and allow him to price his oil cheaper then theirs. Thinking outside the box and focusing not just on the product but the delivery gave him an edge over competitors.

4. He was not afraid to take risks, and was hard headed once he had made up his mind on something. At the time it was unclear how much oil was left in the ground and if more would be discovered, many people in the industry thought it would all dry up soon. Rockefeller made many large investments and wouldn’t allow these doubts to sway his opinion on purchasing more equipment/refineries.

5. Rockefeller was very disciplined and had a strong work ethic. He avoided any possible distractions such as alcohol and drugs.
Rockefeller was patient and waited until he had the perfect opportunity before investing in a project.

6. He was also very shrewd, making sure he got the best deal possible for himself and his company despite his massive amount of wealth.

7. Lastly he was grateful for the opportunities that lead him to success for example, he would celebrate the date he received his first ever job (September 26, 1855) every year and he considered the date more important than his birthday. “All my future seemed to hinge on that day,” he reminisced later in his life, “and I often tremble when I ask myself the question: ‘What if I had not got the job?’”