Summer Reading


One of the books we have been reading this summer is Titan, Ron Chernow’s biography of John D. Rockefeller, an extraordinary perspective on one of the most important figures in US economic and social history. Rockefeller rose from a troubled family background to create Standard Oil, one the largest corporations the world has ever seen, consolidate and control the US oil industry and amass what may still be the greatest single fortune ever made. His legacy lives on in the oil companies he created, including Chevron, ExxonMobil and Amoco (now part of BP), which even after the forced breakup of Standard Oil in 1911, remain among the biggest in the world. He also shaped US philanthropy by creating Rockefeller University in 1901 and the Rockefeller Foundation in 1913, to which he donated much of his fortune and which provided the framework along which most subsequent foundations were built.

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