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52 Inspiring Quotes by John D. Rockefeller

  • Last updated Jul 27 2021

Welcome to our collection of quotes by John D. Rockefeller.

Wikipedia Summary for John D. Rockefeller

John Davison Rockefeller Sr. (July 8, 1839 – May 23, 1937) was an American business magnate and philanthropist. He is widely considered the wealthiest American of all time and the richest person in modern history.

Rockefeller was born into a large and poor family in upstate New York that moved several times before eventually settling in Cleveland, Ohio. He became an assistant bookkeeper at age 16 and went into several business partnerships beginning at age 20, concentrating his business on oil refining. Rockefeller founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870. He ran it until 1897, and remained its largest shareholder.

Rockefeller's wealth soared as kerosene and gasoline grew in importance, and he became the richest person in the country, controlling 90% of all oil in the United States at his peak. Oil was used throughout the country as a light source until the introduction of electricity, and as a fuel after the invention of the automobile. Furthermore, Rockefeller gained enormous influence over the railroad industry which transported his oil around the country. Standard Oil was the first great business trust in the United States. Rockefeller revolutionized the petroleum industry and, through corporate and technological innovations, was instrumental in both widely disseminating and drastically reducing the production cost of oil. His company and business practices came under criticism, particularly in the writings of author Ida Tarbell.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1911 that Standard Oil must be dismantled for violation of federal antitrust laws. It was broken up into 34 separate entities, which included companies that became ExxonMobil, Chevron Corporation, and others—some of which still have the highest level of revenue in the world.

In the end it turned out that the individual segments of the company were worth more than the entire company was when it was one entity — the sum of the parts were worth more than the whole – as shares of these doubled and tripled in value in their early years. Consequently, Rockefeller became the country's first billionaire, with a fortune worth nearly 2% of the national economy. His personal wealth was estimated in 1913 at $900 million, which was almost 3% of the US GDP of $39.1 billion that year. That was his peak net worth, and amounts to US$418 billion (in 2019 dollars; inflation-adjusted).

Rockefeller spent much of the last 40 years of his life in retirement at Kykuit, his estate in Westchester County, New York, defining the structure of modern philanthropy, along with other key industrialists such as steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. His fortune was mainly used to create the modern systematic approach of targeted philanthropy through the creation of foundations that had a major effect on medicine, education, and scientific research. His foundations pioneered developments in medical research and were instrumental in the near-eradication of hookworm and yellow fever in the United States. He and Carnegie gave form and impetus through their charities to the work of Abraham Flexner, who in his essay "Medical Education in America" emphatically endowed empiricism as the basis for the US medical system of the 20th century.

Rockefeller was also the founder of the University of Chicago and Rockefeller University and funded the establishment of Central Philippine University in the Philippines. He was a devout Northern Baptist and supported many church-based institutions. He adhered to total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco throughout his life. For advice, he relied closely on his wife Laura Spelman Rockefeller with whom he had five children. He was a faithful congregant of the Erie Street Baptist Mission Church, taught Sunday school, and served as a trustee, clerk, and occasional janitor. Religion was a guiding force throughout his life and he believed it to be the source of his success. Rockefeller was also considered a supporter of capitalism based on a perspective of social Darwinism, and he was quoted often as saying, "The growth of a large business is merely a survival of the fittest".

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Well i know that my company is not corrupt or unfair because i got all this with all my hard work. I see no reason why you say my company was corrupt may you explain to me miss Ida Tarbell.

--John D. Rockefeller

blue sky with stars during night time

Homeopathy is a progressive and aggressive step in medicine.

--John D. Rockefeller

beach shore during day time

If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.

--John D. Rockefeller


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.

--John D. Rockefeller

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That is not true I am not a greedy man because if I was why would i donate money to charity?I care about others as well.

--John D. Rockefeller

two women making peace sign near the Golden Gate bridge

The most important thing for a young man is to establish a credit... a reputation, character.

--John D. Rockefeller

silhouette of kneeling man

Giving should be entered into in just the same way as investing. Giving is investing.

--John D. Rockefeller

white desk lamp beside green plant

I shall use such influence as I have in emphasizing the basic truths common to all denominations, in lowering denominational barriers and in promoting effective cooperation among Christians of whatever creed.

--John D. Rockefeller

three women sitting on rock near body of water

The common denominator for success is work.

--John D. Rockefeller

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

--John D. Rockefeller

Longer Version:

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

brown and white humming bird

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.

--John D. Rockefeller

silhouette of off-road car

I believe that every right implies responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.

--John D. Rockefeller

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Do you know the only thing that gives me pleasure? It's to see my dividends coming in.

--John D. Rockefeller

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Giving is the secret to a healthy life. Not necessarily money, but whatever a person has to give of encouragement, sympathy, and understanding.

--John D. Rockefeller

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Do not many of us who fail to achieve big because we lack concentration -- the art of concentrating the mind on the thing to be done at the proper time and to the exclusion of everything else?

--John D. Rockefeller

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A friendship founded on business is good deal better than a business founded on friendship.

--John D. Rockefeller

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I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.

--John D. Rockefeller

orange moon during nighttime

The day of combination is here to stay. Individualism has gone, never to return.

--John D. Rockefeller

pug puppy

The major fortunes in America have been made in land.

--John D. Rockefeller

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I never would have been able to tithe the first million dollars I ever made if I had not tithed my first salary, which was $1.50 per week.

--John D. Rockefeller

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I believe the power to make money is a gift of God.

--John D. Rockefeller

snow-capped mountain at the horizon viewed from lake dock

It is wrong to assume that men of immense wealth are always happy.

--John D. Rockefeller

brown trees on brown field during daytime

Get rich by taking something common and making it uncommon.

--John D. Rockefeller

aerial photography of pine trees with mist

And we are never too old to study the Bible. Each time the lessons are studied comes some new meaning, some new thought which will make us better.

--John D. Rockefeller

man wearing black jacket standing on street

Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.

--John D. Rockefeller

two women lying on hammock

The only question with wealth is, what do you do with it?

--John D. Rockefeller

black dragonfly perched on green grass in close up photography during daytime

There is nothing in this world that can compare with the Christian fellowship; nothing that can satisfy but Christ.

--John D. Rockefeller

gray cactus plant on white pot

I cheat my boys every chance I get. I trade with the boys and skin 'em and I just beat 'em every time I can. I want to make 'em sharp.

--John D. Rockefeller

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Competition is a sin.

--John D. Rockefeller

man in black tank top standing near tree under starry night

A man's wealth must be determined by the relation of his desires and expenditures to his income. If he feels rich on ten dollars, and has everything else he desires, he really is rich.

--John D. Rockefeller

woman singing on stage

The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.

--John D. Rockefeller

white and black satellite dish on brown field during night time

Good leadership consists in showing average people how to do the work of superior people.

--John D. Rockefeller

adult black and tan dachshund

I Always Tried to Turn Every Disaster into an Opportunity!

--John D. Rockefeller

green ceramic mug beside book

Next to doing the right thing, the most important thing is to let people know you are doing the right thing.

--John D. Rockefeller

yellow sunflower in bloom plantation

The secret of success is to get up early, work late and strike oil.

--John D. Rockefeller

lake beside green pine trees

After it is all over, the religion of man is his most important possession.

--John D. Rockefeller

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We are coming to see that there should be no stifling of labor by capital, or of capital by labor; and also that there should be no stifling of labor by labor, or of capital by capital.

--John D. Rockefeller

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Nobody does anything if he can get anybody else to do it.

--John D. Rockefeller

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The best business in the world is a well run oil company. The second best business in the world is a badly run oil company.

--John D. Rockefeller

person in blue denim jeans and brown leather boots

I never placed my head upon the pillow at night without reminding myself that my success might only be temporary.

--John D. Rockefeller

landscape photography of forest

I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.

--John D. Rockefeller

brown rock formation

Never lose interest in life and the world. Never allow yourself to become annoyed.

--John D. Rockefeller

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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.

--John D. Rockefeller

green trees near lake under cloudy sky during daytime

I have no use for men who fail. The cause of their failure is no business of mine, but I want successful men as my associates.

--John D. Rockefeller

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