Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Portrait of the World's First Billionaire in Training

'Much of the time, he was closeted in his office, where he had oil prices chalked on a blackboard. He paced this spartan office, hands laced behind his back. Periodically, he emerged from his lair, mounted a high stool, and studied ledgers, scribbling calculations on pad and paper (during meetings, he was a restless doodler and note taker). Frequently, he stared out the window, motionless as an idol, gazing at the sky for fifteen minutes at a stretch. He once asked rhetorically, "Do not many of us who fail to achieve 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?' Rockefeller adhered to a fixed schedule, moving through the day in a frictionless manner. He never wasted time on frivolities. Even his daily breaks--the midmorning snack of crackers and milk and the posprandial nap--were designed to conserve energy and help him to strike an ideal balance between his physical and mental forces. As he remarked, "it is not good to keep all the forces at tension all the time.'
--From Ron Chernow's magisterial Titan--The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr., perhaps one of the best biographies ever written, and easily among the finest historical portraits of early Cleveland


Post a Comment

<< Home