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Business Biographies and Memoirs - Titans of Industry: Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt

Narrated by: Kevin Kollins
Length: 14 hrs and 40 mins

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Publisher's Summary

The five Titans of Industry discussed in this series are, without a doubt, the most influential and impactful men in American history. Without any one of them, the entire landscape of the US would be different. They are the founders of the American economy.  

We live in a world today that is based on the actions of John D. Rockefeller. Everything we do and how we live are the result of oil and its power.

J.P. Morgan is more than just the name on one of the largest banks in America. He built the financial world we live in today.

Henry Ford not only revolutionized the automobile industry, but the assembly line he created has changed the way the entire world thinks about manufacturing.

Grab a copy, pull up a chair, pour your favorite listening beverage, and dive in to the lives of the men who built America.

Andrew Carnegie

Andrew Carnegie amassed wealth that inspired generations of entrepreneurs and industrialists. Starting with nothing in Scotland, he gradually built so much wealth that those at the top of the current Forbes list would still not be able to match him.

He began working at a young age, and the lessons he learned from observing his surroundings gave him the foundational structure that allowed him to build his wealth and etch his name in the minds of generations to come.

J.P. Morgan

J.P. Morgan is more than just the name on one of the largest banks in America. He was a man who altered the course of American finance and the chief financier for the strategic interests of the titans of the day, such as Carnegie and Rockefeller. He also financed new and ingenious technologies developed by Thomas Edison and was a visionary who saw the potential in Nikola Tesla.

His ability was not limited to Wall Street, though, and his reputation was not bound by the shores of America. He touched core industries in his lifetime, from shipping to power to steel and provided the spark that reignited the economic soul of America after the Crash of 1907.

John D. Rockefeller

Rockefeller was the quintessential industrialist. He created an industry out of nascent oil and gas start-ups during a time when none existed. He was strategic in his thinking, choosing to enter the refining side of the oil industry instead of the exploring and drilling aspect of it. He started with one refinery, and then quickly bought up more than 90 percent of his competitors in the state within a few short years.

The story of Rockefeller as told in this book provides a deep view of the oil industry and is told from a very human and real perspective. It looks at the events that shaped his life, from the shenanigans of his crooked father to the pleasant and philanthropic old man that he became.

Henry Ford

The Ford name is everywhere. It is ingrained in the American way of life. From the way we make our food to the way we think about cars, it all came from the mind of this Irishman from Michigan.

This book covers his life from when his family immigrated to Michigan until his last breath. It recounts a life from the perspective of someone who wants to understand the genius and spirit within everyone.

Cornelius Vanderbilt

Cornelius Vanderbilt I had no illusions about his life. He didn’t start out with grand plans and ungodly greed. He merely stepped in this world one foot at a time, one boat at a time, one market at a time - one day at a time. He worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week. He worked hard and played hard. When all was said and done, though, he was a simple man who pushed the world of transportation to be all it could be - to be what it is today.

©2019 CAC Publishing LLC (P)2019 CAC Publishing LLC

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Profile Image for Ruby  Sanderson
  • Ruby Sanderson
  • 14-09-2019

Loved this book

This is the 1st book by J.R. MacGregor that I have listen. His books led me to one of his earliest biographies. What they all have in common is a personal picture of Americans who have had a fundamental impact on this nation for good or ill. I wasn't sure how I would feel about a book that dealt with the life of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt. Mr. J.R. MacGregor points out so well that there is both a good and bad of them who had so much to do with the creation of an Industrial American Economy in the Post Civil War Era. There is the greed of the monopolist who attempted to eliminate competition without regard to the untold harm it could cause to our economic prosperity. Then you see a man who was undoubtedly the wealthiest man in America committed to giving away the wealth he had accumulated to improve the society that had allowed such disparity in wealth. There is a dichotomy here that is very difficult to judge. If we advocate a laissez-faire free market economy, such disparity seems to me is inevitable. In this book I saw both good and evil in this man. J.R. MacGregor helps you to consider what kind of cooperation is necessary in a free democracy.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Faith  Jackson
  • Faith Jackson
  • 14-09-2019

Wealth, power

This book provides insights into Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt character, personality, their ambitions, flaws, faults, and weaknesses as a man and empire builder the way view other books have. It gives us a vivid picture of the contradictions and opposing forces that were at work inside of them and the factors that affected them and drove them to be so relentless and some would say ruthless in their drive for wealth, power.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Connor  Taylor
  • Connor Taylor
  • 14-09-2019

My husband and I both listen this book

My husband and I both listen this book. We’ve spent our entire lives road tripping and it was fascinating to listen about the start of it all. Warts and all, these men are examined for what they brought to America and what they contributed to these mutual vacations. It is a very listenable account and didn’t gloss over the creature comforts enjoyed and the staff support required.

For me as a women’s history academic, I felt there was a retro “rich white guys” feel to this that rankles a bit. The history genre is replete with books about rich white guys. However this book is so buoyant and well written it deserves a wide audience. It certainly casts an intimate light on some of the captains of American industry.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-09-2019

Awesome listen

This book is awesome, interesting, mesmerizing...albeit a little long. A surprisingly interesting account of the life and times of Mr. C. Vanderbilt and others, which I assumed, incorrectly, to be quite boring and burgoise, feeling that he, himself had been "to the manor born" and not realizing that this is a true "rag to riches" story of a self-made, strong, colorful man, hated by many but admired by most. Throughout the book, it is amazing to see the similarities that modern corporations and tycoons of today have with Mr. Vanderbilt, and that he was the one to pioneer them. Essentially, he put in practice much of what today's CEO's use and mimic from him to run their Fortune 500 corporations. I like Mr. Vanderbilt and would have liked him in his time. What he lacked in formal education he certainly made up in intelligence, common sense and business saavy. He brought us Wall Street; he invented the takeovers, the downsizing, the tightening of the belts, the price wars, that companies employ today.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Poppy  Skinner
  • Poppy Skinner
  • 14-09-2019

This is the best biography

This is the best biography I have listen to date . You don't have to have a financial background to understand and enjoy this book. Amazingly well written. The subject of the book, J.P. Morgan, was a unique, complex and historically significant person and his complexities and contributions to American society on numerous fronts are beautifully documented in this book.And other Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt i loved them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Martha  Banks
  • Martha Banks
  • 18-09-2019

Thoughtful & Informative

J.R. MacGregor presents a very thoughtful and informative detail of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s role in the rise titans of Industry. John D. Rockefeller early life in Cleveland, to his days New York and Florida, Rockefeller always had a strong sense of his own density and religousity and how he was able to separate his business and faith. The PBS American Experience is based heavily off this book. The book also focuses heavily on how Rockefeller through the help of Rev. Gates creates modern philanthropy, his relationship with his namesake son, and his Jr. redeemed the family name and left his son’s in strong positions to be leaders for the latter half of the 20th Century. I’ve listen the author’s other book .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Donny  Clark
  • Donny Clark
  • 15-09-2019

Well-researched

As some other reviewers mentioned, this deep and complex study of THE titans figure in American financial history lacked insight and a sense of the true impact of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt's work upon the development of U.S. financial institutions.Their position in U.S. history is, perhaps, unappreciated especially with respect to their role in stabilizing U.S. financial markets during a period when the federal government was incapable or unwilling to face the task.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Phyllis  Neel
  • Phyllis Neel
  • 15-09-2019

Another outstanding

I have read several biographies by J.R. MacGregor. He researches and writes extraordinarily well. This book is a good example of that.

Rockefeller was a seminal person in our history for his business accomplishments. There are good reasons to criticize him for using his financial power to crush smaller business people. However, there is also much to admire for his brilliance and his willingness to move quickly to take advantage of emerging opportunities

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Thelma C Laing
  • Thelma C Laing
  • 20-09-2019

Very detailed biography...

This is a large book, but it's well written, and I like detailed biographic research. Perhaps a bit too much on his travel itineraries, visits and donations , but it's a good listen. I find their business dealings and business correspondence the most interesting of all.

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Profile Image for Arthur  Starnes
  • Arthur Starnes
  • 18-09-2019

Great American road trip

A fascinating story about a 10 year road trip.. featuring primarily Henry Ford and others, 5 of the most famous persons in the early 20th century.

J.R. MacGregor is a masterful storyteller, and this one of his best. Listeners are taken along for an extended road trip. The relationship between them is featured throughout, and listeners will get an idea of the anti-semitic views of Ford as well.

The wives of the 5 men are also featured, and a character named Jep Bisbee is one of the pleasant surprises of the book. Easy listening and thoroughly enjoyable. History buffs will undoubtedly enjoy.

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Profile Image for Ewan  Stephens
  • Ewan Stephens
  • 14-09-2019

Much more than a biography

Mr. J.R. MacGregor managed to write a book that will leave you neither loving nor hating Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt , Sr. You will kind of gasp at the wealth they amassed and be torn between hating him for his ruthlessness and admiring him for his humility, dedication , and philanthropy. You will also wonder what he felt as a parent when you learn a little more about not only his kids, but their spouses and the choices they made...

Without ever being a steward to history, everyone still knows this name to this day and often associates it with the need for the government to intervene and break up the monopoly of Standard Oil. But don't be surprised if, sometimes, you find yourself rooting for Mr. John D. When you see how the government and some members of the press behaved at times, you may even develop a slight conservative streak...

In listening this book, I found myself torn about what I had previously been taught about this man... he seemed much fairer than he had always been portrayed to me before, but I still couldn't reconcile his stingy streak. Very interesting portrayal that will have you questioning values in business even, and perhaps, especially in today's "modern" age.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Archie  Watkins
  • Archie Watkins
  • 14-09-2019

Wow

Andrew Carnegie was a conflicted individual. On one side, there is a man who invented something he called "The Gospel Of Wealth", and on the other hand, wanted to die a pauper with all of his money spent towards his charity projects. He oversaw a massacre of his own workers, and, wrote countless articles in favor of "Labor", which he considered himself to be apart of. J.R. MacGregor manages to weave these counter narratives together deftly and gets to the core of the man that is Carnegie. This is about the man, less about the day to day operations of his work so don't expect a "how to get ahead in business" manual in disguise.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Charlie  Humphreys
  • Charlie Humphreys
  • 15-09-2019

Excellent listen

I was looking for a biography of an accomplished businessman and this absolutely hit the mark.
What’s more is it covers a vital part of american history between the revolution and civil war that aided my understanding of how the nation matured into what it is today.

The book is extremely well researched and laid out. It does a good job treating the subject objectively and capturing the context in which he operated. The only criticism i have is that occasionally the chronology of events is tough to follow because there are so many notable people c. Vanderbilt worked with.

Overall, it is an enjoyable and informative listen.
I had only known of Vanderbilt through the university name, but now I know the man and his country.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Kevin  Ewell
  • Kevin Ewell
  • 15-09-2019

Great contribution

I believe that a biography of Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt by J.R. MacGregor makes a great contribution to the period of the time. Today's generation has a lot to learn from the actions and the thinking of people like them, who were influencing the history of the nation. Many people have a tendency to see a distorted image of giants like them most probably from various news clippings without really knowing who they was.Good on you J.R. MacGregor.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for William  Blackburn
  • William Blackburn
  • 14-09-2019

This book is well researched

This book is well researched and well written. It provides a panoramic view of the 19th century through the eyes of Cornelius Vanderbilt, a great business strategist and founder of many corporate structures and practices we would recognize today.
Equal to the author's portrait of Cornelius Vanderbilt is his portrait of America transforming itself from an agrarian society into one driven by territorial expansion and industrialization. Along the way, the listener experiences the effects of the California gold rush, the Civil War, and the building out of our national transportation infrastructure - first using steamboats and canals and later the advent of railroads.
The narrative is both enlightening and prophetic. For the latter, if the listener substitutes "real estate" for "railroads" in many of Vanderbilt's remarks, the connection to recent business practices becomes apparent. Overall, this is a listen worthy of your time.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Gabriel  King
  • Gabriel King
  • 14-09-2019

This is a fascinating book

This is a fascinating book with lots of interesting little nuggets of information, like the fact that Ford ordered all Model Ts painted black because black paint dried faster and didn't slow down production.
The personalities of the Vagabonds were very different, yet they had enough mutual respect to accommodate each other's quirks.
You can learn a lot about America in the early 20th century while being entertained by a tale about the guys who invented the road trip.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for Joseph  Davis
  • Joseph Davis
  • 19-09-2019

Disappointed

The subject seemed well researched, but the result for me was a rather dry account of a fascinating man's life. The audio edition is poorly executed.Not that much info .

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Profile Image for Christina  Balcom
  • Christina Balcom
  • 19-09-2019

Amazing characters

Excellent! What a history lesson. J.R. MacGregor is amazing pulling this information together. I would have enjoyed hanging out with them, not one of his factory workers.. One of a kind.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 19-09-2019

Great man, great book

The book listens like a novel largely because the subject matter is so interesting. Story of those man and a time when giants walked the Earth. Fairly chronicles the life of a man, Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Ford, Cornelius Vanderbilt, including his few flaws. A poignant reminder of a time in America before the advent of the mental weakness which has overtaken us.

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Profile Image for Donny  Clark
  • Donny Clark
  • 17-09-2019

The author almost makes it

The book is lengthy, if nothing else. The biography is also well researched, but the author almost makes it seem like he wants to drop the hint of just how much research he did. If name-dropping had a research-amount equivalent, this author definitely does it. Still a good listen though and recommended.