Self-made billionaire, John Davison Rockefeller (1839-1937) approached life with energy and ambition. Born on this day in Richford, New York, he was raised to work hard, save, and be generous.
"I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty," said the successful entrepreneur.
Like his contemporary Andrew Carnegie, Rockefeller started with little. In 1859, with $1,000 saved and another $1,000 borrowed from his father, Rockefeller formed a merchant partnership with neighbor Maurice Clark.
In 1863 the duo added partner, Samuel Andrews and turned to oil production. "The road to happiness lies in two simple principles: find what it is that interests you and that you can do well, and when you find it, put your whole soul into it every bit of energy and ambition and natural ability you have," Rockefeller explained.
In 1865 Rockefeller seized the opportunity and bought the refinery business outright for $72,500. With passion and perseverance, he expanded productions. Developing a pipe line system to transport oil efficiently, he formed Standard Oil.
At its peak the company controlled 90% of the U.S. oil industry and according to Rockefeller, "revolutionized the way of doing business all over the world."
"If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success," he said.
An avid golfer, Rockefeller was called the world's greatest philanthropist. In his lifetime he gave away over $530,000,000 and inspired others to be generous. His endowments often required receipients to raise matching funds through their own efforts.
"I believe it is a duty for a man to get all the money he honestly can and give all he can," he said.
More John D. ROCKEFELLER Quotations
Don't give up.