Mind your business.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

John D. Rockefeller and the Oil Industry

By: Burton W. Folsom
FEE - The Foundation for Economic Education

“From the beginning,” Rockefeller said, “I was trained to work, to save, and to give.” He did all three of these things shortly after he graduated from the Cleveland public high school. He always remembered the “momentous day” in 1855, when he began work at age sixteen as an assistant bookkeeper for 50 cents per day.

On the job, Rockefeller had a fixation for honest business. He later said, “I had learned the underlying principles of business as well as many men acquire them by the time they are forty.” His first partner, Maurice Clark, said that Rockefeller “was methodical to an extreme, careful as to details and exacting to a fraction. If there was a cent due us he wanted it. If there was a cent due a customer he wanted the customer to have it.” Such precision irritated some debtors, but it won him the confidence of many Cleveland businessmen; at age nineteen, Rockefeller went into the grain shipping business on Lake Erie and soon began dealing in thousands of dollars.

Rockefeller so enjoyed business that he dreamed about it at night. Where he really felt at ease, though, was with his family and at church.

Read more at the Foundation for Economic Education.