A member of the Council on Foreign Relations for more than 60 years and its chairman for 15, Rockefeller was also a frequent target of conspiracy theorists because of his membership in secretive international policy groups such as the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg Group.The last of John D. Rockefeller's grandsons, David, has died at the age of 101. He was the world's oldest billionaire and cast off his $3.3 billion fortune the same day Forbes magazine published its 2017 list of the world's billionaires (Rockefeller was 581st).
Some of his thoughts on life (from Forbes, naturally):
1. In business and in life, profit is important.
“The lure of profits generates employment, creates wealth and empowers people in ways that no other social or economic system has been able to.”
2. Divorce and politics are expensive.
“A family adviser once said the two most expensive things a Rockefeller can do are run for public office and get divorced.”
3. At work, make money—and friends.
“Grandfather formed intense friendships with his business partners. On the rare occasions when I heard him mention his business career, he spoke of the fun they had, despite the hard work and long hours.”
4. One boss is always better than two.
“Co-chief executive arrangements rarely work because they represent an uncomfortable compromise.”
5. Get out of the office.
“I called on bank customers in 42 of the 50 states…ate approximately ten thousand business meals (more if you count the ones that I consumed in New York), and participated in thousands of customer calls and client meetings.”
6. …get as far out of the office as you can.
“I logged more than 5 million air miles (the equivalent of 200 round-the-world trips)… During my 35 years at Chase , I visited 103 countries; this included 41 trips to France, 37 to England and three extensive tours of sub-Saharan Africa.”
7. Go ahead, do business with friends.
“I firmly believe that the most successful business associations are based on trust, understanding and loyalty, the same qualities that are essential to a close personal friendship.”
8. Champion capitalism.
“No one should feel guilty about making money.”
9. Capitalism will require the government and the market working together.
“Relying on either government or the market alone to solve all problems and cure all ills has always seemed to be more doctrinaire than realistic.”
10. If you’re upset about that, write your Congressman.
“I feel someone in my position should be able to express his views to members of Congress and the administration. Certainly every other group in society feels free to express their concerns.”
11. The right last name opens doors.
“Having the name Rockefeller can be an advantage…I’m more apt to get through on the telephone to somebody.”
12. While closing others.
“It also means people are somewhat more suspicious, somewhat more cynical. It means they assume anything you achieve is the result of the name rather than doing something yourself.”
13. And, yes, haters will hate.
“Having a thick skin is very important to anyone who sticks his head above the crowd even a few inches.”
14. Becoming a father provides new perspective on your own.
“Having become a father myself and learned of my own inadequacies in that role, I became more sympathetic to my father’s idiosyncrasies and limitations. You do the best you can.”
15. Standby your family.
“Grandfather and his partners were tough competitors, but they were guilty of no more than the common business practices of their day.”
16. No, really: Standby your family.
“It wasn’t that common for me to become publicly involved in Nelson’s campaigns, but when he came to my territory, I felt a brotherly obligation to appear with him.”
17. Though, family can surprise the most.
“When we first heard about Nelson’s affair with Happy, we were shocked. It often happens that those who are closest are the last to find out.”
18. Find a hobby.
“When I was a young child, I took a course in nature study and fell in love with beetles. Whenever I go on a trip, I always carry a jar in my pocket. They’re easy to collect because they have firm shells and can be kept easily.”
19. Find a good teacher, too.
"I attribute my lifelong interest in history to Elmina Lucke, my sixth-grade teacher, who made the past come vividly alive.”
20. In life, opposites do attract.
“While my wife and I enjoyed being together, we also had different interests, which we pursued independently. This was the key to our long and very happy marriage.”
21. Live within your means.
“Easy credit might well lead to heavy speculation and over-expansion.”
22. Live by embracing adventure.
“When my brother, Laurance, was at Princeton and roomed with a rather fast crowd, he told me that he believed in trying anything once…Later on he became a highly successful venture capitalist. His interest in unconventional ideas never diminished.”
23. Embrace it abroad.
“Although my parents felt their children should first get to know their own country, they believed it was just as important for us to learn about European cultures and civilization.”
24. Also, live free of any regrets.
“Grandfather never breathed a sigh of remorse to my father, his grandchildren or anyone else. He believed Standard Oil benefited society."
25. Create something that lasts.
“Part of the joy of business is…permanence and value beyond oneself."