John D Rockefeller quotes

25 Inspirational John D. Rockefeller Quotes

John D. Rockefeller (1839 – 1937) was a renowned American business magnate and philanthropist. Known as one of the richest individuals in history, he amassed his wealth through the oil industry by investing in a Cleveland, Ohio refinery in 1870. Along with some business partners, including a brother, Rockefeller created the Standard Oil Company which focused on oil refining. He soon became known as a symbol of success and power. But beyond his business acumen, Rockefeller was also known for his wisdom and insight. Throughout his life, he shared numerous quotes that continue to inspire and resonate with people from all walks of life. The following are some of the most notable John D. Rockefeller quotes.


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John D. Rockefeller Quotes


Rockefeller’s success is partly due to his belief in taking risks and stepping out of one’s comfort zone to reach greater heights. Rockefeller understood that success often requires making tough choices and sacrificing immediate gratification for long-term gain. His wisdom serves as a reminder that settling for ‘good enough’ can limit one’s potential and instead, he encouraged people to constantly challenge themselves. The following are Rockefeller’s words of wisdom about achieving success.

  1. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.”
  2. “The secret to success is to know something nobody else knows.”
  3. “I would rather earn 1% off 100 people’s efforts than 100% off my own efforts.”
  4. “Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”
  5. “Don’t be afraid to give your best to what seemingly are small jobs. Every time you conquer one it makes you that much stronger. If you do the little jobs well, the big ones tend to take care of themselves.”
  6. “Success comes from keeping the ears open and the mouth closed.”
  7. “Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one’s aim.”


Rockefeller believed determination and persistence were absolutely necessary to overcome obstacles and achieve one’s goals. He recognized that setbacks and challenges were inevitable, but resilience to keep going in the face of adversity separates the successful from the rest. Rockefeller reminds us that success often comes to those who pursue their dreams and never give up despite the hurdles encountered.

8. “I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.”
9. “I do not think there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.”
10. “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.”
11. “Get rich by taking something common and making it uncommon.”
12. “Perseverance can overcome all obstacles. Even the laws of nature cannot stop it.”


Rockefeller had a strong understanding of the importance of trust in both personal and professional relationships. Rockefeller recognized that trust forms the foundation of meaningful connections and successful collaborations.

13. “The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee. And I will pay more for that ability than for any other under the sun.”
14. “The most important thing for a young man is to establish credit — a reputation and character.”
15. “The most important thing in business is not money, but trust.”
16. “A friendship built on business can be glorious, while a business built on friendship can be murder.”


Rockefeller deeply understood the significance of charity and giving back to society. But Rockefeller believed that giving strategically was more impactful. He emphasized the importance of addressing the root causes of social issues and working towards long-term solutions rather than offering temporary relief. He also believed in the importance of providing assistance in a way that empowered individuals by creating sustainable solutions allowing them to become self-sufficient rather than fostering dependence. So he focused more on investing resources and efforts into initiatives that could create positive change.

17. “Charity is injurious unless it helps the recipient to become independent of it.”
18. “I would rather teach a man to fish than give him a fish.”
19. “I believe in the dignity of labor, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes every man an opportunity to make a living.”
20. “Long ago I lost the joy in living. The only joy I have is in my giving.”
21. “I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.”


Rockefeller believed that gratitude went hand in hand with a sense of responsibility and duty. He believed that with every privilege or advantage, there comes a duty to use it wisely and for the benefit of others. By appreciating the blessings bestowed upon him, he used his money and power to make positive differences in the lives of others.

22. “I believe that every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty.”
23. “I believe that the power to make money is a gift from God.”
24. “The poorest man I know is the man who has nothing but money.”
25. “It is wrong to assume that men of immense wealth are always happy.”

John D. Rockefeller Quotes Inspire Success and Charity

These quotes reflect Rockefeller’s views on various aspects of life, including perseverance, leadership, trust, hard work, and the value of individuals and their contributions. Rockefeller used his success and wealth in several endeavors that helped support medical research and develop vaccines for serious illnesses including meningitis and yellow fever. He also championed proper education nationwide and invested in schools, even creating the University of Chicago. John D. Rockefeller is known as one of the greatest philanthropists in American history and has left an impressive legacy.

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Nadia Tahir is a freelance writer and content creator. She mostly writes in the areas of lifestyle and personal finance. She also enjoys writing on her blog about motherhood at This Mom is On Fire.

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