John D. Rockefeller Sr.  was a business tycoon and philanthropist who was possibly the wealthiest American of all time and also the richest person in modern times on an inflation adjusted basis. His net worth was about $400 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, or about 2% of the United States GDP. 

He focused on the business on oil refining. He founded the Standard Oil Company in 1870 and ran operations until 1897, but continued to be the largest shareholder.

Standard Oil controlled 90% of all oil in the United States at its peak before being broken up into 34 separate entities after a supreme court ruling in 1911. Some of the spin off oil companies eventually  became ExxonMobil and Chevron Corporation which still are some of the biggest companies with the most revenue to this day.

The new companies that emerged from the Standard Oil forced break up ended up being valued for more than the original company monopoly, and the new company shares of the new small oil refiners doubled and tripled in value after the break up. John Rockefeller was the nation’s first billionaire. 

Here are some of the best quotes where he shares his wisdom on how he became the wealthiest man in U.S. history and the very first billionaire.

“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” – John D. Rockefeller

The biggest wealth is created by innovating and creating new products, new business models, new technologies or new and better ways to distribute existing commodities. 

“I do not think that there is any other quality so essential to success of any kind as the quality of perseverance. It overcomes almost everything, even nature.” – John D. Rockefeller

Nothing creating winning like the skill perseverance, it out lasts all the quitters, overcomes all the obstacles, and eventually finds the path to success. 

“I know of nothing more despicable and pathetic than a man who devotes all the hours of the waking day to the making of money for money’s sake.” – John D. Rockefeller

Money is not the goal, it is the freedom, independence, and luxury that wealth can buy you that is the real goal. 

“I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living.” – John D. Rockefeller

The self made wealthy usually start with the quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

You have to risk the good life if you want a chance at creating a great life. 

“I have ways of making money that you know nothing of. ” – John D. Rockefeller

You have to open your mind to other ways to make money besides just selling your time to a job. 

“It is wrong to assume that men of immense wealth are always happy.” – John D. Rockefeller

Money can buy a lot of things but it can’t guarantee happiness, that is an inside job that can’t be purchased. 

“I would rather earn 1% off a 100 people’s efforts than 100% of my own efforts.” – John D. Rockefeller

Wealth building power comes from leveraging the efforts of other’s time and labor by providing the capital for the creation of a business for them to work for. 

“Those who work the whole day, have no time to make money!” – John D. Rockefeller

Big money is not made by working a job all day it is made by creating a profitable business, investing in a great business, or trading the trends in the financial markets. 

“If your only goal is to become rich, you will never achieve it.” – John D. Rockefeller

Being wealthy is a side effect of building something of great value that you are passionate about, not a goal in itself. 

John Rockefeller