Brainfood: History Lessons - Hire Brilliant People - John D Rockefeller

Rockefeller is the stuff of legend. The American oil baron started out as an office boy in 1855, earning just $25 a month.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

By the age of 40, he controlled 90% of US oil refining through his company Standard Oil, and at the height of his wealth was worth $900 million (though he gave most of it away before he died in 1937). He couldn't have got where he did without relying on a brilliant team to help him run and expand Standard Oil. 'Men, not machinery or plant, make up an organisation' was one of his famous sayings. Rockefeller's strategy of surrounding himself with the most talented people in business also enabled him to have a life beyond work. 'People persist in thinking that I was a tremendous worker, always at it, early and late, winter and summer. The real truth is that I was what would now be called a "slacker" after I reached my middle thirties.

I never, from the time I first entered an office, let business engross all my time and attention.' Delegation, delegation, delegation.

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