The patrician accent of George Plimpton (author of Truman Capote and The X Factor), with its edge of aristocracy and money, is perfectly suited for telling the rags-to-riches story of America’s most famous businessman and philanthropist. Indeed, Plimpton seems to positively relish the superlatives that describe the life of John D. Rockefeller, who was far and away one of the most calculating, secretive, competitive, merciless, and talented figures ever to dominate the free market. Showing, early on, his keen attachment to hard work and keeping accounts, Rockefeller started out as an accountant in Cleveland. From there he went into the produce business, and then on to oil. By the time he was 31, he was the most powerful oil refinery owner in the world. His strategies for suppressing competition and controlling all aspects of the oil business while still paying attention to the smallest details make for dramatic listening in this well-documented and accessible narrative. Plimpton recounts how Rockefeller was the ultimate clutch player, calm in the face of adversity, a manager who was constantly searching for talented people and another way to grow Standard Oil into a megalithic modern corporation. Ultimately his rapacious business practices would make him head of the most powerful monopoly in America and the richest man in the world. Plimpton’s engrossing reading of Titan brings out the human side of Rockefeller, a man of contradictions who was greedy yet giving, a capitalist villain and a do-gooder. A teetotalling Baptist, he began giving to charity when he was earning just a few dollars a week. As his wealth grew, so too his financial gifts. In the end, Rockefeller’s philanthropic acts rivaled the precedents he set as a businessman. The oil baron died just short of his last goal–to reach the age of 100–but the indelible imprint he made on America’s financial landscape will live on into the 21st century.