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  • Cornelius Vanderbilt - The Commodore: Insight and Analysis Into the Life and Success of America's First Tycoon

  • Business Biographies and Memoirs - Titans of Industry
  • By: J.R. MacGregor
  • Narrated by: Kevin Kollins
  • Length: 3 hrs and 2 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Biographies & Memoirs
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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Summary

Cornelius Vanderbilt I had no illusions about his life. He didn’t start out with grand plans and ungodly greed. He merely stepped in this world one foot at a time, one boat at a time, one market at a time - one day at a time. He worked 16 hours a day, seven days a week. He worked hard and played hard. When all was said and done, though, he was a simple man who pushed the world of transportation to be all it could be - to be what it is today.

The times he lived through and contributed to is the history that forms the foundation of our present life. He teaches us through his actions how to hit the pavement of life every day relentlessly seeking to do better and to do it with pragmatism and realistic goals. He was tough as nails in body, mind, and spirit. He did what he wanted to and never hid it. Vanderbilt was never a hypocrite.

The greatest part of his life are the years when he bounced from shore to shore across all the islands in New York Harbor and then ventured farther inland, farther north, and even farther south until he became the first man to sail a steamboat up the San Juan River in Nicaragua in search of a path to cut from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Vanderbilt was a man of steel, and we can learn incredible things from him, so scroll up and click the "Buy Now" button to start learning about America’s first tycoon.

©2019 CAC Publishing LLC (P)2019 CAC Publishing LLC

What listeners say about Cornelius Vanderbilt - The Commodore: Insight and Analysis Into the Life and Success of America's First Tycoon

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Illuminating historical

Great historical book about the Cornelius Vanderbilt Commodore, what happened to the kids and the wealth. Just an amazing family and captivating story. Great American entrepreneurial story. And also a great study of how quickly 1-2 generations can drain a family's wealth dry. If you like listening about great American families that built America, and the gilded era, then you'll love listening this book. Just amazing how much land the Vanderbilt's owned in Manhattan. It was an amazing era for America.

8 people found this helpful

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Very impressed

I am very impressed with the truthfulness of this book written by J.R. MacGregor . I love Biographies and books about historical and famous people and this one does not disappoint. It begins with the Commodore and how at a tender age saw an opportunity to make money on his own and then expand. It takes us through the Gilded Age and how the Newport Mansions were built and used for parties that were to outdo their neighbors. It is fascinating and a page turner.Unbelievable the way they spent their money before the onset of income tax days.

4 people found this helpful

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The Ultimate Book

Now THIS book is the full account of the life of Vanderbilt. You can learn several good life lessons from this book, most notably what money without some hint of noble purpose can do to the lives of those involved. Characters were well presented but I could have used less lists of the contents of their homes and more insight into some of the children instead. A good look at a time long passed in American history.

2 people found this helpful

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my mother is enjoying the book.

My mother is enjoying the book. she likes to listen biographies and this one has quite a bit of interesting information.

1 person found this helpful

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Best book on the Commadore

Stiles does a wonderful job with Vanderbilt. Listening this book it will be hard not to feel like a piker.

1 person found this helpful

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Get this book

Out of all the RailRoad Barrons I must say Cornelius Vanderbilt is truly my favorite. I love that the author kept the story interesting by adding information of what it was like to live back in those days.

1 person found this helpful

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outstanding biography

I am half way through, and fascinated by the story of not just but the story of the foundation of american capitalism, and the larger history of the US. The writing is great, and most of my information about the history of the US between 1800 and 1860 is coming from this book.

1 person found this helpful

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Great book

Thought this was a great book. I loved it. It brought a lot of history together for a long period of time.

1 person found this helpful

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A must listen

A must listen especially for anyone interested in this countries early economic and political history. Great story teller,when describing Cornelius Vanderbilt journey through life.

1 person found this helpful

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The way America was

I found this book quite interesting, not just about the Cornelius Vanderbilts but also the evolution of our country. Who controlled the wealth and how we have evolved since the turn of the century. The book also explains, in-depth what happen to the extreme wealthy and how they fell. It wasn’t just the start of income tax. There is so much more involved. The book is well written and well explained as there are many people involved.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Arthur  Starnes
  • Arthur Starnes
  • 18-09-19

Bravo

This is a marvelous listen! Love the author's style of respect with a touch of irreverence when describing the Cornelius Vanderbilt family characters. Having visited Marble House, the Breakers, and Biltmore, I appreciated learning about how and why these architectural marvels were built. There is also a great deal of detail about the many mansions built in NYC that have unfortunately been lost to the wrecking ball. I could see them. There was never a dull moment during the listening of this book as the author told of the descendants of the Commodore, the relationships they had with one another, how much money they had, what they did with it, and how they increased or lost their inheritance. The organization if very nice. There is a section for each character. I was sad when it was finished. Will definitely listen this again sometime. If you love learning social history through the lives of those who lived it, you will love this book.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Martha Banks
  • 18-09-19

Excellent listen

I am a bit obsessed with the Cornelius Vanderbilts. I love English royalty and the families of the gilded he is as close as we get in America. The extreme wealth made by the Commodore was impossible to hold on to and this book explains why. It takes the listener generation by generation through family feuds and ridiculous spending to understand how a fortune was squandered. If only there had been reality tv. Keeping Up with the J.R. MacGregor could have kept them solidified in their fortune and lifestyle.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer Murray
  • 24-10-19

One of the best biographies

This was an interesting viewpoint of Vanderbilt, who in the popular press and in many history books was portrayed as a cold-hearted thief on a grand scale. Many biographies are biased in favor of the person they are describing, and in some ways this one is too. But when the author posits a more favorable view of Vanderbilt than popular history, he backs up his statements with newly-discovered documents and contemporary newspaper articles. There is no overt favoritism.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for James  Boatright
  • James Boatright
  • 20-09-19

History comes alive

Fascinating book in all aspects. If you are intrigued by history, wealthy people, society people, building of fortunes, losing of fortunes, and characters who are full of variations of greed, exploitation, charity, hope, dreams, and daring - this is the book I would recommend. This book listens like a novel because the characters are so rich, and in this I mean not monetarily, but rich in emotions and full of life. The author paints each one so clearly I felt as if I had known them personally. One of the best books I have listen this year.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Lauren R Page
  • 18-09-19

Quite a story

In many ways, this was a very sad story. I do not think there was one happy person in this entire book. It was fascinating to listen about how much money was made and then lost. The manipulation of stock and the stock market was almost impossible to believe, but then the accumulation of money was the goal, regardless of the morality of how it was done. Many have commented that the time was not that different from our own time; different day, same behavior. I wish I could be alive to listen the history of our time 100 years from now. The book was well worth the listen; a lot to think about.

2 people found this helpful

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Profile Image for Christopher  Ervin
  • Christopher Ervin
  • 16-09-19

Excellent book

An excellent book, keeps you wanting to listen more and it gives it to you. This book tells of the gaining of the great wealth by Commodore Vanderbilt and what each one of his children and subsequent generations did with his money after his death, until, finally all was spent and there were no more Vanderbilt millionaires.This book will not disappoint.

2 people found this helpful

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  • William Freeman
  • 04-03-20

I learned so much

I learned so much about the demise of the Vanderbilt , due to absolute greed. I must have spent a very sheltered life, and never realized people actually could not stop growing money for any self surving project. I felt it was shameful to see such greed with the family being totally ignorant or concerned about others living in dire straights.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Liam P Lee
  • 04-03-20

Great listen

Great listen about the Vanderbilts, I purchased after visiting Builtmore house and wanted to know more about them.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Kate  Poole
  • Kate Poole
  • 04-03-20

Very well written book,

Very well written book, easy to follow and a wonderful piece of history. I thoroughly enjoyed listening about the family dynamics. What I came to realize is that with all of their money and power, it didn't last. Mansions have been torn down, the powerful went the way of all of us and eventually passed on, and great riches evaporated. However, it was definitely a great listen!

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Antonio S Glennon
  • Antonio S Glennon
  • 22-09-19

I loved listening this book

I loved listening this book. I have always thought of Vanderbilt University in terms of a few distinguished people who attended there, but saw it in a new light after listening this book. The author made all the members of the family that were told about colorful and entertaining. I did not expect to get as much from this book when I purchased it as I did. I enjoy listening and have listen several books .

2 people found this helpful