• 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
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (60 ratings)

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

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

By: J.R. MacGregor
Narrated by: Kevin Kollins
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Publisher's 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

Average Customer Ratings
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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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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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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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

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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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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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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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Excellent Book

Great book. The good, the bad, and the ugly about this business man. You really walked away knowing who this man is.

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Cursory overview. No depth

The book is too short. Glosses over 10-20 year patches. Stilted delivery. Your mid stream and the wife dies and he dies 2 sentences later. Don’t buy. Be a good free book for audible members.

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A 45 minute preview

Ok I knew this book was going to be a condensed version of his life, however with 45 minutes left in the book the story ends and then the book goes into a preview of their Andrew Carnegie book. Had I known this I would not have picked this book. That being said I won’t buy any of these books in this series.

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Profile Image for Charlie  Humphreys
  • Charlie Humphreys
  • 09-21-19

Recommended

Extremely interesting listen about the very colorful members of the extended Vanderbilt family and about him self beginning with the Commodore, himself. Written by J.R. MacGregor who apparently obtained access to all the fascinating family secrets. Great depiction of life among the leaders of New York society during the post Civil War period. Very easy and fun listening.

1 person found this helpful

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Profile Image for Kiera  Marshall
  • Kiera Marshall
  • 10-26-19

An excellent listen

J.R. MacGregor approaches his subject with a very non-prejudicial mind and this allows the listener to make his own determination about Vanderbilt. Also, he approaches his subject with an eye to the whole arena of mid-nineteenth century history, particularly as it plays out in the dramatic changes in the business and political climate. His style is fluid and approachable. An excellent listen.

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Profile Image for Steve  Stpierre
  • Steve Stpierre
  • 10-24-19

Great book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I find it interesting how young men found ways to work the system and grow their businesses. It couldn't be done that way now because of the union, labor, monopoly laws, but at the time those laws were not in effect. Because they were not the country boomed with new ideas of transportation, banking, etc. An intriguing time. I highly recommend this book

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Profile Image for Sheila  Evans
  • Sheila Evans
  • 10-24-19

The birth of a nation

In this remarkable book J.R. MacGregor not only describes in vivid colors how VanDerbilt built an all-time great fortune, along the way he also captures the birth of a nation that would soon rank as the world's most powerful. This is an epic tale that shows how the Yankee values of hard work, no bulls*** and frugality conquered the world. An excellent book!

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Profile Image for Eugene  Primeaux
  • Eugene Primeaux
  • 10-24-19

Meet Mr. Vanderbilt

Revealing biography about an unstoppable entrepreneur who fought for success with his head and his fists. The story further reveals the historical insights to the early development of American business which definitely have relevance in today's economy.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Howard  Dirksen
  • Howard Dirksen
  • 09-25-19

What is it like

Plenty of new and interesting information regarding theCornelius Vanderbilt and his family as well as a good historical biographies of events surrounding their lives and family dynasty.

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Profile Image for Marie  Snell
  • Marie Snell
  • 09-24-19

An interesting collective biography

This gives an overview of many of the Cornelius Vanderbilt from the frugal beginning through the extravagance of the heirs to the inevitable decline. I had listen some of this before, especially about Cornelius Vanderbilt, but enjoyed learning about other family members.

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Profile Image for Joseph  Davis
  • Joseph Davis
  • 09-19-19

Interesting. Lots of facts

Interesting. Lots of facts about how much things cost - but since not compared to today's dollars, the constant statements about extravagance is hard to judge. First part of the book is more interesting because it tells you about the Cornelius Vanderbilt and his children - as it gets further, you get a lot of spending, but it's just not as interesting.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-19-19

Overall good

An interesting look at an iconic family during the gilded age. It is fascinating to listen about the beyond lavish lifestyles of these billionaires. Sometimes I thought it got a little bogged down in details but the overall story sent me to research all of the people as I listen about him . Overall an intriguing look at the family and the time.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-21

A "cheap" biography

Very short and spends too much type explaining opinions on matters instead of presenting the history in detail. Glosses over items way too quickly and hence doesn't give the tale appropriate justice. Suggest you look elsewhere for a well written biography on Vanderbilt.