Ron Chernow Headshot
Report a problem with this profile
[email protected]

Ron Chernow  

Biographer of "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr."; Inspiration Behind Broadway Hit "Hamilton"

Mr. Chernow's biography of John D. Rockefeller, "Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.," was published by Random House in May, 1998 to extraordinary acclaim. As the first independent, full-length biography of Rockefeller based on unrestricted access to the family papers, it generated unusual attention.The book was excerpted by Vanity Fair and Business Week and was chosen as the Main Selection of the History Book Club, the Featured Alternate Selection of the Book-of-the-Month Club, and a regular selection of the Money Book Club and the Quality Paperback Club.

Titan drew lavish critical praise. Both Time magazine and The Times of London called it one of the great American biographies. In a front-page review in the Sunday book section of The New York Times, Titan was hailed as a triumph of the art of biography. Fortune magazine anointed Mr. Chernow America's best business biographer, while The Financial Times claimed that with "Titan" he had confirmed his reputation as a great business historian. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch called him one of the most gifted biographers of this generation.

Both The New York Times and Time magazine named "Titan" one of the ten best books published in 1998.The Economist listed it among the six best biographies of the year while Business Week named it one of the top ten business books. The book was a finalist in the biography category for the National Book Critics Circle Award and a finalist for the first (and last) Imus American Book Award. It received an Ohioana Award from the Ohioana Library Association and the annual book prize of the Colonial Dames of America. It won the Abraham Lincoln Literary Award, given by the Union League Club of New York. In 1998, Chernow was named Scholar of the Year by the New York Council for the Humanities. The following year, he was Guest Curator for an exhibition on John D. Rockefeller mounted at the Museum of American Financial History in lower Manhattan. In 2005, Fortune magazine selected "Titan" as one of the 75 best business books ever written and said that, if the 75 books were burning and you could save just one, this might be it: a biography as powerful and detail-minded as it subject.

A familiar figure on the lecture circuit, Mr. Chernow has spoken at the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the U.S. Treasury Department and before hundreds of business, community, religious, and literary groups. His book reviews and Op-Ed articles appear frequently in "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal" and he has been a luncheon guest of the editorial boards of both papers. He has commented on business, politics, and finance for "Morning Edition" on National Public Radio, "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," and for many shows on CNBC, CNN, and the Fox News Channel. He has appeared on all three nightly network news programs, The Today Show, CBS This Morning, and Face the Nation, as well as on The Charlie Rose Show, "Booknotes," and many other cultural programs. His books have been translated into ten languages.

Mr. Chernow has appeared in numerous documentaries devoted to topical and historical subjects. He was featured on the PBS "Frontline" documentary about the growing American obsession with the stock market, as well as a Dow Jones documentary chronicling the past century of investing and a History Channel documentary on the 1929 Crash. He was also the principal expert on the A&E biography of J.P. Morgan and the Discovery channel's "Rivals," which detailed the historic feud between J.P. Morgan and President Theodore Roosevelt. He served as the chief historic adviser and main commentator for a documentary series on the Rockefeller family prepared by WGBH in Boston that aired in September 2000.


No videos yet.

Speech Topics

George Washington

The Art of Biography


Related Speakers View all

More like Ron