On His Own Terms Book Summary - On His Own Terms Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

On His Own Terms summary

A Life of Nelson Rockefeller

4.1 (20 ratings)
36 mins

Brief summary

On His Own Terms by Richard Norton Smith is a biography of Nelson Rockefeller, the governor of New York and Vice President of the US. It explores his life, political career and relationships, providing insights into his personality and legacy.

Table of Contents

    On His Own Terms
    Summary of 15 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 15

    Nelson Rockefeller was born into an extraordinarily wealthy family, but experienced his share of struggles as well.

    You’ve likely heard of John D. Rockefeller Sr., the famous American oil tycoon and often considered the wealthiest person in modern history. But have you heard the name Nelson Rockefeller?

    Born on July 8th, 1909, the third child of Abby and John D. Rockefeller Jr., Nelson was the grandson of John Sr. who, along with his brother, William Avery Rockefeller Jr., founded Standard Oil, one of the largest oil companies in the world.

    William Avery Rockefeller Sr., Nelson’s great-grandfather, was a scoundrel and a con man. He earned a living by traveling the country peddling fake pharmaceuticals, a practice that earned him the nickname “Devil Bill.”

    But Nelson’s father, John D. Rockefeller Jr., took a different tack, spending much of his life, and the family’s money, on philanthropic projects. He passed this passion onto his children, and Nelson, in particular, would inherit his father’s devotion to improving the world. But Nelson had another thing going for him: the creative business instincts of generations of Rockefellers before him.

    While he came from a very privileged background, Nelson’s life was not always one of ease and comfort. He struggled with a learning disability that would affect him until his death.

    While growing up, it became clear that Nelson suffered from dyslexia, which made his schoolwork extremely difficult. Fortunately, he had a team of fantastic tutors and was enrolled in the Lincoln School, a progressive educational institution that let students build their own courses and learn by doing. For instance, if a child was obsessed with boating, they could use their passion to learn about geography, history, music and literature.

    It was as a result of this supportive environment that Nelson managed to make his way through school, excelling in math, science and biology. He also proved to have boundless energy and an attention-seeking personality.

    While his disability left him with grades that were just average, his marks were still good enough to get him into Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. There he earned the lifelong nickname “Rocky” and developed his passions for photography, art and architecture.

    Want to see all full key ideas from On His Own Terms?

    Key ideas in On His Own Terms

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is On His Own Terms about?

    On His Own Terms (2014) tells the remarkable life story of Nelson Rockefeller, who used his family’s notoriety and wealth to change the world for the better. These blinks walk you through Nelson’s life, from his involvement in the family oil business to his extended career in politics.

    On His Own Terms Review

    On His Own Terms (2016) is a captivating biography that explores the life and legacy of one of America's greatest political figures, Nelson Rockefeller. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With meticulous research and insightful analysis, it provides a comprehensive understanding of Rockefeller's complex personality and influential career.
    • The book delves into Rockefeller's controversial political journey, revealing the inner workings of power and politics in America during the 20th century.
    • Through compelling storytelling and nuanced portrayals, it brings to life the fascinating characters and events that shaped Rockefeller's extraordinary life, ensuring that it is definitely not boring.

    Best quote from On His Own Terms

    Hes impossible not to like. - Hall of Fame baseball player Jackie Robinson on Rockefeller

    —Richard Norton Smith
    example alt text

    Who should read On His Own Terms?

    • Students of history and politics
    • Readers who love a good biography

    About the Author

    Richard Norton Smith is a critically acclaimed biographer and frequent contributor to both PBS and ABC News. He has served as director for a number of presidential libraries, including those dedicated to Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower.

    Categories with On His Own Terms

    Book summaries like On His Own Terms

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    32 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    On His Own Terms FAQs 

    What is the main message of On His Own Terms?

    On His Own Terms explores the life and legacy of Richard Nixon, shedding light on the complexities of his presidency and personal character.

    How long does it take to read On His Own Terms?

    Reading time varies, but you can get the key insights from On His Own Terms in just 15 minutes with the Blinkist summary.

    Is On His Own Terms a good book? Is it worth reading?

    On His Own Terms is a compelling read that offers unique insights into Richard Nixon's journey. It's definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of On His Own Terms?

    On His Own Terms is authored by Richard Norton Smith.

    What to read after On His Own Terms?

    If you're wondering what to read next after On His Own Terms, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • On the House by John Boehner
    • Speaking for Myself by Sarah Huckabee Sanders
    • The Situation Room by George Stephanopoulos
    • Think This, Not That by Josh Axe
    • Understanding Media by Marshall McLuhan
    • Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson
    • The Origin of Wealth by Eric D. Beinhocker
    • The Man I Knew by Jean Becker
    • Elevate by Joseph Deitch
    • Words on the Move by John McWhorter