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Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself: A Memoir

3.21  ·  Rating details ·  217 ratings  ·  43 reviews
The daughter of David and Peggy Rockefeller and a great-granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller, Eileen Rockefeller understood at an early age that her name was synonymous with American royalty. She learned in childhood that wealth and fame could open any door; but as the youngest of six children and one of twenty-two cousins in one of the world’s most famous families, she be ...more
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 12th 2013 by Blue Rider Press
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Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was pleasantly surprised by this unexpected gift from the publisher and thankful for the opportunity to get to know the Rockefeller family through the experiences and memories of the author. She provides an honest but poignant history of her family and an intimate view of lives beyond "money" and "political power." From the beginning of their economic success, the family has been committed to using a large portion of their wealth to help others in need and preserve parks and our environment. T ...more
Jul 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Having met the author while working at a book-signing, I was curious about this book. In person, she is unassuming and friendly; I liked her. Her book reveals that for her whole life, she has sought to prove that she deserves to be a Rockefeller, over and over again. Whether she's bringing a cleaning crew to her sister's house or reconciling her mother's mental illness, she needs to have attention paid. Don't we ALL feel that way?

In short, every member of the Rockefeller family that I have met i
Nov 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
Eileen Rockefeller comes from a large, influential family. As the youngest of six, she has her hang-ups and often feels alone with her brothers and sisters given the age gap.

Rather than one continuous life story, this book is a series of anecdotes about her life -- from her childhood with her parents to her days at boarding school to her life as an adult with her own two children. I don't read many autobiographies, and it was interesting to read about someone else's life from their point of vie
Mar 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I read this book, because I heard Eileen Rockefeller speak on a panel discussion of ¨Descendants¨ at a book festival. All three women on the panel were descendants of famous fathers. I expected Eileen to be one of those ¨culture snob¨ rich ladies. Instead she came across as a very spiritual, warm and understanding woman, who had obviously struggled a lot to become the person she wanted to be.
Her book ¨Being a Rockefeller; becoming myself¨ has the same feel to it. However, while reading I got the
Judy Novak
Jul 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This biograpahy is very true to the author, Eileen. Being the youngest, and with her father, David, constantly traveling around the world on diplomatic and business missions, she often felt lost in the family. She has been much closer to him than to her mother. This bio certainly is a compelling story of her strenghts and weaknesses and the not-always-so-fairytale existence she has led. It also highlights her many unique experiences from the past.

Sadly, since this book came out her brother Rich
Matt Bucklin
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It is a wonderfully written collection of stories that show a very human side to Eileen, and how she learned to deal with issues we all confront, like birth order, relationships, raising children, finding purpose, and looking for beauty in the world.
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Could not finish. I kept plodding through hoping for meaningful message.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did. The format of short stories made it less readable to me. And although I’ve read she’s a bright, thoughtful, kind spiritual speaker and woman, her writing voice sounds amateurish to me, a little shallow, and some recollections, I thought, really inappropriate. I liked the “clubs” we belong to, her adult life more than her childhood, the door in the woods and her relationships with family, Rockefeller Cousins, mentors and Norman Cousins. I was pleasantly ...more
Cathie Knight
In this review I am very typical, I wanted to know all things Rockefeller and didn't care about Eileen, so I was pretty disappointed with this book because it was definitely her story. I didn't enjoy learning about emotional intelligence. I am familiar with it but I haven't really educate myself on it. I loved the "heart talks" and wish I knew about that concept when my boys were young. I loved the statement her son made, that if we taught heart talks to young children we probably we lose the ne ...more
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction
Not as interesting as I had hoped having heard her speak on I think a program on NPR. This was a lot of how unloved & unconnected with her family she felt, but then would talk about the wonderful times they would have as a family working on building a summer cabin or hiking in WY. Her book also makes it sound as though her non-profit work was to somehow prove her worthiness as a Rockefeller rather than a personal commitment which is rather sad
Nov 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Poor wealthy entitled and privileged white girl. The history of The Rockefeller name and the author's view of her fellow cast of characters was the only reason I didn't stop reading/listening to this autobiography. Could not recommend. ...more
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting behind the scenes look at a famous American family.
Jun 05, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
#73 of 120 books pledged to read during 2019
Laura Crognalo
Feb 27, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2021-read
I enjoyed being able to get the chance to read a small part of what it was like to be a Rockfeller. It wasn't all smelling roses. There was pain and unloved. But it made some stronger. ...more
Miriam Schoenig
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being rich, it turns out, isn't all it's cracked up to be. Even though we'd all would have liked to try it. ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Being a Rockefeller is a book that talks about Eileen's life as a rockefeller. Eileen had a very hardh life and had to learn how to take care of herself. Her siblings fighted to be the best son. Her grandfather had much power at that time. Rockefeller's had a lot of money so they had many servants. Eileen learned how to apreciate others araound her. Also Eileen learned that money isn't everything on life. Eileen had many problems but she learned how to confront them by herself. This book showed ...more
Ann Aldrich
Jan 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
I started this book with low expectations and immediately met an articulate, artistic, entrpenurial, insightful woman with an intriguing life story. The author deals with two basic themes -- trying to live a "normal" life as part of a wealthy American dynasty, and coming to terms with family relationships as the youngest of six children of parents too busy with multiple responsibilities to attend to the needs of all six children. The book deals as much with the emotional journey as the external ...more
Oct 05, 2013 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this inner look at the family life of a famous and exceedingly wealthy family, perhaps one of the closest Americans have to royalty. Eileen has lived a life of privileges and experiences provided by her wealth that many would barely dream of if they'd won the mega-lottery. And yet her parents tried to make the children understand their responsibilities to use their wealth to help others, to be unspoiled. So we can understand their enjoyment of building things for themselves and simple ...more
Nov 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Eileen Rockefeller’s memoir, “Being a Rockefeller, Becoming Myself,” is the most inspiring I have read this year. Any narrator as candid, deeply reflective, and funny as this one would be wonderful and memorable; that this voice comes from within one of our country’s wealthiest and most private families is all the more remarkable.

Rockefeller beautifully captures her simultaneous senses of joy and isolation growing up and her struggles to come into her own as an adult. A dyslexic introvert, she
Astonishingly self-absorbed and gratingly metaphor-prone. Ms. Rockefeller itemizes a litany of hurts and slights from busy parents and exlusionary siblings, and sees a world only as it relates to her. In one anecdote, she tells of weaving with two women in Africa. One morning, one of the women arrives later than usual with both her eyes blackened. The woman goes about her weaving and some time later commences singing and laughing. She then tells them the night before her husband stole all her mo ...more
Oct 29, 2013 rated it liked it
The author lives in the town next to mine, and I thought this memoir might be interesting. It was, but I wouldn't recommend it without reservation. Eileen takes a long time to gain any semblance of self-confidence. Her parents raised her to think of her family as "American royalty." [In an interview I watched last week, Warren Buffet sent his children to public school and told them to think of themselves as just like everybody else in town, no better because they had money.] The author has had e ...more
Oct 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a great Memoir. Eileen has so many great stories in this book about her life. With her stories I was transferred to different parts of her life which were interesting(the homes her parents owned on Islands were interesting). I marvel how she found who she was with the struggles in life being the youngest child of six. Everyone struggles in life to find out who they are and Ms. Rockefeller was no different. I was enchanted with her stories and at the end she writes about how Beauty is in ...more
Linda Smatzny
Nov 03, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a memoir of one of John D. Rockefeller's great-granddaughter. Eileen was the youngest daughter of David Rockefeller. She was felt unloved in her family of six children. She was emotional which was frowned upon in the household. She craved attention - thinking that meant love. She talks about how she lived but it doesn't come across as boasting of wealth. She loved the outdoors and found herself when sent to a wilderness school. Easy to read. ...more
Pam Mooney
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant memoir of a life well lived. Rockefeller family dynamics are relatable regardless of social economic status. Their family adventures, however, encompass what most of us can only dream of. Certainly it would be a challenging to define yourself with so many people telling you or assuming who you are. It is inspirational to hear of and see the outcomes of Rockefeller rising to the challenge.
Apr 24, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected more from this book. with the title "Finding myself" I was looking to embark on an adventure of someone who had to find her true identity in the midst of coming from a big well known family. I felt the book was a surface read and did not delve into any details about the depths of what Eileen faced psychologically and how she found herself in the midst of it all. I do commend her for her works and for the woman she became, but I expected more depth from the book. ...more
Jinjer Stanton
Nov 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Her writing aroused my empathy. I was envious. Not of the money, but of family projects (like building a cabin on a remote island), and the providing of opportunities for the children to learn self-sufficiency. I can't imagine anyone leaving a pair of children (middle grades) alone on an island today. But I would so have loved that experience as a kid. ...more
Dusty Summerford (Reviews by Reds)
Sep 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Thanks to Goodreads & Eileen Rockefeller for this Goodreads giveaway!!

I found that this book hit all my buttons! It was happy, sad, loving, inspiring, frustrating, etc... I thought it was a great memoir overall. Maybe a little too long & did a bit of jumping around in the storylines. But I would definitely reccomend this memoir to anyone who loves strong women from American royalty.
Oct 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting in an unexpected way. Yes, you do learn about the Rockefeller lifestyle, connections, and influence but, most importantly, you get to know an interesting woman who speaks candidly about her life.
Sep 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
Really self absorbed and really didn't discuss her "transformation". Basically, poor little rich girl ...more
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I liked this book, lots of good ideas, Goes to show money doesn't buy happiness. ...more
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