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Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  1,098 Ratings  ·  81 Reviews
Few entrepreneurs can claim to have actually changed the way we live, but Ray Kroc is one of them. His revolutions in food service automation, franchising, shared national training and advertising have earned him a place beside the men who founded not merely businesses but entire new industries.

But even more interesting than Ray Kroc the business legend is Ray Kroc the man
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Mass Market Paperback, 232 pages
Published April 15th 1992 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published May 1977)
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Rework by Jason FriedThe Tipping Point by Malcolm GladwellThe Lean Startup by Eric RiesLaw of Success by Napoleon HillUnemployable! by David Thomas Roberts
Entrepreneur Book Club
10th out of 15 books — 3 voters
Steve Jobs by Walter IsaacsonThe Art of Startup Fundraising by Alejandro CremadesDelivering Happiness by Tony HsiehLosing My Virginity by Richard BransonThe Everything Store by Brad Stone
Business Biographies and Memoirs
91st out of 108 books — 113 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Andrew
Jun 13, 2016 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When Ray Kroc wrote this book back in 1977, he was optimistic about the growth of McDonald's' breakfast. And suggested they might even one day serve pizza (LOVED IT!).

So this is obviously a little dated. That and references to housewives.

But it's a fascinating business story. This guy didn't kick off McDonald's until he was 52. Which makes me feel a lot better about my career. Before that he was a Depression-era salesman and piano player who epitomized that American gung-ho hard work ethic. He's
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Amy!
Aug 03, 2012 Amy! rated it liked it
I'm not really sure how this book ended up in my to-read pile, but it was short and so I grabbed it for a recent plane trip.

I was surprised to find that it was a rather engaging read. Finished (even this 2nd edition) long before McDonalds became the anti-health and corporate manipulation punching bag that it is today, I found it was rather charming to think of McDs as a tiny little operation with a small menu selling 15 cent hamburgers. I kind of wish I had been able to try their fries back whe
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Doug Pfeffer
Jul 06, 2015 Doug Pfeffer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was kind of fun. McDonalds is super easy to shit on all the time, but during the 60s it was a really new concept in massive commercial franchising.

The guy that started it as a big enterprise, Ray Krok, was in his 50s when he got going. That's interesting. So the book starts with a bunch of strange stuff from the early part of the century. Weird milkshake machine manufacturing scams, the thrilling rise of the paper cut industry, etc. PAPER CUPS USED TO BE CUTTING EDGE.

Then it gets into a bun
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Mike Adeleke
Jun 28, 2016 Mike Adeleke rated it it was amazing
In recent times, it seems that those who rise to success are always bright, young, and precocious. They hit on an idea and in a relatively short amount of time rode their prowess and an economic wave to success. This was not Ray Kroc founder of the modern McDonalds. Ray Kroc was a journeyman of sales moving from one product to another. When he met the McDonalds brothers and looked to expand their brand he was 52 years old! But as the book states, he simply made it a habit to grind it out. This s ...more
Jenny Kim
Aug 01, 2016 Jenny Kim rated it really liked it
Who doesn't know the golden arch or the name McDonald's? I had my shares of McDonald's hamburgers and fries. I still remember the first time(This is going to date me.) I had my first BigMac when they used to be served in halves, separated by hot and cold sides, and I had to combine them together to make them one. The little catharsis I experienced in making my own burger...

This is timeless, no-BS, practical, forgotten and oh so relevant business book. At the heart of it is a man, Ray Kroc, who
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Darius Daruvalla-riccio
Jul 05, 2016 Darius Daruvalla-riccio rated it really liked it
I first expected this book to be instructions on how to built a successful business. You don't really get any of that directly. What you do get, however, is a lot of insight into Ray Kroc's worldview, attitudes and philosophy.

It shows you his life story and you really get to understand how the minds of these great entrepreneurs work and what the 'American Dream' actually entails. Personally I would not like his life, and I don't think that it would make most people happy either. (For example he
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Conrad Wesselhoeft
Aug 17, 2015 Conrad Wesselhoeft rated it really liked it
Ray Kroc greased, fried, and larded his way into the history books, revolutionizing America's eating habits while exponentially spiking the fat and calorie count.

Beneath this saga of the Golden Arches is a tender love story--that of Ray's torch-carrying devotion to Joan, his eventual third wife. He first set eyes on her at an office party, where she was playing piano. ("I was stunned by her blonde beauty.") They married a dozen years later, in 1969.

After Ray's 1984 death, Joan invested her vast
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Mugizi Rwebangira
Aug 29, 2016 Mugizi Rwebangira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's essentially 3 parts to this book:
Life Before McDonald's (1902-1954)
Building up McDonald's (1954-1967)
After McDonald's (1967-1976)

In my estimation the first section is the most interesting. Kroc is an interesting character and had a fairly varied career before going into the fast food business. It's very inspiring that he only hit upon his life's work at age 54.

The section on building McDonald's is somewhat engaging, but the problem is that it doesn't really give a lot of insights into w
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André Bueno
Sep 26, 2014 André Bueno rated it it was amazing
Shelves: autobiography
Very inspiring read. Enjoyed seeing how it all played out and it begs the question, if this 52 year old man can start over and create an empire- what excuse do we have? (This includes those over 52 too!)
Tiffani
Apr 20, 2011 Tiffani rated it really liked it
This was a great book about the effect of hard work and a determined attitude. I admire Ray Kroc for remaining 'green' in his thinking and seizing a business opportunity at 52.
Zachary Slayback
Ray Kroc's story is amazing -- he pretty much built the entire McDonald's empire (and the modern franchise style) on his ability to sell and his bias for action. The book is so-so. Most of it is just Kroc recounting his story with little reflection and it could have easily been ghostwritten or an encyclopedia article in the first person.

It's definitely a story worth reading -- don't carve out too much time to read every detail of this book, though. If you know the story and you know how franchi
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Ietrio
Aug 28, 2016 Ietrio rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio
A salesman without scruples woke up one day to discover life is short. He was old already when he started. He has the money now. But not the status. He is just the salesman from when he started only with much more money in the bank. So paper cups, milk shake makers, burger joints, now he is ready to sell himself as great. The frog turning into an amazing prince without anyone noticing. I smell lies, omissions and maybe some fact twisting.

So this is a remarkable sales pitch: venerate me. Reading
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Tony | Outwork Industries
Aug 08, 2016 Tony | Outwork Industries rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, biography
I have a few growing businesses, but I have no business background. Most of my experience lies in the management & leadership of people and systems. Running a business, let alone a bootstrapped startup, is not something I am especially equipped to do.

Enter the power of reading once again. I enjoy learning from those that have done it all already and what more an inspiration than the biggest fast food chain in the world. No, I don’t eat McDonalds and the food is terrible for you. But it is i
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Benedikt
Feb 16, 2015 Benedikt rated it really liked it
I really admire Ray Kroc's success as a businessman. He created an empire and one of the most recognized brands of the world through determination, passion, love for details, the ability to dream big and hard work. He literally grinded it out. This process is precisely described in his book and it was exciting to read the constant and ambitous growing progress of Mc Donald's from a couple of stores to the empire it became and continues to be. The fact that many successful institutions around the ...more
June Ding
Jan 10, 2015 June Ding rated it liked it
Being a Chinese I never liked hamburger but I think MacD's has the best French Fries in the world. Every once in a while I would crave to have some and I typically indulge myself when we travel. It is amazing to see how busy McD's in Europe are even you'd think the Europeans are health conscious bunch! But its founder is more fascinating. I was interested in reading the book when i learnt that Ray Kroc was 52 years old when he first met McDonald brothers and founded the chain stores that became ...more
Ann Marie
Apr 05, 2012 Ann Marie rated it liked it
I bought this book for my dad for Christmas - this prompted a lot of questions from him about the history of McDonald's and how things are run today. So ultimately I read this out of obligation to some extent, but more than anything, I wanted to learn more about my employer.

Overall, it was very interesting - I often hear about the Joan Kroc Estate on NPR and was quite surprised when I read that Ray & Joan met while they were both married (she was married to an owner operator). They ultimatel
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David Kopec
Aug 09, 2013 David Kopec rated it really liked it
Inspiring but Limited

Ray Kroc gives an engaging account of his life, including significant insight behind the founding of McDonalds. Kroc is willing to detail both his successes and his mistakes, which allows the reader to truly feel like an 'insider'. The book is filled with interesting snippets of advice based on these successes or failures that Kroc backs up with anecdotes. He's a great story teller, and he uses that talent to expound his life philosophy of working hard and getting things don
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Timothy Chklovski
Feb 23, 2011 Timothy Chklovski rated it really liked it
Shelves: business, investing
Ray Kroc meets Pabrai's criteria of a huge-value-creation CEO: truthful, loves his company, low-ego (well, putting company ahead of self, at least), high energy & determination
Memorable quotes: stay "green and growing";
"work is the meat in the hamburger of life"
-- they did some deals that were win-win. Even when others got an unfair deal, just honored it and kept going -- focused on larger goal.
Good judge of character, built a team of super-dedicated folks
Yelled a lot at work.
Being in cup/m
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Chhun
Nov 07, 2012 Chhun rated it liked it
Grinding it out... it's telling about a man who doesn't believe in talent, genius and even education but persistence and determination alone. Most people said he was dreaming, and they would be right. Ray had been dreaming all day long and all in his life, and he was sure it was non-stop. Do you know the reason why? That was because he believed that a man cannot move far if he is thinking small. He thought not big but huge which most people believed he was dreaming. He said we have to challenge ...more
David Rosage
May 05, 2016 David Rosage rated it it was amazing
This was an amazing read. It simply amazes me that he started MCDonalds at age 52 and in 25 years had over 4000 stores and 3 billion in sales. Favorite quote: "PRESS On: Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent" - Ray Kroc
Dan Hatcher
Feb 07, 2016 Dan Hatcher rated it really liked it
Inspiring autobiography of the man who made McDonald's what it is today: a seething, corporate mess of grease. Seeing the world from his point of view is a total mind-flip. The Walmart of Fast Food was apparently founded on wholesome American family values. I can't help but think that with his passing in 1984, those virtues were flipped like another one of billions of other burgers. Now McDonald's stands for childhood obesity, diabetes and Ronald McDonald. Wouldn't Ray be proud?
Jeff Gramm
Sep 17, 2007 Jeff Gramm rated it it was amazing
This book contains the quote, "In the hamburger of life, WORK is the meat."

Like Les Schwab's book, this is a fascinating autobiography of a complete maniac. Ray Kroc made his fortune with McDonald's late in life, after struggling as a salesman for various cup/plasticware companies and an automatic milk-shake machine maker. I read this shortly after reading "Fast Food Nation" and I think that everyone who agrees with Eric Schlosser that the fast-food industry undermines America's values and mani
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Chuck
This book is the autobiography of Ray Kroc, the founder of the McDonalds hamburgler chain. It is a tedious book with more names remembered on his way up than there are in a Chicago telephone book. He outlines every person, strategy and event in his life, but I unfortunately enjoyed the vulnerability of his love life the most. However, if you take great interest in corporate debt structures, how to make the best french fries or how his formula for the franchise business was so succesful, then rea ...more
Rich
Apr 06, 2015 Rich rated it liked it
I was guided to this book by the Mark Knopfler song "Boom, Like That" that told the story in just a few, meaningful verses. I wanted to know more and I got most of what I wanted from this book.

It's Ray Kroc's own story about how McDonald's got it's start, the IPO and other developments through 1977. Of particular interest was the interaction with the McDonald brothers which was somewhat different that was indicated in the Knopfler song. It also added the some details about his acquisition of the
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T E N Z I N
Dec 12, 2015 T E N Z I N rated it it was amazing
If you would like to learn more about McDonalds, pls check out this channel:https://www.youtube.com/user/Theracka...
If you would like to see how Ronald McDonald deals with competitors, watch these: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tnu43...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txAS3...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiBeJ...
James Ridgers
Jan 26, 2016 James Ridgers rated it really liked it
I'm not a fan of McDonald's products, but Kroc's account of how he started the company, the struggles he and his early team faced, the intentions behind their efforts, and the roadblocks they overcame to build what became today's prominent global empire, is both fascinating and inspiring, and serves as a testament to what hard work and dedication can achieve.

Kroc's reputation precedes him, but it becomes understandable in light of this book. His grit and determination are evident, and while appl
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Dansage
Aug 20, 2012 Dansage rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Very interesting read for anyone interested in the day to day struggles of a start up business. It is more a biography of Ray Kroc than the story of McDonald's, but he justifies this by saying that the earlier business experiences allowed him to be successful by the time the McDonald's opportunity came. He explores the challenges of expanding a business and the sacrifices that many had to make. Rarely acknowledging the possibility of a mistake on his own part, he is quick to criticize others by ...more
Amazing Titicaca
Dec 03, 2015 Amazing Titicaca rated it did not like it
Poet of burgers...in his days no one believed in Mr Kroc. The counter ladies in airports assisted him coldly, maybe because he was old and ill (52 yo and operated); nobody may believe he could build a new business system, but he did and McDonalds is his creation.

Hard working gentleman and always oriented on the client. It is something I lernt from him to serve tables with passion and dedication.

Looking for new techniques and processes, eliminating old fashioned way of serving at restos.
Working w
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Cath
Sep 24, 2016 Cath rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting book. Although I truly feel Ray Kroc would be shamed by some of the food practices used today by McDonald's, it was really great to read about the beginnings of the franchise and what the enterprise was built on. Hard work. Quality. Customer Service and Loyalty.
Great story telling from times long past. But it's comforting to know that some of the great ideas Kroc and his Operators had still shine on. And of course his philanthropic efforts.
Marcos Moret
Mar 26, 2016 Marcos Moret rated it really liked it
Compact and engrossing autobiography from the company's founder. The McDonalds franchise 'system' is a thing of business beauty, and this book gives some great and inspiring insights into how he went about achieving it all.
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