Grinding It Out

Ray Kroc is founder of McDonald’s Corporation. I found out he had written an autobiography, entitled Grinding it out: the making of McDonald’s, when I was listening to one of Mark Knopfler’s songs. “Boom, Like That” was obviously about McDonald’s, so I did a little reading up on it and sure enough, it was inspired by Kroc’s story, this book being cited.

The book itself is short and simple. At under 200 pages it only took me a week to get through it without much perseverance. In some ways this was a little disappointing as the book never really goes into much detail. You do not feel like you are gleaming so many secrets to success as you might feel you were if you were reading Duncan Bannatyne’s or James Khan’s autobiographies. But there is valuable content in there and given the length, comes at an easy price. Kroc did always place an emphasis on value as well as quality after all.

It has somewhat dated. It was written in 1977, Kroc having died in 1984, and the ages shows. He finishes up by talking about how he now has 4,000 restaurants and is dreaming of 5,000, maybe even 10,000. McDonald’s now has over 34,000 restaurants worldwide. Similarly, at the time it only had 21 restaurants outside of the United States, now I would be very surprised if the majority are not elsewhere in the world. Not that this detracts from the reading much.

The real take-away message from the book though is that Kroc only founded McDonald’s when he was 55! Too often we hear about the success of irritating people like Sebastian Vettel who is now a four-times Formula One world champion, despite being younger than me. I haven’t even won one yet. Kroc however, spent his whole life grinding out a living, and it was only after many would consider you are past your prime (especially in 1954) that he built a multi-billion dollar business empire in less than two decades. It is comforting to know that there is a possibility, however slim, that I could spend the next 30 years of my life messing around and still have the chance to make it big.

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This entry was posted on Saturday, April 5th, 2014 at 9:15 am and is filed under Books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.