Ray and Joan: The Man Who Made the McDonald’s Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away. Lisa Napoli. Penguin Publishing Group. November 2016. 368 pp. ISBN#: 9781101984956.
Ray Kroc, the founder of the world-wide famous McDonald stores, began with little money but a large imagination. Lisa Napoli has given the reader a fascinating look at how this mega-business began. Not only were the ideas waiting to be born by Ray and other entrepreneurs but also the machines that facilitated the delivery of “fast food” within minutes of being ordered. So, we learn how hamburger presses, French fry cutters, and mixers to make multiple shakes at a time were made. We hear how company policy was made on how franchise owners would all operate the McDonald stores the same way, including the precise timing for making hamburgers, fries, soda and shakes. No one could deviate with his or her own version of what was better depending on geographic areas. Ray’s first and second wives wanted quick success but grew increasingly frustrated at the ups and downs of this process, financially as well as technologically. His third wife changed his life completely and added the final touch to a dream come true!
Joan Kroc, on the other hand, saw her poor, younger years as ones that would shape the rest of her life but certainly not in the way that most people would expect. Joan had few talents except for a dazzling, sexy voice. She was also quite beautiful and took care of her appearance carefully for the rest of her life. Her empathy with people who were trying to make a living with the lowest minimal wage made her a gift giver whom some called overly generous and others called crazy.
Crazy or not, the reader is uplifted at the way Joan tipped tax drivers and waiters/ waitresses, founded and supported the McDonald’s House institution for families with children suffering from cancer, and it just goes on and on with National Public Radio receiving a shockingly large ($200,000,000) donation, as well as other donations to zoos around the world and a radio station, et al.
Ray and Joan… is fascinating reading sure to please all readers! Very nicely presented Lisa Napoli!