Grinding it Out by Ray Kroc
After I finished the book about Conrad Hilton and the empire that he built, there were various recommendations of autobiographies and I thought that learning more about McDonald’s would enjoyable and insightful. It was a great book and one that really let me see into the mind of Ray Kroc and all that he was able to build. I had heard that the original founders of McDonald’s, the Mcdonald brothers did not intend to franchise or greatly expand the company and I was happy to learn much more about that. If there was one thing that continued to stand out to me, it was the hard work and the principles of integrity that showed themselves through all that Ray shared in the book.
I loved this mindset. It jumped off the page at me, or rather it stood out in the audiobook that I was listening to. I listened to this part over and over in awe. The mindset and positivity that he had were just incredible.
Ray Kroc was eager to go into action at 52 years old. He had diabetes, arthritis, had lost his bladder and most of his thyroid gland earlier yet was convinced the best was ahead of him.
This is awesome. This is something that I agree with. I turned 16 and got a job. I thought hey I have my license now, time to get to work. So I did. Then after that, in college, I worked two, three, or even four jobs at once throughout my undergraduate career. I don’t like sitting still, and I enjoy working more than just about everything else I’ve ever done. I like the measurable results and I like the success that comes with working and working hard.
Ray worked often and everywhere, where ever possible. The old saying “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” was something Ray never believed because for him, work was play. He was called a daydreamer but never believed he dreamed too much since action was always connected to it. He called work the meat in the hamburger of life.
This was a true commitment to working in my eyes and I was incredibly surprised that Walt Disney did the same thing to gain entry to the Red Cross; though I was not at all surprised Walt would stay home and draw pictures rather than chase girls.
At the beginning of World War 1, he lied about his age to get into the Red Cross as an ambulance driver. Someone else did the same. He was regarded as a strange duck because whenever they would go out on the town to find girls he would stay in camp drawing pictures. His name was Walt Disney.
I 100% agree. After recently starting my new job, the CEO said the same thing — he told me, “Wow good catch Harrison, I usually don’t make mistakes.”
By Ray Kroc’s definition, an executive is someone who rarely makes mistakes.
One of the people that I think did an amazing job at this was Steve Jobs. He always focused on hiring people smarter than him and letting them do their job.
Ray believed that if you hire a man to do a job, you ought to get out of the way and let him do it. If you doubt his ability, you shouldn’t have hired him in the first place.
Wow, I love this and wow I think that this is imperative. If there is ANY question about whether or not you should be doing something… you probably should not be doing it.
Ray says he’s never been up at night with a guilty conscience. Political expediency requires that someone compromises some things they believe in strongly. That’s why after some said Ray should run for President he never did.
This is something that I totally agree with and support. I hold this as a core value within myself. It’s not enough to simply work and hope that we can do enough to become happy and successful. People often say that success is happiness but is it that happy people are successful? Or is it that successful people are happy? The reality is, we are all different but there is no feeling like overcoming an incredibly difficult challenge and experiencing great success (linked here).
Ray Kroc believes you must learn to know the joy of working and being let work. He says, “it is impossible to grant someone happiness. The best you can do, as the Declaration of Independence put it, is to give them the freedom to pursue happiness. Happiness is not a tangible thing but rather a byproduct of achievement. Achievement must be made against the possibility of failure. Where there is no risk, there can be no achievement and consequently, no happiness. The only way we can advance is by going forward, individually and collectively, in the spirit of the pioneer. We must take the risks involved in our free enterprise system, this is the only way to economic freedom.”
Wow is this ever an incredible and rare skill. Allowing people to both operate independently and dependently at once is incredible. Most people are not able to work interdependently and maintain both their entrepreneurial spirits and their willingness to be managed by someone else, at least to an extent.
His greatest skill was as an instinctive leader who brought entrepreneurs into a structure that both forced them to conform to high standards of quality and service and freed them to operate as independent business people.
As much as I loved this book, I don’t see myself supporting McDonald’s much at any time in the near future — as much as I respect and admire the business model. Ray Kroc seemed like an amazing person. Incredibly ethical. Incredibly driven. Incredibly focused. Incredibly wise. Incredibly hard-working. Wow, would I ever love to be viewed in the same way. I don’t think it’s enough to solely enjoy our lives every day, we must work to create an impact because all of us can.
“The world does not consider labor a blessing, therefore it flees and hates it, but the pious who fear the Lord labor with a ready and cheerful heart, for they know God’s command, and they acknowledge His calling.” — Martin Luther King Jr.
I gave this book a 4/5