Ray & Joan

Ray & Joan

The Man Who Made the McDonald's Fortune and the Woman Who Gave It All Away

Book - 2016
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Beginning in the 1950s, salesman Ray Kroc presided over the transformation of a successful burger stand into an international brand where millions of people eat each day. All the while he pursued the woman who would become his third wife, Joan-a woman willing to risk her marriage and her reputation to promote controversial causes in which she believed. For sheer emotional firepower, the relationship between Ray and Joan-whose massive gifts to NPR and the Salvation Army rate her as one of the greatest philanthropists of our time-has been compared to that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Equally as dramatic as Ray and Joan's romance is the story of how Ray wrested control of the company from the original founders and presided over its growth, once bringing it close to failure before finally triumphing-and, soon after, finally winning the hand of the love of his life. Together, the two stories form a compelling portrait of the twentieth century- a story of big business, big love, and big giving.
Publisher: New York, New York : Dutton, [2016]
ISBN: 9781101984956
Branch Call Number: 361.7409227
Characteristics: 353 pages ; 24 cm


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The Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of the business world.

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Aug 14, 2017

I really enjoyed this book. I'm a child of the fast food hamburger generation and it was fascinating to read how the fast food business sweapt across America. I remember the 15 cent hamburger and how we all gravitated towards them. We take McDonalds for granted but the story of it's inception, innovation and rise was more interesting then I thought. It was kind of like a journey through the times I grew up in. Roy and Joan were an interesting pair and met in St. Paul, MN. She was from Grand Rapids and always kept her Minnesota values. Her philanthropic contributions are legend. She gave huge sums of money to NPR and the Salvations Armey. She was the mystery angel who gave Grand Forks North Dakota millions during the big flood. I think the book is much better than the movie although the movie wasn't bad.

May 06, 2017

After watching “The Founder”, it was interesting to have more of the story. Immensely readable, Joan Ray Kroc’s third wife, is shown to be a force of her own. She may have lived in the shadow of her husband, but once he died, it was as if she was reborn. No longer worried about showing her liberal leanings, her philanthropic gifts were varied and generous. What surprised me was how despite her lack of baseball knowledge she kept the San Diego Padres that her husband had purchased. Good reading.

Mar 07, 2017

Ray and Joan is mostly about Joan Kroc, wife of Ray Kroc of McDonald's fame. Although the story of Ray is told, it really more about Joan's life as a philanthropist after Ray died. Although Ray was the one interested in making money, ironically Joan was richer than he was (after he died) because of the ever increasing value of McDonald's stock.

Joan's life consisted of living the good life, but tempering that with almost unbelievable donations. She wound up giving away over two BILLION dollars to charity, totally uninterested in having a large estate after she died.

It's a side of the Kroc family that I'm sure not many people know and it's surprising. However, although I'm glad I read the book, I'm not sure I would call it an exciting read. It's hard to criticize someone who gives away billions of dollars to good causes, I can't help but notice she really wasn't heavily invested in the causes, other than to give them money.


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