Friday, January 11, 2008

Apparently McDonalds is not evil

I just finished reading Grinding It Out: The Making of McDonald's by Ray Croc. It's essentially an autobiography of Croc, who is often heralded as one of the great American entrepreneurs of this century. Basically, you can't help but come away from the book with a reverence for this man. He is so hardworking, passionate, and clearly genuine. I've never hated McDonald's, but I haven't spoken highly of them since I was around 8. And no, there is no story behind that.

Really, McDonald's is just a well oiled (no pun intended) machine trying (and succeeding) to win the game of business. It's not like they're out their killing kittens to get what they want...

The last two paragraphs of the book (see, I did read the whole thing) are beautiful:
Too many young Americans these days don't get a chance to learn how to enjoy work. Much of this country's social and political philosophy seems aimed at removing the risks from life one by one. As I told a group of business students in one of the talks I gave at Dartmouth, it is impossible to grant someone happiness. The best you can do, as the Declaration of Independence puts it, is to give him the freedom to pursue happiness. Happiness is not a tangible thing, it's a byproduct -- a byproduct of achievement.

Achievement must be made against the possibility of failure, against the risk of defeat. It is no achievement to walk a tightrope laid flat on the floor. Where there is no risk, there can be no pride in 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 be able to take the risks involved in your free enterprise system. This is the only way in the world to economic freedom. There is no other way.
Amen brother. Sounds just as true 30 years later...

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