Ray and Joan

Ray and Joan

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

eBook - 2016
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The movie The Founder , starring Michael Keaton, focused the spotlight on Ray Kroc, the man who amassed a fortune as the chairman of McDonald's. But what about his wife Joan, the woman who became famous for giving away his fortune? Lisa Napoli tells the fascinating story behind the historic couple.

Ray & Joan is a quintessentially American tale of corporate intrigue and private passion: a struggling Mad Men -era salesman with a vision for a fast-food franchise that would become one of the world's most enduring brands, and a beautiful woman willing to risk her marriage and her reputation to promote controversial causes that touched her deeply.

Ray Kroc was peddling franchises around the country for a fledgling hamburger stand in the 1950s--McDonald's, it was called--when he entered a St. Paul supper club and encountered a beautiful young piano player who would change his life forever. The attraction between Ray and Joan was instantaneous and instantly problematic. Yet even the fact that both were married to other people couldn't derail their roller coaster of a romance.

To the outside world, Ray and Joan were happy, enormously rich, and giving. But privately, Joan was growing troubled over Ray's temper and dark secret, something she was reluctant to publicly reveal. Those close to them compared their relationship to that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. And yet, this volatility paved the way for Joan's transformation into one of the greatest philanthropists of our time. A force in the peace movement, she produced activist films, books, and music and ultimately gave away billions of dollars, including landmark gifts to the Salvation Army and NPR.

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 :, Penguin Random House LLC,, [2016]
ISBN: 9781101984963
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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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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