McLovin it and other adventures
June 22, 2022 11:56 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for book suggestions on juicy processes and business strategies/anecdotes — think McDonalds, Disney, or Lego (for example Brick by Brick is on my list). That said, I'm open to any company or industry, and podcasts too! The only criteria is that it must be told in a relatively engaging way.
posted by socky_puppy to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I enjoyed For God, Country & Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It by Mark Pendergrast. I don't know if it's entertaining, but I was fascinated enough to read it on a vacation.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 12:12 PM on June 22

How I Built This is right up your alley, podcast-wise.
posted by nkknkk at 12:18 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]

Not a book or podcast but the Company Man YouTube channel has several interesting videos on how various fast food chains (and other businesses) succeeded or failed.
posted by downtohisturtles at 12:34 PM on June 22

Dealers of Lightning comes to mind
posted by rhizome at 1:06 PM on June 22

I liked Losing the Signal which is about Blackberry's rise and fall, including their inability to figure out what to do in a post-iPhone world.

I do not recommend Ray Kroc's Grinding it Out (McDonalds), it's mostly full of anecdotes and not much in the way of business.
posted by meowzilla at 1:46 PM on June 22

It's fictional, but the #1 book has to The Goal by Eli Goldratt. It's an account of a factory guy who is trying to improve processes, and most of the book is describing process improvement strategies come by via life scenarios, ie: improving inventory flow, JIT, etc. It's pretty short, and not too boring.
posted by The_Vegetables at 3:30 PM on June 22

Harvard Business Review just put out a 100th anniversary best-of best-of of its publications. If you've never read their stuff it'd be a good primer, and HBR's many subject-specific publications from there.
posted by MollyRealized at 3:31 PM on June 22

There a few business books floating around about Starbucks. Unfortunately, most of them are not very good. However, Built for Growth by Arthur Rubinfeld - gives a rare insider account of how this coffee chain expanded. The book has rigor but avoids the dryness of an academic text as real-life personal perspectives are peppered throughout. A gem of a book if you're looking to uncover some of the lesser known processes behind on of the world's biggest coffee shop chains.
posted by jacobean at 3:32 PM on June 22

There’s a great longform article about why Target failed in Canada. I love Target and watched the Toronto locations fall apart in real time, getting worse week over month until they crumbled and left us (single tear).
posted by nouvelle-personne at 6:51 PM on June 22 [1 favorite]

For the film industry:

Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood - Mark Harris

Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock-'n'-Roll Generation Saved Hollywood - Peter Biskind

Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film - Peter Biskind

Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood - Kim Masters and Nancy Griffin

The Kid Stays in the Picture: A Notorious Life - Robert Evans

I think the above are all fantastic reads. These are also good but a little more in the weeds:

Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency - James Miller

The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business - Frank Rose
posted by dobbs at 7:56 AM on June 23

The Pixar Touch
posted by rip at 2:25 AM on June 24

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