A businessman reflects on the impact that his entrepreneurial grandfather had on his life.
Debut author Naugle was deeply influenced by the example provided by his father’s father, Richard “Dick” Marion Naugle. Dick was an innovative, visionary entrepreneur whose formal education ended in the fourth grade, and he spent his entire career in the food business. He designed and built trucks that delivered orange juice and other food-service equipment, owned a Dalbe Drug Counter restaurant, and worked for 20 years in the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, rising to the ranks of upper level management. In 1964, he started Del Taco, a fast-food drive-thru business that revolutionized the industry with a “twin-kitchen concept.” It combined the dine-in and drive-thru restaurant models and drastically expedited the process of serving customers. After selling his stake in Del Taco, Dick started another chain, Naugles, and continued to perfect the fast-food experience; he was the first to use an exterior speaker system for a drive-thru, for example. This is an eclectic book—a memoir, a self-help guide to entrepreneurialism, and a source of general inspiration. The author includes plenty of practical counsel—for example, on how to manage employees—and more general advice about work ethic and life priorities. Although it’s written in consistently clear prose, its efforts to be catchy can be grating: Naugle likes to refer to teachable moments, for instance, with the abbreviation “TM.” Also, much of the advice is so timeworn that it’s unlikely to pique readers’ interest—for example, that it’s important to satisfy the customer. In the end, though, this is both a moving homage to a personal hero and a bracing reminder of the dangers of uncritical emulation. The author is refreshingly candid not only about his grandparent’s personal failings, some of which led to disastrous business mistakes, but also about his own.
A thoughtful account of the advantages and disadvantages of imitating one’s idols.