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The House that Cheese Built

The Unusual Life of the Mexican Immigrant who Defined a Multibillion-Dollar Global Industry

Leal, Miguel A.


1. Auflage August 2023
272 Seiten, Hardcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-394-18402-6
John Wiley & Sons

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A quintessential American dream story from a Mexican entrepreneur who shares the tale of building a multi-million-dollar business from scratch, complete with both success and failure, and always a vision of hope.

Leal came to the U.S. penniless as a teenager, speaking almost no English; he literally slept in the boiler room of a Wisconsin cheese factory for months before he was caught. Through hard work, grit, and ingenuity Leal would go on to launch his own business. He is widely credited with introducing Mexican cheeses to the U.S. market and grew his company to a multimillion-dollar success story that defined an industry. Yet, like many successful entrepreneurs, Leal's great successes were matched by personal failures: the end of a marriage; trouble with law enforcement; and the deeply felt sense that there must be something more to life than great wealth.
* Read the astounding memoir of a Mexican immigrant who worked his way to success in the American cheese industry
* Find inspiration in Miguel Leal's determination and refusal to give up on his dream
* See how Leal persevered in the face of obstacles and setbacks in his personal life
* Follow Miguel's story as he finds peace, purpose, and grace--and realizes that money isn't everything

Leal's memoir, The House that Cheese Built, is both a quintessential immigrant success story, one that beautifully illustrates the immigrant experiences: isolation, fear, and ambition for a better life and assimilation, as well as a thoughtful personal account of entrepreneurship and all its benefits and costs.

Acknowledgments vii

Prologue: The House that Cheese Built ix

Part I Castaway 1

1 Death of the Transformer 3

2 Desire More 19

3 Create Opportunity 43

Part II From Cheese Cutter to Factory Owner 67

4 Learn to Pivot 69

5 Doing Business with the Amish 89

6 Say Cheese 97

Part III Living the American Dream 111

7 Expulsion and Reinvention 113

8 Shooting Pigeons 141

9 One Last Cheese 147

Part IV Betrayal and Grace 165

10 Big Money 167

11 Betrayal 191

12 Fighting for My Life 209

13 Four Days in Court 219

14 Prison Days and Finding Grace 233

Epilogue: Key Lessons for Entrepreneurs 241

About the Author 249

Index 251
MIGUEL LEAL founded Mexican Cheese Producers in 1994. Leal eventually sold his business to Sigma Alimentos, which used his recipes to win the 2020 World Championship Cheese Contest. Today, Miguel is deeply invested in a new passion project: supporting Mexico's organic farming movement with a farm of his own.