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My Sister's a Barista: How They Made Starbucks a Home Away from Home Paperback – 1 Dec 2004

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More About the Author

I'm a writer primarily in the world of brands and business, with a particular focus on language ("How do brands communicate if they don't use words?"). My books have helped to make words a central issue of branding, from We, me, them & it through to Room 121. I also write fiction (The angel of the stories) and bring creative writing techniques to my training work as part of the Dark Angels programme. I'm a founder director of 26, the national writers' collective, and an honorary fellow of University College Falmouth. I blog regularly at

Product Description


"An eye-opening story of how a simple café brand found a warm place in the hearts of the yuppie masses." -- The Independent (21 July 2004)

"Be prepared to be riveted by the story of Starbucks. A fascinating read, by a fascinating writer." -- Rita Clifton, Chairman, Interbrand

"John Simmons brings stories to life in ways that are fresh, bold and inspiring." -- Jon Potter, Global Brand Director, Guinness

From the Publisher

Great Brand Stories is a new series that sets out to tell the inspiring stories of some of today's top brands. Edited by brands expert John Simmons, the books focus on brands that have not only reaped huge profits for their owners, but also established themselves as icons of contemporary society.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book! 8 Jun. 2005
By Saquilla S. Hall - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book can be finished in a day! I simply couldn't put it down. It's written as a story so you get quickly pulled into the storyline to find out the end. Although, you already know the ending...Starbucks is one of the most admired brands and successful companies ever known.

So how did they do it? This book answers this question and more. What I enjoyed about the book is that it opened the door to the heart and soul of Starbucks to reveal their evolution and foundation. As I prepare my business plan, this book has been more helpful to me than typical business plan books. A lot of times those books provide heartless examples of companies. Sure you've got a great idea for a product or service, but how do you translate that into a brand? What is in the best interest for your customer? After all, Starbucks just sells coffee and coffee related products - nothing extravagant alone, but the mystical & romantic experience surrounding their coffee is a distinctive brand that is difficult to match.

This book answers the Who? Where? When? Why? How? of the Starbucks development - their trials, errors and commitment to their beliefs. The concepts discussed in the book are things that I feel touch every business, yet this book provides consistent examples of how to address them.

Concepts such as:-

-Growth & development


-Why you don't have to franchise to be successful brand

-Rewarding customers by first rewarding employees ("partners") and suppliers

-Turning down profitable alternatives if it sacrifices the customer's overall experience or a partner's view of the company

I must admit I have not read "Pour your heart into it" so I can't comment on any similarities/differences between the two books. What I can say is that if you are interested in creating a world-class company and want to learn how to infuse your company with a soul (rather than focusing on your product development) to ensure success, then this is your book!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Depends what you are looking for 5 May 2008
By Tina - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love all things Starbucks which is why I purchased this book.

I was under the impression that this story would be a diary type book, complete with juicy stories of interactions and goings on at Starbucks.

This was not the case. This book is basically loaded with all types of information (business-wise mainly) on Starbucks, coffee, and the industry in general. There are some great photographs of various Starbucks stores in various cities in the world.

This book is interesting if you are looking for dry facts. If you are looking for anecdotes, cute stories or juicy gossip, this is not the book for you.

However, having said that, it is obvious that the author was painstaken about his research and certainly took his subject matter to heart.
GREAT BOOK 20 July 2008
By Maritza De Espiritu Santo - Published on
Format: Paperback
I think this is a great book that gives not only the story of starbuck's as a store, but it also narrates how the company's philosophy of the company was established giving it's added value service.
Highly recommend for anyone who works on marketing or communications related areas.
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