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Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul Hardcover – 13 Apr 2011

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 348 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 1 edition (13 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470977647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470977644
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 3.4 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,904 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

About the Author

Howard Schultz is chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Starbucks Coffee Company. Howard moved to Seattle from his native New York and joined the company in 1982 as director of operations and marketing when Starbucks had only four stores. He has been recognized extensively for his passion, leadership, and efforts to strengthen communities, with honors including the Horatio Alger Award for those who have overcome adversity to achieve success; the Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Business Ethics given by Notre Dame University′s Mendoza College of Business; the Botwinick Prize in Business Ethics from Columbia Business School; and the first ever John Wooden Global Leadership Award from UCLA Anderson School of Management. He has also been included in Time magazine′s "Time 100," a list of the most influential people in the world. Howard and his wife, Sheri, live in Seattle and have two children.

The Starbucks Foundation and the CUP Fund
All of Howard Schultz′s proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Starbucks Foundation, founded in 1997 to support the company′s commitment to community; and the CUP Fund, founded by partners (employees) to provide financial relief to partners facing emergency situations that have unexpectedly impacted their life.

Joanne Gordon is a former Forbes writer who has spent more than a decade profiling companies and business leaders for numerous publications. She has written five previous books.

From the Back Cover

On February 26, 2008, customers at 7,100 Starbucks stores in the US were asked to leave. For the next three hours every barista in every Starbucks was retrained in the art of making the perfect espresso. The act was unprecedented, but proof of just how dire things were becoming at a company that could once do no wrong.

For more than three decades, Starbucks had a storied history of being a great place to work, of ethically sourcing and roasting the highest–quality coffee beans, and of crafting beverages for millions of customers who went to Starbucks for coffee and for a sense of community. But by 2008, after years of focusing on rapid expansion, the traits that made Starbucks successful were in jeopardy. Sales started to slide at a distressing rate. The stock price was falling. The company′s very survival was at risk.

To address the emerging problems, former chief executive officer Howard Schultz, who had stepped aside almost eight years earlier to become chairman after growing Starbucks from 11 stores to thousands, did something no one expected: He returned as CEO to oversee day–to–day operations. His goal was not just to stabilize the company, but to transform it by refocusing on core values and reigniting the innovation required to thrive in a dramatically shifting marketplace, all while fending off harsh critics and huge competitors.

Schultz came back with passion and a plan, and in the course of two years–even in the face of painful revelations about internal troubles and a worsening economy–Starbucks astonishingly returned to sustainable, profitable growth.

Onward is the remarkable story of that transformation. Schultz offers readers an extraordinarily intimate look at his daily decision–making process, from closed–door planning sessions in Seattle, to conversations with coffee farmers in Rwanda, to investor presentations in New York during the worst of the economic turmoil.

Onward is more than just a business book. Personally inspiring and unexpectedly candid, it brings a dramatic story to life with the emotional power and narrative suspense of a novel.

"Through the lens of his personal leadership journey, with all of its dizzying ups and agonizing downs, Howard Schultz has written, with aching honesty and passion, the single most important book on leadership and change for our time and for every generation of leaders. This book is not just recommended reading, it′s required."
Warren Bennis, Distinguished Professor of Business, University of Southern California, and author of the recently published Still Surprised: A Memoir of a Life in Leadership

"Howard Schultz′s refreshingly candid, compelling narrative demonstrates what it takes to lead in these extraordinary times. Onward is a rare firsthand account of how one of the world′s most iconic brands overcame the challenges that confront us all."
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo

"The second toughest thing in business is building a successful enterprise–the toughest is to engineer a turnaround and still maintain the core culture and values of the organization. This is a classic example of how it can be done. Howard has proven it′s not enough to be smart or well intentioned–sustained success will not occur without true passion from the very top!"
Jim Sinegal, cofounder and CEO of Costco

Starred Review: "[This] sequel to the founding of Starbucks is grittier, more gripping, and dramatic, and [Schultz′s] voice is winning and authentic. This is a must–read for anyone interested in leadership, management, or the quest to connect a brand with the consumer."
Publishers Weekly

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Doug TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Sept. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I started reading the Kindle Version of this book with rather low explanations, after all the world can probably manage unite well without another how I did it book from an American Chain!

But from page 1 there is such a high degree of honesty in this book.

How Howard Schultz had a clear vision and then fought to see that vision shine through.

A lot of practical management ideas and theories are considered, there are some wonderful sections which I have had to highlight and keep coming back to.

In summary, an awesome book, well written, excellent management theories and inspiration.

However, having just visited my local Starbuck, they still have a long way to go.

But what we learn form the book is they know that.

Recommended - no make that, Highly Recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
On the whole this is a disappointing book.

Written like a marketing diatribe, it is insipid, doesn't inspire, lacks heart, and is boring. I also didn't learn very much about coffee or business - other than "passion" is somehow important to Starbucks. Even the parts of the book that were meant to be inspiring, such as when part of the mission statement is read out by various adoring managers and "partners" at a convention had me putting my fingers down the back of my throat. I found myself far more interested in those family vacations to Hawaii, which always seemed to coincide with those taken by other CEOs such as Michael Dell - they say birds of a feather flock together, but I can't imagine anything worse than taking a holiday where all you seem to do is talk shop with other Alpha Males, go for 30 mile bike rides, and fiddle with your Blackberry.

All in all this book on Howard Schultz's attempt to reclaim Starbucks, and guide it towards a glorious future, left me as cold as a cup of brewed coffee. And here's why. The Starbucks described in this book is the polar opposite of the one I know from my own experience. For example, I had to stop visiting my local Starbucks because they kept getting it wrong. On nearly every visit I either got the wrong size, the wrong drink, or someone else took my drink order by mistake. The place was a shambles. I gave up and went to Costa or Cafe Nero instead. It's a shame because I generally like the shop design and you can get a half-decent Americano there.

Against my better judgement I recently revisited Starbucks when a new Drive Thru was opened on the route of my commute. I guess my mindset was "how bad can it be?". The answer: pretty bad.
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Format: Hardcover
This is Howard Schultz's second book about Starbucks, where he is chairman, president, and CEO.
The book covers the period from 2008, when Starbucks was in crisis, its sales slumping and stock tumbling. Schultz tells us how through re-focusing on core values and continuing innovation the company was brought back to sustainable growth and profit.
Schultz joined the company in 1982, when Starbucks only had four stores, in the 29 years since, Starbucks has grown to be global brand with 17,000 stores in 50 countries.
Clearly Schultz is a driven individual, committed to his business, and open to new ideas. The company's shift to Fair Trade coffee is admirable, as are it's charitable donations. I would have like to have read what Schultz has to say about criticisms aimed at Starbucks, but that's not something tackled by this book.
The book is useful for anyone interested in leadership, management, and building a consumer brand.
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Format: Hardcover
In January 2008, chairman Howard Schultz resumed his roles as President and CEO of Starbucks eight years after he relinquished them, replacing Jim Donald, who took the posts in 2005 but was asked to step down. Schultz's immediate objective was to restore what he called the "distinctive Starbucks experience" after years of rapid expansion that had compromised it. The bulk of this book's material covers the period since then, although Schultz (in collaboration with Joanne Gordon) does include valuable perspectives on the events that preceded his joining Starbucks as director of retail operations in 1982 and his subsequent purchase of the company from its three co-founders in 1987.

Others have their own reasons for praising this book, Here two of mine. First, Schultz is a skillful raconteur and the dramatic narrative that he provides is compelling as he introduces various characters, develops a lively plot filled with crises as well as triumphs, and meanwhile examines several themes that invest the narrative with structure and direction. For example, how to accelerate but manage growth so that the company (however large it may become) retains its entrepreneurial spirit? As Starbucks expanded into new locations, states, and even countries, how to preserve the ambiance of an Italian café (i.e. coffeehouse) while take full advantage of modern technologies? This book is a great read because Schultz has a multitude of fascinating stories to share.
My other reason is that the book anchors in real-world situations, involving real people, a number of business principles that are relevant to all organizations, whatever their size and nature may be.

For example:

1. Don't "fall in love" with loyal, devoted workers.
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