Part corporate autobiography, part refutation of objections from Starbucks' detractors, this history of this successful coffee company details the ideas and values that helped Starbucks become what it is today. Schultz's enthusiasm for coffee (and for life) percolates throughout the book, providing a high-energy and seemingly caffeinated read. Most interesting in the book is the sociological analysis of why Starbucks has become so huge. The author suggests that Americans are starving for a "third place" apart from work and home where we can sit, converse, and build relationships. This yearning for community has been met in some small way by local coffeehouses and coffee bars across the country. Also fascinating are specific episodes such as the creation of Frappucino and the company's forays into markets such as coffee ice cream. In this the company demonstrates its remarkable ability to innovate and adapt its product without losing sight of its core business. In some parts, the author seems a little defensive, which is not surprising considering the attacks Starbucks has had to fend off in recent years. Schultz does an admirable job of providing the Starbucks side of the story, though many readers may suspect that this is little more than corporate P.R. spin control. Schultz's unbridled optimism may leave some readers feeling like the rags-to-riches story is yet another pipe dream available only to those rare entrepreneurs blessed with the inspiration, motivation and connections needed to make it in corporate America. What about the average Joe? The Starbucks success story is indeed remarkable, but whether or not Starbucks is the business paradigm for the next millennium is yet to be determined.
What a surprisingly inspiring and great story. Not being a huge fan of Starbucks, I bought this book with a number of others, just after starting my own small company. After reading a few pages I was drawn into the obvious passion this man has for his brand and the ethics he applies to his business, not to mention the determination to succeed. After I finished reading, I immediately bought a copy for my father who agreed that this is not just a great story but a great read too. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to hear of a commitment and passion I think will inspire others to apply some of Howard's lessons to their own business. Needles to say I'm drinking Starbucks every day...
I'm only a little way into this book so I'm maybe a bit churlish to deliver a verdict so early in the reading, but for me the text screams 'Not written by Howard Schultz - written by a ghostwriter'. And so it seems, judging by the back cover credits. I had the same issue reading Jo Malone's autobiography recently. Professional writers make something polished and seamless of their raw material, so that the true voice gets glossed over and replaced by something more like PR. This aspect is very much putting me off.
I still found this book extremely interesting to read. It helped me to understand so much more about how to build a business from a 'vision'. It is not just the normal 'sort of telling you the right way to do business' type of educational book, it is more like a story telling book, written by a very successful Starbucks CEO, telling you how he managed to turn his dream into reality and all the possible risks he faced. This is a very intriguing book to read indeed. It helped me to differentiate a true business dream from just a passing phase type of dream. As long as you are truely passionate about something, you will be able to find a way and to achieve your dream.
I don't normally buy these kinds of books, but when I saw the great reviews I decided to take the plunge, especially as I love coffee and visit Starbucks from time to time.
I've always wondered how the company grew so large and in a way introduced the coffee-shop culture (especially in the UK)
This book details the rise of starbucks until the late 90's and how it became a household name in North America. It's a very easy to book to read and follow and zips along at a quick pace.
Before reading the book I always imagined starbucks as being very corporate and a large, faceless, impersonal organisation. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It was interesting to note that it took it's environmental policy seriously even before it became trendy and it started sources ethically produced coffee years before Fair Trade became as common as now.
Obviously with these kinds of books you are only getting one side of the story and I'm sure he's upset many people on the way to the top, but to be fair he does say that things haven't always been easy. It's a great story for any would be entrepreneurs - he started building the company in his late 20's and had hundreds of shops across N. America before he turned 40.