12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
What happens when a company combines coffee and culture.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Pour Your Hearth into It: How Starbucks Built a Company: How Starbooks Built a Company (Hardcover)
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.