My only criticism of the book is that it comes across as a lot of corporate speak. I'm not saying it's inauthentic, just that the kind of language that he needs to motivate his employees is likely different what what he needed to put in this book.
But he's clearly an inspirational leader. Howard spent a lot of time focused creating a quality experience for his customers. He realized that every piece of the Starbucks experience was crucial to building a top tier brand that stood for quality and a place that people would want to spend time at. From the smell of coffee in the store and the related battle to have or not have cheese sandwiches , to choices people have, to the interactions with the baristas.
The baristas were crucial, because with over 20 thousand stores, he had to create programs to train them and make sure they had the right values and approach. Then this is the book for you. Howard Schultz does a great job in telling the story and how it is possible for such a large organization to have soul! Howard Schultz HS is big believer in the smell of the store he originally did not like the idea of food being served in the store because of the smell of the food over powering the smell of the coffee, i.
HS believed pour of espresso was an art and needed to be done right. He was so committed that he shut down all the stores over 16, for re-training of how to properly make an espresso. He wanted workers to be facing the customers and showing them the art of the work in preparing their drinks. When you put this all together, you should be able to walk into a Starbucks and have it feel familiar but local in taste , see the workers facing the customer as they perform the art of espresso pour, and the smell of coffee in the air.
Jun 27, Gil Bradshaw rated it it was amazing. Howard Schultz is very passionate about coffee. He treats it on the same level as brain surgery or the NASA space program. It's fun to read about the inner-workings of such a high profile company. I'm an orthodox Mormon, and don't drink coffee.
Schultz' descriptions of the roasts and blends are so enticing that I have almost stopped in and broken my vows several times. Not because I'm going to become a regular coffee drinker--because I want to taste their different roasts, machines, a Howard Schultz is very passionate about coffee. Not because I'm going to become a regular coffee drinker--because I want to taste their different roasts, machines, and cappuccinos for context.
I'm only halfway through this book and I'm sure at some point my drive for context will take me to a Starbucks. Note to self: to avoid temptation, don't ever read books which shamelessly promote drugs, alcohol, or prostitution. Amazingly, I didn't go to Starbucks and get five different blends of coffee and line them up and taste them, even though I really wanted to while reading this book. I stuck to my Mormon roots. I first found out about the story of Howard Schultz by listening to a private equity fund manager who raved about Schultz' passion and ability to take over Starbucks.
For those who don't know, Schultz worked at a gourmet coffee distribution company called Starbucks. Schultz kept pitching the idea of opening consumer coffee retail store and selling gourmet cups of coffee. His bosses never thought it would work. So Schultz went and opened up several consumer coffee retail stores and when he became big enough, he purchased Starbucks, the distribution company.
I really wanted to hear about how that happened. Unfortunately, he glossed over that story, mentioning it almost as an afterthought.
Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul | DA MAN Magazine
The majority of this book focused on how Schultz and Starbucks created an entirely new economy of gourmet coffee houses. I think that is certainly the case. In fact, just yesterday July 6, , a Wall Street Journal article hypothesized that Starbucks groomed the palates of coffee drinkers here in the U. This story was fascinating. Listening to him go on and on about the intricacies of the fresh roast of Ethiopian Arabica beans and the clover filtering system firmly impresses in me the fact that Mr.
Schultz will never be able to leave Starbucks in anyone else's hands than his own which are quite capable.
Onward was a great read--and I don't even drink coffee. I can't imagine if I was a consumer--I probably would have liked it even more. Oct 06, Mavpion rated it really liked it.
Onward tells the story of the CEOs return to Starbucks when he notices it is in the process of slowly self-destructing. He goes over his process of turning it around and tells why he did it, what was successful, and what failed. The book suffers from ghostwriting and feels like propaganda, but the story it tells is real and worth reading. Let me start with my complaints before I get into why I like this book.
First, this book comes across as a barely disguised piece of propaganda and Onward tells the story of the CEOs return to Starbucks when he notices it is in the process of slowly self-destructing.
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First, this book comes across as a barely disguised piece of propaganda and really seems to lack the honesty and introspection from a good "This is how I succeeded" business book, but perhaps this is because it is ghostwritten. For instance, whenever he talks about having to lay people off or fire someone, he always talks about how emotional he gets. Or when a bunch of Starbucks employees listen to him or show up to mandatory meetings and then clap he says he's blown away by how much they are responding to his ideas really--maybe it's because he's their boss.
Another example is how he says that he loves coffee so much, and then proceeds to act like Starbucks is the best coffee available.
Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul
I think Starbucks has really done a great job of familiarizing people with good coffee, but it's definitely not the best available Now, for the good stuff. Even though the book comes across as dishonest in tone, every fact I found in there checks out. For instance, he talks about what was wrong with Starbucks when he came back as CEO--and these things are exactly the reasons I stopped going. And the fixes he applied actually worked--after reading this, I went to Starbucks again and it was so much better than it had been.
His description of his turnaround and financial performance matches the stock prices during that period--and he is pretty straightforward about which of his changes worked and which didn't. One of the projects he was immensely proud of was the Starbucks "Via" product freeze-dried coffee , and he has a right to be--it's the only instant coffee which smells and tastes like the real thing. So, even though this book feels dishonest, I felt that the actual message and stories were real, inspiring, and completely worth reading.
This is one time where the message is definitely more important than the telling. As a memoir or a biography, this was a terrible example. Actually, it reads more like a biography written by someone else. The narrative is distant from Schultz, giving you zero insight into him personally or how he personally coped with the struggles of these years bringing Starbucks back to profitability.
Onward comes off more as a biography of the company itself. Or, more accurately, as a very detailed presentation to investors and potentially investors: here's how we messed up, here's what I did t As a memoir or a biography, this was a terrible example. Or, more accurately, as a very detailed presentation to investors and potentially investors: here's how we messed up, here's what I did to fix it, here's how we're so great now.
go site On top of being rather dry and impersonal, Onward is also extremely repetitive at times I can definitely point to a few places where Copy and Paste were utilized and the organization of the book really needed some work. Having worked as a barista at Starbucks for almost two years, up nearly through the end of , I was already familiar with a lot of the new products and initiatives Schultz outlines in this book. If you're a really really big fan of Starbucks and don't already have an inside view of their mission, vision, and philanthropic initiatives then sure, give this book a read.
Otherwise, flip to the back of the book and just read the "Tribute" section to get a one-chapter summary of the entire book. Or skip this book all together and read my CliffsNotes instead: Starbucks is actually not an evil corporation. They have a ton of philanthropic partnerships, not to mention providing health insurance to their part-time employees they were the first to offer such health benefits. They are also a leader in the fields of fair business practices they go above and beyond just buying fair trade beans and environmental stewardship.
They make yummy drinks and food.
The "burnt" coffee flavor of some of their brews is actually bold and is supposed to taste that way. Some people like bold coffee. And their cafes have a nice vibe and are awesome to hang out in. View 2 comments. Bullet Review: Simply put: this is a good book if you love Starbucks, are interested in how Starbucks made such a drastic change or understand or want to understand the inner workings of a big business. I drink at Starbucks almost exclusively the Clover, which I find superior to their standard espresso , but I am none of those three things.
That said, I can definitely see this being a 4-star read in a different readers hand. Your Mileage May Vary. Mar 28, Lars Bos rated it liked it. The problem with this book is that it is written by a person with a very biased point of view, namely, the ceo of the company. So you can only expect "good" things to come out of it. But everything is always placed in such a positive light that you never get to see the real side of the story The problem with this book is that it is written by a person with a very biased point of view, namely, the ceo of the company.
But everything is always placed in such a positive light that you never get to see the real side of the story. And for me, the reader, it should be important to form my own opinion about a company by considering both sides. So I want those gritty details, the bad stuff, the stuff that gives kids nightmares. It also gets really old when Howard constantly uses the same keywords in his paragraphs like "personal missions", "commitments" and "passion".
But the way the guy writes it is like watching a nonstop disney movie marathon. Not realistic. But I also catch myself talking about the bad stuff and not the good parts. So here goes: The way he goes into detail about company growth, organisation and motivating and inspiring people is really interesting and should provide you with enough inside information.
The book itself is a very light read and you should be able to flow through it in a matter of days. I give it 3 stars. Oct 11, Arash Narchi rated it did not like it Shelves: biographies. It was nice reading the challenges of Howard's journey as an entrepreneur and how he had to innovate to get Starbucks back on the map, but he could've written that in 20 pages not The rest of the book was very boring and I got sick of hearing how so many things were "on the line" and the company was at stake as if no other company has problems.
You could do without this one.