Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Amazon Best Books of the Month, April 2011:

Onward is not a puff piece. In just under 400 brisk pages, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz details the multitude of factors--the recession, new consumer behavior, overexpansion--that led to the company's downturn during 2007-2008. Obviously, Schultz was successful, and his book has plenty of valuable lessons about management and leadership--standard features for most business books. But the most interesting thing about Onward is Schultz's honesty about the whole process, from his determination to make difficult personnel changes to his admission that he considers it a personal failure when he sees someone with a competitor's cup of coffee. Schultz even makes the chapters about his agonies over the company's breakfast sandwiches a fascinating study in the minute decisions that go into running a multibillion-dollar company. Conflicts, raw emotions, high stakes: Onward is a business book that goes beyond feel-good maxims and actually has a story to tell. --Darryl Campbell

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In 2000, Starbuck's founder and CEO Schultz (Pour Your Heart into It) stepped down from daily oversight of the company and assumed the role of chairman. Eight years later, in the midst of the recession and a period of decline unprecedented in the company's recent history, Schultz-feeling that the soul of his brand was at risk-returned to the CEO post. In this personal, suspenseful, and surprisingly open account, Schultz traces his own journey to help Starbucks reclaim its original customer-centric values and mission while aggressively innovating and embracing the changing landscape of technology. From the famous leaked memo that exposed his criticisms of Starbucks to new product strategies and rollouts, Schultz bares all about the painful yet often exhilarating steps he had to take to turn the company around. Peppered with stories from his childhood in tough Canarsie, N.Y., neighborhoods, his sequel to the founding of Starbucks is grittier, more gripping, and dramatic, and his 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. (Mar.)
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If you want to play China with not only Chinese stocks buy companies such as Starbucks. "Over time there will be thousands of stores in China," said Mr. Schultz in an interview last year.

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