Book Review: Onward – How Starbucks Fought …

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Schultz, Howard. Onward : how Starbucks fought for its life without losing its soul. Rodale, 2011.

More than just a cup of high end espresso, Starbucks is about the great coffee experience — combining the aroma, the flavor, and the human connection to invite every customer to become part of the Starbucks community.

In Onward, Starbucks founder Howard Schultz tells the story of how from 2007-2010, he takes the company back to the guiding principles that he established as a young man from a blue collar neighborhood, balancing profit with social conscience, treating everyone from coffee farmers, to baristas, to customers with fairness, respect and dignity.

When the book begins, entrepreneur and chairman Schultz is dissatisfied with the high growth strategy of CEO Jim Donald, sensing that the quality of the store experience has fallen. Schultz uses backroom politics to force out Donald, and takes over the job as CEO. Writing with passion and sincerity, Schultz describes his company’s problems as sales and profits sag. He engineers a turnaround by retraining staff, closing stores, cutting costs and providing more information to store managers.

More a memoir than a company history, this book is emotional and biased. Yet the personal and authentic style makes an engrossing read for those interested in becoming an entrepreneur or CEO.

© Reviewer : Meg Trauner & Ford Library – Fuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

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