I thoroughly enjoyed the book Onward: How Starbucks Fought For Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz. It was a great look into one of my favorite companies. You can see Schultz’s passion to have Starbucks be a great company that distributes great coffee.
If you know me, I’m a huge Starbucks fan. As my one manager described me to a new employee “This is Kathy, She loves to work 24/7 and she always has a coke or a coffee in her hand.” It’s just who I am. So when I first saw the book Onward, I was curious about it. But I put it aside since I really only had money for my venti coffee (oh they days when I used to double fist the Ventis as I sat through class). It was probably a poor choice to delay reading this book since I own a couple shares in Starbucks and this book really talked about it’s direction.
The thing that really struck me about this book was the passion Schultz has.. He loves the Starbucks brand and really wants to do right: as ceo, as a brand, and continue to grow. Plus he brought up questions that as a “bob,” I ask myself. He was trying to figure out how to get that perfect cup of coffee and be able to create that sense of community that exists at the good Starbucks. I live across a street from a Starbucks but I routinely prefer to go to the Starbucks by my jobs. But it was great to see the ceo really think about how to make Starbucks better.
The passion started to pull back when you had discussions about the Starbucks tough years. They had to close several stores (many of them new ones), try to combat the shrinking expendable income, and to get back to the roots of the company. But the book really shows how the company has rebounded since 2008 and why it was able to rebound. They were asking themselves the tough questions.
The book was interesting since you saw how excited he was about the coffee, how shaken he was by the store closures, and the desire to make good changes in the world. Sometimes I’m skeptical of brands giving back to the world.. But some of my skepticism towards the Starbucks nature has shed since reading the book.
All in all it’s a good book if you like the brand. I’m not sure if you would enjoy it as much if you aren’t a coffee drinker or interested in business models. But since I was interested in both, I got hooked onto Onward.