Tag Archives: Howard Schultz

Onward by Schultz Takes the Prize as Most Enjoyable Book

I am frequently asked what has been the best book, the most influential book, and the most enjoyable book that I have read for the First Friday Book Synopsis over the 17 years we have been conducting the program.  I  entertained that question as recently as last night, as I distributed fliers for our August 1 program in Dallas.

The best book was Good to Great by Jim Collins.(New York:  Harper Business, 2001).   The most influential book was Winning the Global Game  by Jeffrey Rosensweig (New York:  Free Press, 1998). But, those explanations are for other posts.

In today’s post, I will cover the most enjoyable book.

That winner is Onward by Howard Schultz, the President and CEO of Starbucks (New York;  Rodale, 2010).  Onward Book Cover

Novel-like in its presentation, this book took you inside the operations of the company as well as inside the brain of its author.  The book makes you feel as if you were celebrating with the author in good times, and struggling with him to feel the anger and pain in hard times.

In every event covered in the book, you not only read the facts, but also, the attitude and feelings that accompany them.  Most striking was the story of a leaked e-Mail that found its way to the Internet, jeopardizing the future of the company.  Another was the anger that Schultz expressed when he wanted his shops to smell like coffee, not burnt cheese, causing him to ask if they were going to start serving hash browns.

The story of VIA was captivating, as were the issues of expanding the business internationally.

Starbucks has been the subject of many books, articles, and posts over the years.  The company’s success speaks for itself.  But you will find nothing that takes you inside nearly as much as this book.

Howard Schultz PictureI sometimes wish that Schultz would keep his mouth shut.  When he speaks out about politics, education, and other social issues, I visualize boycotts, picket lines, and lost customers.  But, he can’t do it.  He is outspoken and opinionated.  And, he has enough money to cut his losses.  There is no question that this book would not have been my choice for the most entertaining work had Schultz been modest and laid-back.  That is simply not him.

It is dated now.  Starbucks has moved on.  Schultz and the company have solved many of the problems you read in this book, and they have been replaced by new challenges.

However, history is history.  And this one is fun.  Perhaps that is because I am a customer and have experienced in the stores much of what I read here.  But, what makes it fun is going inside the boardroom, operations, and brain of its author.

For a period of time, this book was # 1 on the best-seller lists, such as the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

You can read a review of this book written by Bob Morris on our blog by clicking here.

I will explain why I selected the best book and most influential book in future posts.

Onward; Disciplined Dreaming – our two selections for the July First Friday Book Synopsis (July 8)

We have selected two best selling, helpful business books for the July First Friday Book Synopsis.  My colleague Karl Krayer will present his synopsis of Onward, the book by Starbucks’ Howard Schultz.  I will present the creativity stretching book, Disciplined Dreaming by Josh Linkner.

Bob Morris has reviewed both of these books, and believes they are both worth a careful look.  His review of Onward is here; of Disciplined Dreaming, here.

If you are in the DFW area on July 8 (NOTE!:  the 2nd Friday of July, because of the 4th of July holiday weekend), come join us.  You will be able to register soon for this event from this web site.  If you have never attended our monthly event, now is a great time to join our learning community.

click on image for a reproducible flier, with all the details

Here is the list of Hardcover Business Best Sellers from the New York Times for June, 2011

Here is the list of Hardcover Business Best Sellers from the New York Times for June, 2011.

Except for finance Books, and a few others, we present most of these business best sellers at the First Friday Book Synopsis in Dallas.  (Our next session is on July 8 – the 2nd Friday of July, because of the holiday weekend).  My colleague Karl Krayer will present Onward, # 2 on this list, by Howard Schultz.

There are some new books on the list.  I will present the #1 book, Knowing Your Value by Mika Brzezinski at the September First Friday Book Synopsis.  I have been reading about this book for a few weeks, appreciate her work on Morning Joe, and had already planned to present this in September.

The Corner Office sounds like a terrific book.  I have read many of Adam Bryant’s columns (from which this book grew — thanks to our blogging colleague, Bob Morris, for keeping us up to date on many of these columns).  But it looks like a difficult book to present in synopsis form because of its format, so we may not choose this one.

Here’s the June list:


KNOWING YOUR VALUE, by Mika Brzezinski. (Weinstein, $22.95.) Exploring what women can do to get the compensation they have earned. (†)


ONWARD, by Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon. (Rodale, $25.99.) Schultz tells of his second stint as the C.E.O. of Starbucks and how he helped return the company to profitability.


THE WIZARD OF LIES, by Diana B. Henriques. (Times Books/Holt, $30.) A New York Times financial writer details the story of Bernard Madoff, from his rise on Wall Street to his conviction for creating a $65 billion Ponzi scheme.


PRESCRIPTION FOR EXCELLENCE, by Joseph A. Michelli. (McGraw-Hill, $28.) Lessons for the health care field from the U.C.L.A. Health System. (†)


GET RICH CLICK!, by Marc Ostrofsky. (Razor, $19.95.) An Internet entrepreneur’s strategies for earning money online. (†)


THE THANK YOU ECONOMY, by Gary Vaynerchuk. (Harper Business/HarperCollins, $24.99.) Tips on using social media tools to connect to customers. (†)


SWITCH, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. (Broadway Business, $26.) How everyday people can effect transformative change at work and in life. (†)


KABOOM!, by Darell Hammond. (Rodale, $24.99.) Hammond describes how he created Kaboom, a nonprofit that provides communities with the resources to build playgrounds. (†)


THE TOTAL MONEY MAKEOVER, by Dave Ramsey (Thomas Nelson, $24.99.) Debt reduction and fiscal fitness for families, by the radio talk-show host. (†)


THE MONEY CLASS, by Suze Orman. (Spiegel & Grau, $26.) The noted personal financial adviser offers a reconsideration of the American dream. (†)


THE CORNER OFFICE, by Adam Bryant. (Times Books/Holt. $25.) How to build and maintain a successful organization from lessons learned from interviews of over seventy CEOs conducted by a New York Times business reporter. (†)


THE 4-HOUR WORKWEEK, by Timothy Ferriss. (Crown, $22.) Reconstructing your life so that it’s not all about work. (†)


NO FEAR OF FAILURE, by Gary Burnison. (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, $27.95.) Conversations with world-class leaders reveal tips on how to handle challenges. (†)


STRENGTHS BASED LEADERSHIP, by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie. (Gallup, $24.95.) Three keys to being a more effective leader. (†)


TOUCHPOINTS, by Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard. (Jossey-Bass/Wiley, $26.95.) Creating leadership connections in the smallest moments. (†)

Have You Done A Culture Check Recently?

Have you done a culture check recently?

Corporate culture.
Definition: A blend of the values, beliefs, taboos, symbols, rituals and myths all companies develop over time

Recently, Howard Schultz, chairman, president and C.E.O. of Starbucks, was interviewed by Adam Bryant of the New York Times.  (Bob excerpted this interview for our blog here).  Here’s a key excerpt from that interview:

Bryant: What is your advice to an entrepreneur who asks you: “I’m just starting a company. How do I create a culture?”

Schultz: I would say that everything matters — everything. You are imprinting decisions, values and memories onto an organization. In a sense, you’re building a house, and you can’t add stories onto a house until you have built the kind of foundation that will support them. I think many start-ups make mistakes because they are focusing on things that are farther ahead, and they haven’t done the work that has built the foundation to support it.

Dov Seidman, in his book, how:  Why HOW we Do Anything Means Everything…In Business (and in Life), has more to say about culture:

Culture is the way things really work, the way decisions are really made, e-mails really composed, promotions really earned and meted out, and people really treated every day. Culture is a company’s DNA, the sum total of its history, values, aspirations, beliefs, and endeavors, the operating system, if you will, that defines and influences what occurs at the synapses between everyone working together in a group, large or small.

Unlike an operating system, however, just inserting a piece of code-such as a compliance program or an innovation team–cannot change a culture; cultures are alive; they evolve and change over time.

Just what is the culture you have, and what is the culture you want?  The culture creates so much within an organization, and a good, well-liked, respected, consistent culture is a morale builder and success generator.

Have you done a culture check recently?