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Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks Paperback – February 9, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A thoughtful, in-depth study."--"World Wide Work"
"Simon's book is a fascinating, sometimes dispiriting look at how Starbucks is emblematic of some deeper socioeconomic phenomena at work in this country over the past decade and a half."--Mike Miliard"Boston Phoenix" (12/09/2009)
More About the Author
Bryant Simon is professor of history and the Director of American Studies at Temple University. He is the author of Boardwalk of Dreams: Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America. His most recent book, Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks, looks at what our latte choices tell us about our daily desires and dreams. This research took him to more than 450 Starbucks in 10 countries.
He blogs at www.everythingbutthecoffee.net
Top Customer Reviews
Simon, a Professor of History at Temple University, defines what he calls "the Starbucks moment," where in a short period of time, Starbucks exploded and was literally everywhere. However, as he points out, as quickly as Starbucks arrived and became the talk of the business community and Wall Street, the company began to fade and lose its luster. He describes how Starbucks sought people of status and wealth to tout its name and logo and then how it used those high end customers to draw in the middle class. It was the middle class customers buying high priced coffees and lattes that allowed Starbucks its meteoric rise and swollen stock price.
Starbucks, says Simon, convinced a whole group of people that they could abdicate their responsibilities for environmentalism, human rights, poor peasant farmers, and an array of other causes to a large corporation simply by paying more for its products. Yet despite the company's advertising - or is it propaganda? - Simon shows that very little of what Starbucks claims is reality. One example he sites is the environmental issue of recycling. Clearly, using ceramic cups that can be washed is more environmentally sound than using paper cups that go into a landfill.Read more ›
If I was a marketing, sociology, history, business or economics professor, I'd mandate my students to read this book. Instead, I'm a 20-something enjoying every paragraph to the last drop. The way it weaves all of these disciplines into such a poignant narrative of Starbucks is impressive. The dizzying breadth and more importantly, depth of knowledge contained herein would have me believe that this book took the work of several authors. I'm going to copy and paste a paragraph to exemplify what I mean:
"To display smarts, superior tastes, and even enlightened politics, the upper classes of the 1990s focused their buying on things that looked natural and rare but also required special knowledge to fully understand. This buying was not just about changing aesthetics, as David Brooks suggested in his bobo study, or about the intrinsic value of design, as Virginia Postrel argued in The Substance of Style. It tied the upper middle classes back to Veblen. Buying in post-Reagan America was not about keeping up with the Joneses; it was about separating yourself from the Joneses, the conformists in the middle."
If quality writing like this doesn't engage you, I have a different book on Starbucks to recommend. It's called "How Starbucks Saved My Life." Probably more your speed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Synaposis of what theory is being explained is at from what the expectations of the reader....Disappointment of a read
insightful, inspiring and well written book. I will read it twice later. also a lively case study for business school.Published on December 5, 2012 by JINSHAN
I have no complaints at all about my order through this seller. I ordered a used item that came and was next to new, and I received it within a few days of ordering it.Published on November 29, 2010 by angthu