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Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 29, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1119977231
  • ISBN-13: 978-1119977230
  • ASIN: B005X48XN4
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (251 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #719,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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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Customer Reviews

Very interesting book to read.
Amazon Customer
Starbucks was and is a great company and Howard Schultz does a great job of sharing his personal journey and sharing what it means to be an entrepreneur.
Madeline Z. Ruiz
The book was too long and shared too much detail on every little aspect of the company's turnaround.
Brian Ahearn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 41 people found the following review helpful By WILLIAM on April 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I am just about to finish the book...only a few pages left but I had to write a review. I don't write them very often but this book really resonated with me. Unlike a lot of business books written on leadership that are based on theory, ONWARD is a true story of one man's passion to restore his vision for his company. What I really enjoyed was how he didn't glorify himself. Howard was truly authentic in his communication. He had doubts, fears and made mistakes just like we all do. Basically, what I am saying is that you can learn a lot about business from this book but you will learn even more about the mindset and strategies of a true leader and what makes him tick. I am inspired by ONWARD and can't wait to get back to it. My copy is already full of notes, ideas and plans that I have already begun to implement in my company (with noticeable results) I highly recommend ONWARD!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Simon Ruddell on May 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book, but not as much as Pour Your Heart Into It. Make no mistake, I love Starbucks, both as a customer and as an investor, but this volume lacks the warmth and sheer adventure of the account of the startup of Starbucks.
The most interesting aspect of this account, for me, is that it serves as a perfect illustration of how annoying American upper managament can be. Nothing is ever good enough or fast enough for this man. Everyone has to passionately commit. Everything has to be better than last year, last week, yesterday. Everything has to be done by yesterday!
The newly revamped Starbucks may be wonderful, but it is unsustainable, as is most of the American corporate model. A classic example of this is the author's breathless account of someone coming up with a good idea on a flight back to Seattle and his pride in the fact that he was able to approve the concept and get committment to a date from others on the ground so that by the time they arrived everything was in place. Would it have been such a catastrophe if everyone had taken a day to think it all through? There is a great deal of this kind of thing in this book, and in my experience dealing with American business, such freneticism is all too common.
There is a great deal of pride expressed here in doing more with less - but that cannot go on forever.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By D. Hage on October 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was so disappointed by this book. It's simply a fairy tale -- the story of Starbucks' turnaround with all the negatives removed. It quotes speeches and memos by Schulz ad nauseum, but skips over crucial details such as where the capital came from for Starbucks to expand from hundreds to thousands of stores in a short time. It's repetitious, full of unnecessary detail, and more a marketing piece than a history.

As Schulz described the ideal new Starbucks store, I thought about my local, urban Starbucks -- the floor is dirty, it's incredibly noisy, you can't see the baristas at all behind the giant coffee machines, everyone is so busy it's hard to get their attention, and the places to order and to receive your drink seem backwards.
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56 of 75 people found the following review helpful By #saveyourkid on March 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
My fascination with Starbucks began as I savoured the first book 'Pour Your Heart into It' as a business school student and now continues with 'Onward', another highly inspirational read by Howard Schultz; a now humbled CEO with a natural talent for knitting powerful words together to tell an engaging motivational story that takes you through the nail biting journey of a company that went from peak to rock bottom to a slow, painful yet rewarding ride back up the mountain. I wont be surprised if this book finds itself in the business schools curriculum as a learning guide for reinventing oneself during challenging times. Get yourself a copy now!!
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Phillips on September 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The first half of the book I honestly enjoyed. I liked being able to go "behind the scenes" to get a look at the everyday operations of a retail giant like Starbucks, to get an idea as to what goes on outside of the cookie cutter stores. However, by the last 50 pages or so, I was skimming. It seems as though the entire book was a commercial, an extra long mission statement, to distract the consumers from realizing that Starbucks is the Walmart of coffee, destroying the little man and getting rid of independent coffee shops across the country.

I admit I read this book with a sense of cynicism, having worked in food service in various capacities over the years. I can't tell you how many times I'd have a human resources manager visit my store and act friendly with myself and my employees, smiling from ear to ear, all the while looking at name tags every few minutes because until that day we were all just a number on a profit sheet. I found it hard to believe that employees (I'm sorry, "partners") were as enthusiastic as Howard claimed them to be when he made a visit. I'm thinking more along the lines of "oh s***, he's here, clean that machine real quick and glue on a smile." I've been down that road.

Another of my issues with the book lies with the reasons behind the declining sales within Starbucks when the recession started. Howard claims that he noticed things were going downhill when wrote the infamous memo, but it wasn't until after the memo leaked that sales started to decline. My cynical take on the matter? Howard couldn't stand not being in charge (he alludes to that fact several times) and couldn't get along with a CEO who wasn't handpicked by him.
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