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Tribal Knowledge: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture Hardcover – September 1, 2006

4.6 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Based on seven years of reporting from over a dozen countries, writer Tom Wainwright takes you on an extraordinary journey into the business of being a drug lord. Learn more.

Editorial Reviews


"Starbucks is more than a coffee shop... it's every marketer's favorite example. John Moore brews up a bookful of great marketing ideas, extra caffeine."
—Seth Godin, Author of Purple Cow

“Brimming with oodles of particulars that only a longtime insider could supply, Tribal Knowledge is an immersive account of how Starbucks changed the world—not by discovering the potion to magic branding dust—but by passionately focusing on the smallest of details of the customer experience.”
—Ben McConnell and Jackie Huba, authors of Creating Customer Evangelists

About the Author

John Moore spent eight years designing and implementing marketing programs for Starbucks Coffee, eventually leaving to work in the same capacity with Whole Foods Market.  Today, he operates the Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice, a consultancy helping companies get bigger by acting smaller. He is a frequent speaker at conferences, companies and colleges, and he writes the popular marketing blog, Brand Autopsy.  www.tribalknowledge.biz 


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Kaplan Business (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419520016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419520013
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,813 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Moore believes passion and a sense of purpose fuel successful brand messages, whether delivered via a product, a service, or an experience. His background includes a decade working deep inside the marketing departments at Starbucks Coffee and Whole Foods Market. For many years John operated the Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice, a consultancy helping businesses focus on marketing with authentic passion.

Today, John is happily cooped up at Brains on Fire as its Chief of Wahoo. In this role, he is responsible for helping grow the Brains on Fire business, ensuring clients achieve their desired growth, and developing learners & leaders within Brains on Fire.

John is also the author of three business books. The most recent book is, THE PASSION CONVERSATION: Understanding, Sparking, Sustaining Word of Mouth Marketing (Wiley, 2013). Previous books are: TOUGH LOVE (ChangeThis, 2010), a business book masquerading as a screenplay and TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE (Kaplan, 2006), a business management book.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The keys to how Starbucks got from one site in Seattle to 11,000(with 5 new ones opening a day) is set out in 46 Tribal Knowledge chapters--- each of which is short, to the point, and with a take home point: don't create brand and work backword, just work hard and the brand will come; eschew advertising and embrace a passion that breds the ever elusive but very real buzz; don't stint on quality and don't underprice if you have quaility. Some of the advice may not be transferable to others but the story is interesting and, unlike a lot of business books, Moore writes clearly and packs it into just 238 pages.
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Format: Hardcover
I finished reading the book last night and give it high marks for being full of valuable information. Each chapter is very short and focuses on one particular lesson learned from Moore's years as a marketer with Starbucks. Unlike that other Starbucks book I read and reviewed earlier this year ("The Starbucks Experience"), this one reads much more like an unauthorized account as opposed to "official corporate policy."

Moore concludes each chapter with a series of relevant questions. Here's one that really jumped out at me, for example:

"If you freed up advertising dollars to be spent elsewhere within your marketing budget, how best would you allocate the money to focus more on being and doing rather than saying?"

He also explains how Starbucks continues to challenge itself. Rather than being content as the leading coffee shop chain, they look at "making the transition from Starbucks as coffee 'brand' to Starbucks as beverage 'icon'." So instead of owning the majority market share in the coffee world, they prefer to look at themselves as "an upstart, competing against the old-school beverage icons like Coke and Pepsi."

Moore gives great insight to the human side of Starbucks and what characteristics are common in the best employees. He also talks a bit about why employees leave. As he puts it, "people quit people, not companies. It's the person on the ground, not the board of directors on the eighth floor of corporate headquarters, who represents the company to your employees." How true.

If you're looking to get the inside scoop on what makes Starbucks special, this is the book to read. But I'd also recommend it to anyone who wants to learn countless bits of wisdom that can be applied to just about any business.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Moore had a back stage seat at Starbucks. He didn't just see the production, he was a stagehand. He gives amazing insight into not just how Starbucks became the first name in coffee, but also why it became so robust.

Get pad and pen in hand and get ready write. This book is especially valuable to business owners because it induces many "aha" moments. Ideas you will want to implement in your business flow from the pages.

Reading John Moore's golden little book of Starbucks Tribal Knowledge is not a 'how-to' marketing book; it's more 'how-come.' Divided into three sections: Branding, Customer Experience, and the Workplace, Tribal Knowledge zooms through short, concise and easy-to-read chapters. You learn how come Starbucks always executed promotions successfully by using a brand checkbook. You learn how Starbucks tapped into people's wants, and not their needs. You learn how come Starbucks always seems to have the type of employees you wish you could hire at your business.

At the end of the book, Moore asserts that profit is a by-product and happens as a direct result of doing things right. For business owners, profit will be a by-product of reading this book and then integrating some of the tribal traditions John Moore has gleaned from his years at Starbucks.
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Format: Hardcover
John Moore compiles the lessons he learned in his marketing career, including eight years with Starbucks, into this little book. Each of its 47 very brief, breezy chapters provides a single, useful concept. Maybe all that caffeine triggered Moore's laser-like focus and brevity. The central idea is that your marketing works best when it is people-based and authentic. Your employees will pitch in with promotional efforts, too, if they see you and the company as genuine. If you show them that the company meets its commitments in everything it does, that will give them confidence that the company will fulfill its promises to them. Your customers will absorb that assurance and solidity from your employees, and everyone will benefit. This isn't rocket science; some of the points seem a bit puffed up to make a book of more than 200 small pages. However, we find the book's core lessons worthwhile - like a latte, this small cupful is short and light, with a shot of energy.
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Format: Hardcover
Author John Moore has done a fantastic job of revealing some of the the amazing secrets behind Starbucks Coffee Company's brand building and marketing success. Moore explains many of the hidden truths behind what makes Starbucks a success and outlines them in an easy to follow recipe on how one can duplicate the secret formula for their own business.

His Tribal Truth's are excellent nuggets of important, yet amazingly actionable steps one can take to impact their business. Whether you are running a mom and pop coffee shop or positioning your multi-million dollar company to jump to the next level, this book will inspire and impact you on a number of levels.

I highly recommend this book and as a business strategist intend to have all my clients read it!

Ripple On John Moore!

Steve Harper


The Ripple Effect: Maximizing the Power of Relationships for your Life and Business

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