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It's Not About the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks Paperback – April 28, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the CD-ROM edition.
-Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley
"The most down-to-earth, in-the-trenches, straightforward, and utterly useful leadership book I've ever read."
-James A. Autry, author of The Servant Leader
"The tips inside are intelligent, heartfelt, tested and honed in reality. Bravo."
-David Allen, author of Getting Things Done
Top Customer Reviews
The book is about getting your core understanding of yourself just right and having people centered values. Howard Behar joined Starbucks in 1989 and was named its President in 1995 and retired in 2003. In this book he lists ten principles and then discusses each in its own chapter (plus an introduction). They are:
1) Know who you are
2) Know why you're here
3) Think independently
4) Build trust
5) Listen for the truth
6) Be accountable
7) Take action
8) Face challenge
9) Practice leadership
10) Dare to dream
While these seem awfully like light fluffy clouds in a list like this, the chapters do flesh them out in ways that will help you get at why a serious man like Behar believes in them. Really, it comes down to how you work with people. You cannot run a business of any size by yourself and in order to work with people and earn their trust you first have to know something about yourself. Once you have a solid core with serious values you actually live by, you can then reach out and lead others because you are worth following.
This is a helpful and concise book and if you appreciate reading about principles for self-development, this will be a book you enjoy.
Reviewed by Craig Matteson, Ann Arbor, MI
The best book on Starbucks continues to be Pour Your Heart Into It by Chairman Howard Schultz who essentially wrote about the same concepts as Behar, but in an interesting and lively manner.
Schultz and Behar are master business people. Schultz is also a masterful, inspirational story teller, as anyone who has seen him give a keynote speech will testify
Behar takes the reader through ten business concepts, all of which make good sense but few of them are illustrated in anything but a general way. Combine this with multiple sub-concepts and you have a book that fails to be a page turner. Some of the concepts are downright trite e.g. celebrate failures, which he admits Starbucks doesn't do either!
Despite its current problems, Starbucks has done so many things so well that it should be studied by business people. Thus taking any of Behar's ten concepts and implementing them in your business might well be worth trying. Implement them though with passion which is probably what this book is missing.
There is nothing much new or different from any other business success literature in this book. Howard shares his life journey while developing Starbucks into the biggest coffee chain in the world. He shares ten principles, which made his fortune. All those principles are pretty much the same as many successful people have. What I found different in this book is that Howard writes it from the perspective of people. Mostly he concentrates on all the people who make the business like customers, colleagues and employees. Author points out how important it is to listen to people around and act on other people's needs.
It's Not About the Coffee made me to start looking more deep into people, analyze what they want and find a way to help them in what they need. It was a good reminder of the success principles as well, and mostly it helped me to realize how important people around you are. The book showed me that it's people who do the business. It's important to have a good product, but it's also very important to have and develop good team.
I won't go into details of the book, but I would highly recommend giving this a read, whether you agree with their practices or not, one can truly learn something.