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The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary Into Extraordinary Hardcover – October 5, 2006

4.0 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this paean to "one of the truly exceptional American success stories," Michelli convinces the reader that Starbucks is a great company, but he stumbles when trying to extract "precepts that can enhance your business and your personal life." He explores the various levels on which Starbucks succeeds, from its generous HR policies and lively work environment to its attention to detail and genuine concern for social causes—all of which highlight how singular a company it is. (Michelli throws in the word "unique" as often as twice a sentence.) But when it comes to advice for businesspeople, his "simple, yet not simplistic" tenets are too vague to be very helpful. Michelli notes that he has no personal stake in Starbucks: "I am not here to sell you on the company." But his enthused exclamations—"It is difficult to imagine all the great things that are yet to come for Starbucks"—give The Starbucks Experience the ring of an authorized book. Still, the company's practices are undeniably innovative and inspiring, and even if most of them aren't directly relevant, there's surely something in this book that's applicable to most businesses. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Back Cover

“Keen insight on the transformational power of Starbucks.”-Dr. Jackie Freiberg, bestselling coauthor, Guts! and Nuts!

“Practical, proven ideas and strategies that you can apply immediately.”-Brian Tracy, bestselling author of Million Dollar Habits

How did Starbucks turn a cup of coffee into a worldwide business phenomenon? With unique access to Starbucks personnel and resources, Joseph Michelli isolated the 5 key leadership principles that transformed an ordinary idea into an extraordinary experience.

  • Principle 1: Make It Your Own
  • Principle 2: Everything Matters
  • Principle 3: Surprise and Delight
  • Principle 4: Embrace Resistance
  • Principle 5: Leave Your Mark
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (October 5, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071477845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071477840
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,513 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew S. Rogers VINE VOICE on January 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Starbucks has many detractors -- people who object to its business model, the way it prepares its beans, or simply its ubiquity. And though they don't seem to have shown up in the reviews here yet, I'm sure there are readers who may object to this book because it offers a relentlessly positive look at the coffee giant. It's important to understand that "The Starbucks Experience" is not, and is not meant to be, an "exposé" of Big Coffee. People seeking that should look elsewhere.

(I probably should mention here that although I live in Seattle, I don't work for Starbucks. I am, however, a fan of theirs.)

What "The Starbucks Experience" is, is a very interesting inside look at the approach to business that has made Starbucks not only a commercial, but also a cultural, phenomenon. As William C. Taylor and Polly LaBarre explained in their recent and important book "Mavericks at Work," Starbucks is an exemplar of the values-driven business model that will set apart the next generation of business leaders. Joseph Michelli has taken us deeper inside that business model and pointed out some important ways that all of us, whatever our job or station in life, can adopt and adapt "the Starbucks experience" for our own uses.

I call this a "half-caf" business book because unlike many other writers in this genre, Michelli doesn't pound away at "life applications" or "key learnings" (awful phrase). Much of the book, in fact, is pretty straightforward storytelling with some "Ideas to Sip On" at the end of each chapter. It's up to the reader to decide how much of this is relevant and useful, and what the important lessons may be.

I think the attentive reader will come away with many worthwhile ideas.
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As a small business owner, I've often looked up to Starbucks as a shining example of what can be achieved in the hospitality and retail business. So I picked up this book to hopefully learn about how Starbucks conducts business, so that I can use those lessons in my own business. However, I didn't find this book to be much help at all. The lessons are far too abstract to have meaning in the day to day operation and planning of a business. Principles like "Make your Mark" and "Surprise and Delight" are great general principles to aspire to, but they are presented in a format that reads like a Starbucks training manual. The book is at its best when its provides specifics, like when it states that Starbucks has a program that pays non-profits $10 an hour for every hour a partner volunteers there. But many of the examples are almost comical in the way its paints Starbucks as a saintly company. Nice to know that a partner who won the lottery shared it with her co-workers, but what does that tell me about HOW Starbucks created a culture of sharing; could this partner just be a really good person, while another partner might have kept the whole jackpot to himself.
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Format: Hardcover
The Pike Fish Market in Seattle is an entertaining place. According to the motivational video "Fish!", there are lessons to be learned from how they operate their business.

A long time ago, far, far away, the Pike Fish Market was the neighbor to... Starbucks, the early version.

I can envision the energy in the Pike Fish Market influencing the Starbuck philosophy. I don't know if that really happened, but Starbucks IS the coffee equivalent of that fish throwing, shouting, and entertaining place.

Or, according to Joseph Michelli, it should be.

There are almost as many "Principles for Success" books written by the Fortune 500 as there are Fortune 500 (guess a number here). Why is this one anything special?

I'd say this book reads not as a pat on their own back, and not as a book written for MBA students. There is a level of energy, the Pike Fish Market-type energy, throughout. The principles are:

* Make it Your Own
* Everything Matters
* Surprise and Delight
* Embrace Resistance
* Leave Your Mark

These translate into customer friendly, employee empowering, creativity rewarding, and relationship forming principles. The energy comes top-down AND bottom-up.

This book is worthy of a second reading after the first. Let the concepts sink in, and see how they apply to the world. Then read again. Pick and choose what may work for you. Do you "see" REI? Costco? Powell's Books?

This well-written book is worthy of a look-see.
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Format: Hardcover
Management consultant Joseph Michelli spent two years of his life trying to figure out what makes Starbucks such a successful operation. Remember, Howard Shultz the founder of Starbucks took essentially an ordinary cup of coffee. Prior to him, it was sold daily in some of the seediest places on the planet (still is). He elevated it into an art form, presented in a European style environment, and sold it repetitively day in and day out for 4 to 7 times what you pay somewhere else for it.

It's an AMAZING STORY

It's one of those stories where you say to yourself, this was a NATURAL. Why didn't someone think about doing this? Home Depot, McDonald's, Duncan Donuts, Bed, Bath, & Beyond, all of these operations were naturals, so natural in fact that you would think that someone else would have thought of doing it first.

Starbucks is in a class by itself

Had you invested $10,000 in the Starbucks IPO in 1992, you would be sitting on $650,000 today. If you had been one of the 100 employees with the company in 1987, and had you stayed with them, you would be looking at 100,000 fellow employees today. Who else has had growth like this?

How do you replicate the customer experience every day successfully among 11,000 stores? How do you do it in such a way, that if a customer travels from NYC to Miami, to Detroit, and then on to Chicago, and LA, and into San Diego, you can count on CONSISTENCY in each Starbucks that you would enter?

This is such an extraordinarily difficult thing to do, that you will immediately realize how many other great companies including Home Depot along the way, have STUMBLED, when it came to maintaining that unique CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.
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