I don't drink coffee, but I thoroughly enjoyed Onward by Howard Schultz, the story of Starbucks and its long, complex history (I like hot chocolate and tea). The audiobook I listened to was quite long,, and at times it felt more like Starbucks marketing than actual story and analysis. However, for the most part, I enjoyed hearing about the challenges the Starbucks CEO faced and how he and the right people around him helped turn around the business that we all know and love. I also grew to have a much deeper appreciation for the process around growing and roasting coffee, the training and culture behind the baristas and Italian coffee shops, and why "going out for coffee," something so commonplace now, is actually quite special and worthy of analysis.
The author/CEO starts the story with his own background. He grew up in New York in the "projects" and started in the marketing department for Starbucks, a company that just sold coffee beans at the time. He went on a formative trip to Italy, where he felt the intense cultural love for espresso bars and the community created in the neighborhoods through coffee. The coffee shop has become the "third place" in one's life (with home and work being the other two).
He took this idea back to the US and started his own coffee shop. In the process, he bought his former employer Starbucks and grew it to what it is today.
Some key points that I found interesting in the introduction is how they treated employees and managed their team. Starbucks gives all employees (including part-time) equity options and health insurance. They also lowercase all titles and call employees "partners."
The book focuses its attention on the problems in the US economy, their effect on Starbucks, and how Schultz came back to be a second-time CEO to deal with problems and turn the company around.
Part 1: Love
Ch. 1: A Beverage of Truth
Ch. 8: A Reservoir of Trust
Ch. 17: Whirlwind
Ch. 22: Truth in Crisis
Ch. 27: Innovate