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It's Not about the Coffee: Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks

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Overview

During his many years as a senior executive at Starbucks, Howard Behar helped establish the Starbucks culture, which stresses people over profits. He coached hundreds of leaders at every level and helped the company grow into a world-renowned brand. Now he reveals the ten principles that guided his leadership-and not one of them is about coffee. Behar shows that if you think of your staff as people (not labor costs) they will achieve amazing results. He discusses the importance of building trust, telling hard ...

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It's Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks

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Overview

During his many years as a senior executive at Starbucks, Howard Behar helped establish the Starbucks culture, which stresses people over profits. He coached hundreds of leaders at every level and helped the company grow into a world-renowned brand. Now he reveals the ten principles that guided his leadership-and not one of them is about coffee. Behar shows that if you think of your staff as people (not labor costs) they will achieve amazing results. He discusses the importance of building trust, telling hard truths, thinking independently, and more. And he shares inside stories of key turning points for Starbucks, as it fought to hang on to its culture while growing exponentially.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

After a working life spent building Starbucks from a chain of 28 stores to an international coffee business through positions such as executive vice president of sales, founding president of Starbucks International and president of Starbucks North America, Howard Behar tells of the strategies he used to establish the business into the success it is today. Behar shares the soft skills that helped to construct the company from a regional outlet to a corporation with international reach. While the book occasionally brings in examples from other companies, sharing anecdotes from Starbucks itself is Behar's strong suit. The most interesting sections involve stories behind products readers may know from their own visits to the coffee retailer. Thoughts behind the bottled Frappuccino product's launch or the "have it the way you like it" approach to beverage making are revealed. While revolutionary ideas are outnumbered by more standard good business practices, the voice of experience and in-house examples from a popular company make for a decent read for those wanting to develop or refresh basic business leadership skills. (Dec. 27)

A Q&A with Bob Delaney (Oct. 29) identified the coauthor of Covertas Bill Walton. The book's coauthor is Dave Scheiber; Walton wrote the foreword.

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781591842729
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/28/2009
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 134,750
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Howard Behar joined Starbucks as a senior executive in 1989, when it had just twenty-eight stores. His positions have included executive vice president of sales and operations, president of Starbucks International, and president of Starbucks North America. He has also served on the company's board of directors since 1996.

Janet Goldstein is a publishing consultant who has worked with entrepreneurs, business leaders, and nonprofits.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 10, 2008

    It's Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks

    Howard Behar's book IT'S NOT ABOUT THE COFFEE is an excellent book for anyone interested in business or leadership skills in general. Behar's main idea is a strong one in that it is the people that drive businesses not the products. He does a great job organizing all of the leadership qualities into chapters that could be read individually. Also, he supports all of his ideas with his previous work experience and important personal quotes. This book is very powerful in today's society because of many new business and the constant need for good leadership. I recommend this book to anyone interested in business or anyone that simply wants to improve his or her leadership skills.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2014

    Ok....

    &heart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Highly recommend.

    This book would benefit leaders in any type of organization, from small to large. A must read.

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  • Posted January 2, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Would recommend this for all

    This book is written for every manager and leader in every organization. As a graduate student and adjunct professor I found his idea of, "Not being in the coffee business serving people, but being in the people business serving coffee" very refreshing.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 5, 2009

    Bought it for the title

    The title got my attention - it's great. The book isn't as great but it's worth a read.

    Autobiographies have the inherent danger that the writer can't stand back from his own story. This book is no autobiography, but the same issue arises. Howard Behar was close to the top at Starbucks through the most formative years. It's not that he fails to mention problems and challenges. But I wanted someone to say "We got that hopelessly wrong" or "We were completely divided", but even where negative issues are mentioned mostly the answers seemed to materialize or harmony was reached.

    But maybe that's how it was. For example, Open Forums to talk out issues, with a willingness to hear doubts, are a bold measure. So is sending cards to employees to celebrate anniversaries. There's a good story to be told and it is, and Starbucks is a great success. The fundamental message of the sub-title "Lessons on Putting People First" is important, and Starbucks has much to teach the rest of the corporate world. Well worth reading, just not as incisive as I'd want.

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    Posted January 26, 2010

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 8 Customer Reviews

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