One Word: ” Onward” by H. Schultz and Joanne Gordon … my own review of Mr Schultz’s book [ + two ]:

One Word: Onward

my review of Mr Schultz’s book:


with Joanne Gordon  (–Mr Schultz wrote with a collaborator-)

is quite a good book, actually.

Having said that, I should add:

1-     I am anti-Starbucks

2-     I think there coffee is like piss

3-     And the company represents everything I hate

Now, this being said, I can appreciate a book when I see one; this is no entertainement book, no thriller.  And, you get what you paid for: this is the story of the company which almost went under (or, at least, was in bad shape in 2009) and the story of the man who turned this around.

The book answers the basic questions: What was happening? How bad was it ? How was he able to change the conpany? It involved 600 store closures, btw.

Basically, the company had lost its roots, its real flavor: you could not ‘smell the coffee’ any more; so, with a lot of patience + training – the famous day when Starbucks closed for three (3) hours across the country—‘Starbucks closed ? yes’ —Mr. Schultz came back on board and  turned things around.

We get the figures, the pictures and all the Starbucks … err, how can I put it, oh yes: the Starbucks theatre (this is a Starbucks cliché; you have the Starbucks  ‘experience’ or ‘theatre’).

You will learn many trivia—such as Howard (people call him Howard in the company), Howard still has a set of keys of the original Pike Placestore; The failure of the product called: ‘ Sorbetto ‘ and many more interesting facts about the company …

When Howard S. speaks about the Pike Place store: I think about now — and all the coffeehouses which I love — see herebelow, for some names. Some people never betrayed their original ‘ mission’  and are still roasting their coffee as they did — a decade ago or so.

So they do not have this ” Frankenstein kind of monologue ! ”  ‘ what monster have I created ?’ well, I do understand Mr S.’s dilemna: ” what the f– happened ?” … is he thinking.  Well, … Starbucks happened: and he can never re-wind, go back to that ‘third, good place ‘ he helped destroy.

I don’t feel a sense of community in Starbucks at all; I see ” Corporate ” written all over. And I do smell a difference and taste it in the coffee I drink at a coffeehouse – vs. St.

For all its merits, I will still disagree with the book, or its premise; well, yes, I disagree with it all: as to all this mystique, the Starbucks folktales … I see it as another Great Company such as: Unilever, Ben and Jerry’s, Dole et al.

So a cup of coffee becomes something else ? … an ice cream is –not an ice cream any more ? I beg to differ:  A cup of coffee is just that: a cup of coffee and to me, Mr Schultz – altho I respect his approach … will never be able to come back to Pike Place– neither will Starbucks.



The sub-title of the book is:

How Starbucks Fought For Its Life

without Losing its Soul

and ends with a peroration: ” To conclude Onward, I want to revisit those goals … ” follow 10 pages – worthy of President Mao’s  Red book (he didn’t know Starbucks , I am afraid) herein lies the Rub !

+ two other reviews of the same book:

My favorite coffee houses: one in Vermont, US + the other one in Paris, France –un cafe, torrefacteur, really …


About jeanwadier

Writer editor translator curator @ jeanwadier
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