Cara's Reviews > Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz
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Jul 01, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: business
Read from June 10 to 30, 2010

Supposed to be inspirational for starting a business, but actually rather the opposite. This guy is so ambitious, so confident, so determined, so certain, so driven. I'm feeling much the opposite these days. If that stuff is what it takes, I have no business starting a business.

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I really enjoyed the beginning of this book, which was kind of a corporate adventure story about starting Starbucks from about three local stores and a mail-order catalog. It was exhilarating reading about all the challenges they faced in their ridiculously ambitious early years of kudzu-style growth. But by the last hundred pages or so, Starbucks is already ridiculously huge, so all there is to talk about is variations on the theme. We've got the coffee shop thing down, so we're branching into ice cream, partnering with United to do coffee on planes, installing tiny Starbucks in bookstores, blah blah blah. Worse, once they become a monolith, everybody stops rooting for them as the underdog and starts treating them like any other giant corporation. Despite all the good they try to do and how hard it is to stick to their principles, people misunderstand, falsely accuse, and criticize Starbucks. Well, I understand--it does suck when people do that to you--but after awhile it's difficult to sympathize with poor widdle Starbucks, all rich and huge and successful beyond most people's wildest dreams. Boo hoo, they're being treated like a huge and powerful corporation, when they're actually... a huge and powerful corporation. Lots of defensiveness and whining here. The book is getting so tedious, the only thing that's keeping me from tossing it aside is how close I am to the end. I like to finish things.

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Finally done. Maybe I'm being unfair in assigning only two stars--I really enjoyed the first 2/3 or so of this book, but the last 100 pages were so tedious, whiny, and self-congratulatory, they dragged the average way down.
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