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From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  912 ratings  ·  125 reviews
From the longtime CEO and chairman of Starbucks, a bold, dramatic work about the new responsibilities that leaders, businesses, and citizens share in American society today—as viewed through the intimate lens of one man’s life and work. 

What do we owe one another? How do we channel our drive, ingenuity, even our pain, into something more meaningful than individual success
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published January 28th 2019 by Random House
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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LeeAnn Balbirona
Read this in one sitting, over several hours and four cups of coffee. Some tough stuff in here; genuinely moving, personal stories. I appreciated the thorough coverage of his/Starbucks’ missteps as well as his successes.
Chris Norbury
Feb 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this after Schultz announced he was running for President as an independent. Since I'm neither a democrat or a republican, I'm usually more interested in what an indie has to say.

The book is laid out roughly chronologically in the beginning but jumps around from issue to issue more in the rest of the book. I admire Schultz's rise from relative poverty and dysfunctional home life. He has tried some innovative things at Starbucks, for which he gets huge props. That tells me he'd be open to
Daniel Simmons
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
It’s easy to sneer at Howard Schultz — his hucksterism and hokeyness can be a turn-off, and certainly there have been tone-deaf moments in his long Starbucks career (“Race Together,” anyone?). But darn it, I like the man. He seems to genuinely believe in the ideas behind his platitudes and panaceas, and he possesses a kind of wide-eyed (okay, occasionally wild-eyed) idealism that I find sorely lacking in a lot of business leaders. I like that he takes risks, that he takes progressive stances on ...more
Sharon Bright
Apr 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve had an affinity for Starbucks for many years. It isn’t just to do with the coffee, it’s because I have learned about the start, purpose and community outreach of the company. If you’ve read Schultz’s first two books, then part one of this book will sound familiar. At times, the second part felt more informational as if you’re reading a Starbucks policy brochure, but there were enough human stories and personal insights, to include more of Schultz’s upbringing and early experiences, that it ...more
Liz Lazar
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
After hearing an interview with Howard Schultz on a recent podcast, I was intrigued by his comments about corporate social responsibility, which is what led me to pick up this book.

As someone who typically picks an independent cafe over a Starbucks, when I have ended up at one of their locationslI’ve nonetheless noticed that employees often seem happier than typical retail and service industry staff. I’d heard from various sources over the years that the benefits program at Starbucks was second
Roy Murry
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
From the Ground Up


Review by Roy Murry, Author

When I read, I like to be entertained or learn something. I didn't enjoy Mr. Schultz's history lesson about Starbucks.

I do not know what I expected, but the chronicles of a company and its CEO is what I got. The story went deep into his management style which shows he does have the abilities to start a company and bring it to fruition. To run the USA is another question.

He makes his points but embellishes on each way too much to the near
May 14, 2019 rated it liked it
The bad: for all that Schultz claims to have done, I see some incongruences here. Despite being a heavy consumer of Starbucks, I recognize the lack of recycling and ecological practices just to sustain higher margins. So when the book indirectly claims to be mostly about helping people and doing good, I have to say... No, it's not. At least not in its entirety.

The good: it's a heavily polished and embellished story of everything of good Schultz and Starbucks have done throughout the years. Good
Jerome VanSchaik
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it

Reading From the Ground Up was a very personal experience for me. You see, my life has been greatly affected by Howard Schultz every day since working for Starbucks from 1990- 1994. I say everyday because if I had stayed at Starbucks, based on the number of options granted to me at the time, I would be a millionaire as of last year, that being the 25th anniversary of the Starbucks IPO. I think about that every day. Howard’s decision to provide healthcare for nearly all Starbucks employees helpe
Nov 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
Any Starbucks drinking should see how it started because at one point it almost didn't start at all....

Pretty good read. Howard has a very interesting beginning. I will say that some stories he was telling he starts saying to read it in his other book so not sure if he was pedling for sales or not.
Nov 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
Very cool story of Starbucks birth and Schultz’s devotion. Hard to not love Starbucks after this book! They truly put their money where their mouth is to be a force of good for society.

I really loved the different narratives of people who were highlighted. The book touched most of the social injustice/inequalities that exist today (racism, gaps in opportunity, poverty, education crisis, health insurance system, veterans returning to work, opioid crisis, etc) & how Starbucks made a change in the
Jul 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
A pre-campaign book. His earlier book Onward is a better read.
Steve Brock
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was Stevo's Business Book of the Week for the week of 1/27, as selected by Stevo's Book Reviews on the Internet. You can find me at (or search for me on Google) for many more reviews and recommendations. ...more
Sarah Chogsom
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Truly immersive and personal book filled with emotional stories and take aways.
Tangled in Text
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well this was extremely political. I had no idea the depths Starbucks has gone through to make sure it is respectful and accommodating to all. They definitely try to support everyone and are volunteering for callings bigger than themselves making sure not only their employees, but America thrives. Some things they have done seem like they went a little too far, but I applaud them for deciding to confront all issues heart first and head strong. From racism to unemployment to veterans they have go ...more
Bob Crawford
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have this reoccurring nightmare. I’m back in high school and my classmates line the walls of the gym, right against the walls on all sides and I’m forced to stand before them right in the middle, all staring at the lonely boy in the center.

Maybe that’s a metaphor for our American life today - too many judgmental radicals on all sides and too few seeking common ground in the middle.

Howard Schultz doesn’t see it that way. He finds hardworking, noble common people ready to live up to America’s pr
Annie Aine Goolie
Feb 05, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: trashcan
At the heart of this polemic is the lie of Snowpiercer: that once the glorious Revolutionary Leader takes control of the Engine from the evil Political Class, his just and benevolent hand will restore the world. Also, this is a billionaire who will beat the piñata of his dead parents to elicit pity from the public. And he likes to beat that piñata, including using the funeral of his mother to try to earn votes.

Which is something to keep in mind as you plow through Schultz's newest book. At firs
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
In and of itself, the book is kind of bland - the stories feel like political campaign where the candidate pulls a name out of their binder ("Joe the Plumber") as an example of a point they want to make. I do much the same thing in interviews, pull a work experience out and tailor it to the situation/question at hand, with most of the experiences being interchangeable with the right spin. It feels forced in most cases.

My politics are very different, but was curious about a more-or-less-independe
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
”Every day, human joys, routines, and even traumas take place in our stores: People young and old celebrate birthdays. They visit with friends and relatives in person and online. They come in before work, between classes, and after church. They go on first dates and kiss while waiting in line. They open laptops to surf, shop, pay bills, and do homework. They read The New York Times and stream Fox News. They cry quietly. Laugh out loud. Get mad. They listen to hip-hop on headphones, and to sympho ...more
Mel McIvor
Generally, this book is extremely well written. I especially appreciated the framing of Starbucks stories within other contextsーfor example, a chapter will start out with a recollection of a ball game with Schultz's father or the harrowing story of a Rwandan genocide survivor before making the connection to how these life experiences or acquaintances translated later to business decisions. This made the book much more readable.

I also appreciated that Schultz didn't shy away from addressing the d
W. Whalin
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Howard Schultz Knows How to Tell Vivid Stories

In the opening chapters of FROM THE GROUND UP, Schultz recalls the poker games late at night in his Brooklyn apartment which his parents and grandmother ran during his childhood. It’s just one example of the fascinating stories in this book.

In chapter 7, Schultz tells the remarkable story about when he almost lost Starbucks during the company history. He met Bill Gates, Senior, the legal giant in Seattle and father of Bill Gates, the Microsoft founde
Dennis Brooke
May 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Let's face it, this book is a lightning rod for those who are afraid that Howard Schultz could play spoiler and deliver the 2020 Presidential to their candidate's opponent. Same for those who blame him for the loss of the Seattle Supersonics or for the handling of the "Let's talk about race" initiative at Starbucks.
I encourage you to read it to get both sides of the story and make your own judgement. Even if Howard never runs for president it is an excellent way to understand the thought proces
Mar 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Many top CEO's are egotistical, somewhat cutthroat members of elite families who didn't bat an eye at the cost of their kid's MBA. Not so in this case. No Trump, Bush, Romney, or Kennedy, Schultz came from very humble beginnings, and one of the nice things about this biography is that he never seems to forget that. He weaves his childhood and his families money woes into many of his decisions, and it's probably the source of the empathy that makes him stand out in the corporate world.
It's a biog
Ayibatari Ogounga
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A great book, my favorite part:
" What would I say to that little boy now? I would hug him. I would take his hand. I would tell him that he has the fortitude, the resilience—the gumption—to get through the day, the week, whatever he finds on the other side of any door. I would tell him that he is not now nor would he ever be alone. He has Billy Block and Michael Nadel and his cousin Alan. One day he will have Sheri and two wonderful children and countless loyal friends. He will be surrounded by p
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it
Inspiring examples of how a retail company can be socially responsible and uplifting to its communities and employees.

-health insurance
-education benefit
-engagement in and education of social issues

It's not that these "benefits" are unique; it's that these benefits are accessible for even the most entry level employee.

I must admit, there were times during the book when I found myself questioning whether it was appropriate for Starbucks/Schultz to take their own spin on these matters. Shouldn't
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Audiobook read by the author. I listened to this after hearing Howard Schultz is considering running for President. I was curious about his background and views. I really appreciated his apparent desire to "do the right thing" in helping people get educated, get and retain jobs, have access to healthcare, help the underprivileged, veterans, refugees, race relations, and more. He seems to have a track record of listening well, learning from others, think outside the box, problem solve, and respec ...more
Mar 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Howard Schultz is a remarkable man. From his growing up years in Brooklyn’s Carnarsie public housing project to the founder of Starbucks. Using Starbuck’s leverage he expanded health care to all employees against the advice of his board; partnered with other organizations to offer small business loans and offer affordable college tuition. His work supporting veterans and their families is outstanding. Somehow Schultz has figured a cost effective way to identify societal needs and devise pragmati ...more
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Schultz mixes in personal stories from his childhood with stories about Starbucks' commitments to building community and making a better workplace for their partners (employees). From providing health insurance to part-time workers, funding college education, hiring veterans and opportunity youth, taking a stand against racisim ... Schultz describes why it's important to him, their partners and our country.

All of these efforts are largely successful - but not just because of Schultz - he has vis
Mitchell Wakefield
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I appreciate Howard’s vision for creating a company that has social corporate responsibility at the forefront of decision making, however this book came off heavy handed at times.

I enjoyed reading about his upheavals and learnings that come with building a successful business (I loved his first book ‘Pour Your Heart Into It’) but at times this book came off as trying to hard to hit political checkbox talking points. During some chapters it felt painfully obvious this book is a part of the proce
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
I hadn’t known of most of the behind the scenes activities that have gone on at Starbucks. As a veteran I am adding For Love of Country to my reading list. Every voter should read this book to gain a perspective of the man behind the dream of making Starbucks a third place to enjoy a respite from the hectic real world. The information that truly struck a cord were the clips behind the many individuals who work or worked at Starbucks. Learning the cultures and making the changes necessary to ensu ...more
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Schultz is an author and businessman. He was born on July 19th of 1953. He is mostly known for owning Starbucks; he is also the CEO and chairman of that company.
He graduated Northern Michigan University with a bachelor's degree in Communication.
Schultz authored the book Pour Your Heart Into It How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time with Dori Jones Yang in 1997. His second book Onward Ho

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