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on December 30, 2009
I'm a big fan of Starbucks and the way they make you feel when you buy product there. In fact I like the way they make you feel even when you don't buy product there.

Author Joseph A. Michelli details Starbuck's five principles of being they use to separate themselves from the pack. They are:

1. Make it your own
2. Everything Matters
3. Surprise and Delight
4. Embrace Resistance
5. Leave Your Mark

Michelli filled the book with wonderful stories and anecdotes that illustrate the five principles. I found they actually served a dual purpose; not only did they help tell the story of Starbucks but they were all really interesting.

What makes this book a great learning tool are the 'Create your own ideas' and 'Ideas to sip on' at the end of each chapter. Michelli does a great job of illustrating what that chapter's principle means in real life and then starts you on the path to implement them in your own workplace. It's a very helpful way to take the theory and put it into action.

Michelli confesses at the end of the book that for all the great stories he heard while research the Starbucks Experience, he also heard some horrible stories. From employees not showing up to being rude to customers but he says those types of stories were few and far between. The same can be said for his book. What I found odd is every time he would name a Starbucks drink, the registered trademark symbol would follow. It's the kind of thing you'd expect to see in a marketing piece opposed to a business book. I'm not sure why they're there, perhaps it was part of an agreement to get more access to company execs or perhaps Starbucks paid a fee to have the book written.

I reviewed this book in more detail on my Web site: [...]
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on January 8, 2008
Reading the other review, I do agree that it is a one-sided story of Starbucks. However, I do not agree that only the devoted starbucks crew should read it. Any business person, especially that owns a business that is in the same sector as Starbucks will get a lot from this book.

While I disagree with some of the practices that Starbucks has, this books has taught me a lot of things that I can apply to my business to make it grow.

The lessons in each chapter are really hammered into your brain and is exactly what I needed to get me back on track.

I recommend this book
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Though some might view Michelli's study of Starbucks to be full of corporate bias, I found it to be intellectually stimulating and personally helpful. By examining the five pillars on which Starbucks has built its corporate name - encouraging personal ownership, taking care of detail, positively surprising the customer, accepting criticism, leaving an endearing legacy - he has created the basis on which the reader can potentially build his or her business or lifestyle on fulfilling the need for personal improvement. Though this template can be summed up in a few mantra-like themes, its practice takes considerably longer to yield positive outcomes. Much of the story behind this book reviews the efforts that Starbucks has made over the years to get better in order to become a global leader in the coffee business. I found this book very useful in reminding me how I might live while adapting to the possibilities of change in my little world. Like with Starbucks, I need to cultivate an image that allows me to recognize my relationship to the world at large. Thinking big with a heart for people is what is at the core of Starbucks. To get there, it hasn't been easy. This company has had to work through the challenges of promoting all things coffee. That means being innovative, proactive, flexible, friendly, and humble. For me, my paramount need might be to launch a business concept, embrace a social cause, or realize a personal dream. Michelli seems to suggest that, while I allow those guiding principles to mature within me, I have the ability to "turn the ordinary into the extraordinary". In the thirty some years of teaching, I have found that much of my success in the classroom echoes much of what Starbucks in the bigger world has found to work: being objective in all our relationships with people. Great little motivational book for those of us who may have lost sight of the forest for the trees.
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on September 20, 2011
This book gave me those aha moments all the way through. I own a hair salon and all the business experience from Starbucks I am implementing inthe salon. I recommend this book for any business.
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on June 21, 2013
I very much enjoyed this book. I wish a lot of other corporations would read this book and apply to it. I have dropped my cup of coffee while in starbucks. The workers there made me a new one without cost. Well, go into Timmies. They will charge you.

Good book. Good Read. Apply to your own business.
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on February 22, 2016
Should have been a pamphlet. Very little information stretched across far too many pages.
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on March 1, 2015
great introduction to dealing with clients and customer satisfaction techniques
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on March 24, 2016
Very good book, specialty for entrepreneurs, Recommended.
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on December 25, 2006
Overall this provided some good insight into the workings of Starbucks. How they plan and set up their stores. The detail that goes into training their employees an choosing music etc.

Intersperced throughout the chapters are lessons from Starbucks that are supposed to be adaptable to any area of business.

However this is a book written seemingly under the watchful eye of Starbucks Head Office. Careful attention is made to point out any positive aspects of the Starbucks "Experience". Many topics are brought up to showcase a positive letter from a client who got a free replacement coffee because the one they wanted was out of stock or the employee who just wanted to say that it was a true honour and pleasure to be there every day.

This is a one-sided version of Starbucks and will in no way be confused with Fast Food Nation. Only the truly devoted Starbucks patrons need check this out.
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