Pour Your Heart Into It by Howard Schultz

For years I was not a big coffee drinker. Somehow I survived college without giving into the caffeinated demon of the dark roast.  However, a year after graduate school, I found myself working for a university that had me help manage the on campus coffee shop. Quickly I learned the science and art that is espresso making. Over time I was transformed from a delicate Frappuccino drinker to a serious espresso connoisseur (also known as a coffee snob).

Soon I began to critique the subtle nuance of every coffee shop I visited. Most were very consistent with being inconsistent. Depending on the barista, your latte could be delicious or terribly bitter. Only one place could give me a reliable tasty latte with great service. This is how I became very impressed with Starbucks.

Eventually I learned a lot more about Starbucks as a company. I heard about its lightning fast rise to the top, the way it hires and trains its baristas, and its community involvement. The man who transformed Starbucks from a coffee wholesaler in Seattle to the name brand mega-company was none other than Howard Schultz, Starbucks Chairman and CEO.

Pour Your Heart into It chronicles the history of Starbucks and how it grew into a national brand synonymous with great coffee. From the Schultz’s account, you see that the success of Starbucks occurred not by well-developed strategic business planning or incredibly good luck. Starbucks rose to the top because everyone at Starbucks – from the part-time barista to the CEO – believed in the company. Each employee is passionate about working for Starbucks and Starbucks was passionate about each employee.

This book is a very interesting and personal account about the rise of Starbucks. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in running an organization with passion and authenticity.