Book 1 – Onward by Howard Schultz

This is the first book in my countdown of my top 5 books around leadership, personal development, and self discovery.


What’s the book about?

“In 2000, Starbuck’s founder and CEO Howard Schultz stepped down from daily oversight of the company and assumed the role of chairman. Eight years later, in the midst of the recession and a period of decline unprecedented in the company’s recent history, Schultz—feeling that the soul of his brand was at risk—returned to the CEO post.

In this personal, suspenseful, and surprisingly open account, Schultz traces his own journey to help Starbucks reclaim its original customer-centric values and mission while aggressively innovating and embracing the changing landscape of technology. From the famous leaked memo that exposed his criticisms of Starbucks to new product strategies and rollouts, Schultz bares all about the painful yet often exhilarating steps he had to take to turn the company around. Peppered with stories from his childhood in tough Canarsie, N.Y., neighbourhoods, his sequel to the founding of Starbucks is grittier, more gripping, and dramatic, and his voice is winning and authentic.

This is a must-read for anyone interested in leadership, management, or the quest to connect a brand with the consumer.”

– © Publishers Weekly


Why did I choose this book?

This book just had to start my list.

It changed me.

This book quite simply had such a big impact on me personally and professionally that it had to be the first book I shared.

I previously wrote about how I started reading the book and some of the impact that it had in my earlier post ‘Getting unstuck to make progress’. This book gave me so much inspiration, so much belief and so much to aim towards when I was feeling lost, with out a purpose and struggling to see how to go forward in my career.

When I started reading the book book, it just struck so many cords with me.

How Howard described Starbucks at the time was how I felt about my team.

How Howard described his feelings was how I felt.

And that created a connection which I have very rarely had with a book.

But, not only does Onward cover the problems, it also talks through the solutions, ideas and methods that were used. Real, practical and proven examples of what actually works. And that’s one of the things that I loved about it.

It helped relaunch me on my journey to do life, better. And, on top of all that, it also introduced me to the brilliant people at SYPartners.


What does the book look like?


[image from]


Why should you read it?

  1. If you are a leader in an organisation – this counts for everyone, not just leaders in a formal hierarchy – then Onward provides page after page of tools, techniques and methods to make yourself a better leader 
  2. The story about the transformation of Starbucks illustrates the clear benefits of putting the purpose, mission and vision of the organisation (or team) at the heart of all your decisions – and then letting this be your guiding star for everything that you do – and it gives you some brilliant ideas about how you can do the same thing [I should know, I have already done it!]
  3. The book is an inspiring story of how Howard and Starbucks built a circle of safety around their partners (or employees in other organisations) and rebuilt trust, belief and love across a huge, multinational organisation – and the benefits that this has on the company, and more importantly, those that come into contact with the company (their partners, suppliers, customers, etc.)


Where can you buy it?

If you are in the UK, you can order Onward from Waterstones.

Alternatively, you can download Onward for your Kindle or as a hardcopy from Amazon, or download Onward from iTunes.

5 thoughts on “Book 1 – Onward by Howard Schultz

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