Not much about profit or productivity but plenty about what it takes this massively successful company to put together its...




Organizational consultant Michelli (The Zappos Experience: 5 Principles to Inspire, Engage, and WOW, 2011, etc.) serves up a new helping of the recipe for business success he offered in The Starbucks Experience (2006).

The author aims to show how the coffee company's turnaround since the recession exemplifies his five new principles: Savor and Elevate, Love to be Loved, Reach for the Common Grounds, Mobilize the Connection, Cherish and Challenge Your Legacy. They're definitely new, since they're quite different from the previous five: Make it Your Own, Everything Matters, Surprise and Delight, Embrace Resistance, Leave Your Mark. Some of the author's elaborations may seem a bit distant from the normal routines of business practice, as when he discusses how “great brands transcend specific product features and benefits and penetrate people's emotions,” or recommends ways to develop “emotional connections to your product.” In 1991, Starbucks employees were rebranded and are now called “partners.” They are encouraged to develop their attitudes and learning through “coffee passport” training sessions that enable them to mount the degrees of the barista profession much as a martial arts contender acquires new colors of belts. First, they ascend to “coffee master,” a rank with a black apron, then rise further to “coffee ambassador” and a brown one, presumably well-trained to assume their “customer-facing coffee preparer role.” These are the sorts of practices preferred for CEO Howard Schultz’s “corporate rituals and bonds.” More concretely, the company has proven adept, according to Michelli, at encouraging its patrons to pay for their purchases in advance through rewards and loyalty programs and gift certificate offerings. The company has developed cellphone apps, QR readers and other innovative payment methods, all the better to facilitate targeted marketing that “integrate[s] emotional drivers from game theory into the ways they engage customers through their mobile devices.”

Not much about profit or productivity but plenty about what it takes this massively successful company to put together its mixture of hot water, coffee beans and milk.

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-07-180125-6

Page Count: 256

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: July 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2013

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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...


A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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