Tag - books

Onward: Grande low-fat half-caff story of how Starbucks survived and thrived
Not furiously loving "Furious Love"
Literary Pursuits, again

Onward: Grande low-fat half-caff story of how Starbucks survived and thrived

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its SoulOnward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is the story of how Howard Schultz, once he became CEO (sorry, Howard, but I capitalize it) of Starbucks again, managed to turn around the company’s finances during the recent recession by modernizing it while remaining true to its mission. “Onward” is how he signs his memos, in case you’re curious.

I enjoy going to Starbucks, so I was predisposed to enjoy the R&D and marketing stories of the various products (Pike Place Roast, VIA, Vivanno) that I’m familiar with. One thing this book proves is that Schultz knows and loves coffee! When he writes about coffee, his words seem to leap off of the pages and take on a life of their own. Make no mistake — this is a CEO book. Victories are loudly and frequently trumpeted and defeats are quickly glossed over. There is frequent name dropping and back-patting.

Oftentimes, the narrative jumped back and forth through time. While I understand that it was to demonstrate how different projects and events came to pass, it was a bit jarring to go from Schultz being 4 months into his CEO post back in time to the meetings he had two months before he decided to take the post. Reading the transcripts from memos, meetings & earning calls grew tiresome. I work for a national corporation and once you’ve read one memo (especially the “shared sacrifice” type) you’ve read them all.

If you don’t like Starbucks, I think this book will annoy you to no end. But if you like real-life stories of corporate derring-do, pick up this grande sized read.

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Not furiously loving "Furious Love"

Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the CenturyFurious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I finally finished this book after putting it down twice because I never expected to be bored by the furious love story of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

Once you make it through to the point of their first marriage the book loops over and over. New movie. New gaudy jewel. New place to live. New fights. New movie. She’s always the most beautiful and intelligent woman to ever walk the earth. He’s always wracked with guilt for abandoning family/stage/roots. They were both alcoholics and pill poppers. Shampoo, rinse, repeat.

The most interesting part for me was not their crazy opulent lifestyle, but how much Hollywood changed from their hey-day to the end of their careers.

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Literary Pursuits, again

(turns on light, dusts off WordPress)

You still here? Wow…thanks for hanging!

I love my library. I haven’t read this much in ages. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I started going there. I let the reading slip over the holidays, but now I’m back in full force.

I dragged myself through The Darwin Conspiracy. It bored the living hell out of me, but I finished in December. A month later, I can barely remember the plot, it was that memorable.

I also finished Blink : The Power of Thinking Without Thinking and while it had interesting anecdotes on how people make snap decisions in milliseconds, it never told you how to harness that ability, or how to practice it. It merely was a bunch of case studies. And a lot of repetition. Ever watch “Police Squad” on TV? At the end of each episode, Drebin would remark that the perp was on his/her way to “county jail, along with (here he’d list every perp from the prior episodes).” Blink reminded me of that, because of the constant referring back to previous chapters’ examples.

Then, in a continuing quest to screw with my brain (like listening to NPR on the way to work and conservative talk on the way home) I checked out both Sham : How the Self-Help Movement Made America Helpless and 9 Steps to Financial Freedom: Practical and Spiritual Steps So You Can Stop Worrying by Suze Orman.

SHAM was a great read — it talked about the backgrounds of the self-help gurus, and why the industry relies on people NOT being helped. It did much to cement my distrust of Dr. Phil, John Gray, and Dr. Laura. And Suze Orman, which is why I returned her book without reading it.

Now I’m reading Freakonomics : A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. I’ve been trying to check the book out of the library since summer, and I just this week found it on the shelf. I’m finding out that I much prefer non-fiction to fiction.

And in more literary news, I’m happy to announce that thanks to Ani, I’ve accepted an editor position at All Things Girl magazine. My section is the “Mind and Body” section. The first issue I worked on is being released tomorrow. Naturally, I hate what I wrote. But practice makes perfect, and I’m thrilled to be doing something creative. I can warm up my writing chops, AND correct other people’s spelling, which is just hot.

Speaking of hot, Robert Scorpio is back on General Hospital, a soap I haven’t watched in over 15 years. He’s older and grayer but is just as sexy as he was when I was 12. I’m DVRing the episodes.

Time to wash off the face mask. Good to be back to blogging.

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