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Download It’s Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample It’s Not about the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks Audiobook, by Howard Behar Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (296 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Howard Behar Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: December 2007 ISBN: 9781455188970
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Howard Behar is one of three top executives who have helped shape one of the most recognized companies in the world: Starbucks. A widely acclaimed leader, Behar, with his signature energy, smarts, high expectations, and belief in people, has become a symbol of the soul and candor of the Starbucks culture.

In It’s Not about the Coffee, Behar outlines his simple yet effective approach to success: focus on people over profits. He offers ten fundamental leadership lessons we all need to practice as well as preach every day, including clarity of purpose, listening, truth telling, accountability, and persistence. Each chapter explores one of these principles, incorporating inside stories of turning points in the development of Starbucks’ culture and business and offering inspiring advice. 

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “The tips inside are intelligent, heartfelt, tested and honed in reality. Bravo.” 

    David Allen, author of Getting Things Done 

  • It’s Not About the Coffee offers the true ingredients for enduring results: a set of proven principles we can all aspire to work and live by.”

    Bob Fisher, former chairman, Gap Inc. 

  • “Howard Behar, the keeper of Starbucks’ soul for many years, has given us a book about how to succeed anywhere—not just in business. His ten principles should be required reading for every government official and college president.”

    Former US Senator Bill Bradley

  • “The voice of experience and in-house examples from a popular company make for a decent read for those wanting to develop or refresh basic business leadership skills.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dylan Austin | 2/18/2014

    " If you are a Starbucks Partner, this book will speak volumes to you. Especially if you are in or are seeking a leadership position. Many reviews say it is vague, but I think that unless you understand or a part of the Starbucks culture, you won't get it as truly as we do. I am currently being promoted to assistant manager and this book opened my eyes to many new ideas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Suzy | 2/18/2014

    " Great leadership book with lots of ideas for application. I enjoyed it most when highly caffeinated ;) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lesley | 1/24/2014

    " It was interesting to learn a little more about the Starbucks corporate culture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephanie | 1/24/2014

    " Readable little book of thoughts on how to be a good manager and/or a good employee, and how to carry those skills over to your organization. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kevin Buckley | 1/22/2014

    " This may be the worst book I have ever read. I felt like I read a 160 page advertisement for Starbucks. Every chapter is the same "Starbucks is successful because I found a way to put people first." You will read about countless example of how the author put people first and learned a life lesson. He is definitely a fan of tooting his own horn. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marty | 1/20/2014

    " Excellant leadership principles. "I decided to lead, not by trying to be a leader, but by trying to live in a way that was more true to me as a human being' p.15 "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michele | 1/4/2014

    " Great biz book. It's all intuitive but nice to reinforce. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maria (Ri) | 12/20/2013

    " Lots of little tidbits and reminders about how to keep heart in business, keep people the focus. Profits and flourishing follow when the focus is held on the people. This book certainly increased my opinion of Starbucks. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Calsee Robb | 11/4/2013

    " I only read half of this book after it was given to me after I listened to a great talk by Behar. I had great expectations but he covered everything in the book in his hour long presentation. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Katie | 9/29/2013

    " Ok for "required reading" for work. Pretty much stated the obvious for me, but it's priciples were still valuable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tanya | 6/19/2013

    " pretty interesting and inspiring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Abby | 5/29/2013

    " Great leadership insight and relevant to leadership in many arenas, not just the professional world. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/16/2013

    " Cute. Hopefully they do "put the people first"! Large corporations tend to forget the value of their human capital... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Brent | 7/30/2012

    " I really loved this book. I think it's a great read for anyone interested in Starbucks and/or leadership. Howard had some great insight into truly understanding your true self. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paula Kirman | 11/28/2011

    " Even if you don't like coffee (or Starbucks) this book presents important leadership ideas with concrete examples from a successful entrepreneur. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wayne Allen | 5/8/2011

    " I have read this been two or three times and will likely read it again. It provides in site and leadership skills and ideas that will last a life time. It also shares ideas that makes the idea of the worth of all persons easy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Chris Holmes | 4/5/2011

    " Another great leadership book. Read it twice and Howard Behar is on my list of people I'd like to meet before I die (or he does). "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 1/27/2011

    " A good quick read. Some of the analogies were a little weird, but the underlying thoughts were quite good. I jotted down several items from this book to try out and use for personal enrichment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brendan O'Meara | 5/15/2010

    " I love Starbucks. Just do. This lets you know its driving force: Howard Behar. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Regina | 3/22/2010

    " This is a great book. It would be a better world if all companies had the same outlook on how to treat their people and their customers. I have a lot of respect for the company now, and will no long look at it with an ounce of cynicism. All proceeds from the book goes to charity. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Louise Armstrong | 5/16/2009

    " I'm sure he's a nice guy - donating his fee to charity etc, but I couldn't get into this. It was vague and too full of bits from other people's books - like an essay. I like personal accounts of how people run a business with concrete details, so this one wasn't for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alison | 3/26/2009

    " Great book on leadership. Mr. Behar writes about his experiences as a leader at Starbucks. Interesting and relevant to all fields! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bridget | 3/16/2009

    " I learned some very good principles from this book. Especially ones that I can carry over into the work place. I learned that I can view overall humans as good people, but I also learned that Starbucks seems to not use these principles in their stores right now. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carey Radican | 1/6/2008

    " Great book about leadership. Simple, but not easy ways to give your organization a sense of purpose and direction. Values based leadership that focuses on people... what a concept. The bottom line is that it's about people. Worth reading twice to catch all the little nuggets. "

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About the Author

Howard Behar is the former president of Starbucks Coffee Company North America and Starbucks Coffee International. He joined Starbucks in 1989 as vice president of sales and operations and oversaw the retail business growth from 28 stores to more than 400 stores in six years.

About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an actor, author, playwright, and professional narrator. Under the name Jahnna N. Malcolm, he and his wife, Jahnna Beecham, have written over one hundred books for young readers; their musicals have played in theaters across America. His audiobook credits include works by Dean Koontz, Nelson Algren, and William F. Buckley Jr.