I recently read Howard Schultz’s book, From the Ground Up.
This was not the topic I was going to write about today. Especially since this happened over a year ago in real life. At some point, yes, I was going to let you know how my request for a blurb from Starbucks Founder, CEO and my old boss Howard Schultz, went. A yes, no, or maybe.
However, I discovered while I was looking for his contact info that he has beaten me to the punch and written his own book https://www.howardschultz.com/. Some of his book covers the early days of Starbucks, much like Tripio. It was due out before mine. Howard’s book “weaves two parallel narratives,” not three, like Tripio. So, my book is 33% better, as anyone can plainly see. By all means, buy both and compare. In fact, I think it would make Howard’s book nearly as interesting as Tripio. Because, in it’s historical fiction way, Tripio is holding up a mirror to Howard’s book.
Of course, Howard has a team of experts helping him sell his book. I’ve got my mouth and this blog helping me sell mine. This post was generated almost a year ago as nothing more than a commercial designed to generate interest in selling Tripio to anyone who wants a copy, or two, or 20. Seriously though, this blog, and I do mean this part, is meant to help someone find their own unique voice on their own unique journey to creating their own unique novel. You might be asking yourself, “Who is this guy and what the f*** does he know?” But, I know what worked for me and I hope that some of what I share will help you in any way you chose to apply it.
Since Howard’s team doesn’t need my help, I’ll talk more about Tripio.
There are three endings to Tripio, since there are three story lines. The story line I call “the Starbucks growth narrative” is intertwined and alongside the other two plot lines of Tripio. The reason I call our books companion pieces is that Howard’s book covers subjects like employee stock options and healthcare for nearly all employees. These are also the things I write about in Tripio because I experienced both first hand. It is a barista-in-the-trenches look at what Howard covers in his book, as the man giving the orders. So, to have both perspectives will make each book, when read, a deeper and more meaningful experience. So, buy both and compare. I have read both and like Tripio better. But, I may be biased.
My thoughts on From the Ground Up
Reading From the Ground Up was a very personal experience for me. My life has been greatly affected by Howard Schultz every day since working for Starbucks from 1990- 1994. I say everyday because if I had stayed at Starbucks, based on the number of options granted to me at the time, I would be a millionaire as of last year, that being the 25th anniversary of the Starbucks IPO. I think about that every day. Howard’s decision to provide healthcare for nearly all Starbucks employees helped me pay for the birth of my two oldest children, whom I also think about everyday.
The above is part of what informs my own historical fiction novel, Tripio, which takes places at a Chicago Starbucks in 1992. It features a scene where I actually meet Howard on stage to receive a Bean Stock Bravo award. I am not trying to sell my own book here, simply attempting to put this review in context.
And that to me means, to some degree, visualizing Howard as president, which this book clearly wants the reader to do.
To this day, the Starbucks of the early 90s was the most inclusive, empowering and energizing workplace I have experienced. I don’t think most people would describe today’s White House and, by extension this country in those terms.
The book itself covers milestones in Howard’s life chapter by chapter, in mostly chronological order. Howard gives example after example of listening to and including the people around him in order to get things done. His background is authentically humble. He is straightforward in admitting his and Starbuck’s mistakes and faults. The book overall gave me the impression of someone who can understand and relate to most of the country. He does share the pains he experienced relating to not having had enough money growing up.
From the Ground Up further humanized Howard for me, likely another goal of its writing. I could relate to his own upbringing as a son of a working class father. And I saw a lot familiar to me in Howard’s post college lack of guidance and direction. I understood what he was trying to say when he devotes a small section to writing that he wished that he and his father had been more able to talk when his father was alive.
I think Howard’s’ book succeeds in that he is able to get me, the reader, to become energized by his vision for America. Of course, in my case, I may not be completely objective since Howard, at one time, gave me a shot at becoming a millionaire.
Comment now or think it over-both would be appreciatiated.