Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Pour Your Heart Into It Book Review


Just finished a book by Howard Schultz, Chairman and CEO from Starbucks. The book is co-authored by Dori Jones Yang (Hyperion, 1997).

Although the book is was written over ten years ago, the message that Schultz delivered is still relevant today. Working for more than the bottom line, loving the work, developing a mission, living the mission, always thinking of delivering a top of the line product and exceptional service to the customer, and believing in your self and your vision.

These are all messages that all levels of professionals need to hear over and again. It is easy to see why Starbucks has become the phenomena that it has - which is exactly the vision that Schultz had for the company from the very beginning. He wanted to share the espresso drinks that he enjoyed while traveling abroad with people living in America.

He started with one dream and developed it into a national vision. It is a good book with a good message and is worth being dusted off and brought down off the back of the book shelf.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain Book Review


I usually only review business topic related books, but I recently read a book called The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (HarperCollins Publisher, 2008) that has so many life lessons scattered amongst the pages that I had to include a review of the book here.

Many of the lessons apply to personal as well as professional living. The book is story of a family that experiences several tragedies all of which are related to the reader through the perspective of the family dog. The owner of the dog is a race car driver and explains to the dog, "But a racer should never be afraid of the rain; a racer should embrace the rain."

And, that by changing one's mood, one's energy will also change. The narrating dog tells the readers up front that he believes he was meant to be born a man and even though at the time of the story, he is a dog, he believes when he dies, he will return as a man.

The dog's name is Enzo and he takes the readers through his experiences when he is accidentally left at home alone for several days without food or without the ability to go outside. Enzo also tells of the anguish he felt when his favorite old stuffed toy got put into the washing machine and all of the good smells were washed away. He admits later that he liked the new feel and smell of the toy even better.

He also relates the pain the family experiences from the illness and ultimate death of the wife and mother of the family.

At the end of the book, the dog relates his feelings up to his death and then tells readers what happens to him after death.

A number of cliches' that hit the mark because of the context they are written in include,
"Yes: the race is long - to finish first, first you must finish."

"My intent, here, is to tell our story in a dramatically truthful way. While the facts may be less than accurate, please understand that the emotion is true. the intent is true. And, dramatically speaking, intention is everything."

"No race has ever been won in the first corner. But plenty of races have been lost there."

Every now and again, we all need to have a new perspective on life and work. This book gives readers that and more. Take a read and let me know what you think.