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Onward Summary

Updated: Jul 12, 2020

Failure often leads to great things.

Do you like coffee?

If yes then you must have heard about Starbucks. But you might have not heard about the man behind him and how Starbuck became one of the leading coffee shops across the globe.

The book includes Howard Schultz founder of Starbucks returning as CEO after stepping out of it in 2001. So why did he return?. The reason was that Starbucks has forgotten who he was. The company was facing a major loss and was on the verge of bankruptcy and had lost its many loyal customers. Upon his return, the three most major changes he did was:

1) Stop opening new stores.

2) Educate their partners and customers about coffee.

3) Creating a wonderful experience for the customers when they enter the store.

These three strategies and other countless efforts like supporting farmers and various NGOs have lead Starbucks to become the largest coffeehouse chain in the world which has now more 30,000 stores.


Have you fallen in love? Not just for your soul mate but for any work, or nature, or even for your street dog, then you must have realized that love can take us to any extent. It makes us who we truly are and what our highest potential can be.

Such was the love of Howard which not only created Starbucks a coffee shop but a place where thousands of lovers share movements of happiness, hundreds of business meeting happens and where many authors have sit and written their bestselling books.

Key points

1) “To inspire and nurture the human spirit.”

2) If not checked, success has a way of covering up small failures,

3) Starbucks’ coffee is exceptional, yes, but the emotional connection is our true value proposition.

4) Building a great, enduring company requires thoughtfulness.

5) Success is not sustainable if it's defined by how big you become.

6) Not the stock price or the press. We succeeded because of what we believe in and what we stand for.

7) “Onward” was about forging ahead with a steadfast belief in ourselves while putting customers’ needs first and respecting the power of competition.

8) failure often leads to great things.

9) Best innovations sense and fulfill a need before others realize the need even exists.

10) At its core, I believe leadership is about instilling confidence in others.

11) Grow with discipline. Balance intuition with rigor. Innovate around the core. Don't embrace the status quo. Find new ways to see. Never expect a silver bullet. Get your hands dirty. Listen with empathy and overcommunicate with transparency. Tell your story, refusing to let others define you. Use authentic experiences to inspire. Stick to your values, they are your foundation. Make the tough choices; it's how you execute that counts. Be decisive in times of crisis. Be nimble. Find the truth in trials and lessons in mistakes. Be responsible for what you see, hear, and do. Believe.

12) Take something ordinary and infuse it with emotion and meaning, and then we tell its story over and over and over again, often without saying a word.

Also, read = 5 Autobiography of great companies

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