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A Cappella Books and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum welcome Howard Schultz, founder and former executive chairman of Starbucks. In his new book "From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America," Schultz shares his dramatic, untold personal story—from his childhood in Brooklyn’s housing projects to his rise as a business icon—and lays out his vision for how companies can improve their social impact.
About the Book
Howard Schultz was born and raised in the Canarsie Housing Projects in Brooklyn, New York, the child of a fractured family—his father a bitter truck driver put out of work by an injury, his mother an optimist with dark secrets. Howard hid in the concrete stairwells at night, while his parents turned their apartment into a den of illegal activity, serving the local population of gambler and drinkers. By day he learned the hard lessons of the project playgrounds, as well as the consolations of a working-class community’s spirit. He also learned what it meant to be on the wrong side of the American dream—and his own dream was to create a company that would take care of workers like his father, instead of discarding them, and bring people together instead of profiting from their isolation. But soon his ambitions grew even beyond that.
This is the story of how Schultz did it, from the business trip to Milan as a young salesman that set him on fire with the idea of creating an American “third place,” to the struggles and reversals that marked the early, uncertain days of Starbucks, to Howard’s encounters with baristas, managers, and customers around the country that transformed his sense of what Starbucks needed to become.
He also tells the dramatic stories of a succession of major Starbucks initiatives that arose from this vision: the company’s early, controversial expansion of benefits to same-sex couples; their push to create a fund to support small, local entrepreneurs during the depths of the recession; hiring programs for veterans and refugees; support for workers with undocumented relatives; initiatives around race and police violence; programs to raise starting wages, offer benefits to part-time employees, and provide free college to all staff.
Throughout these compelling stories is a manifesto about the ethical obligations of powerful businesses in a time of radical inequality and dysfunctional government—and the responsibility we all have to prioritize our shared humanity over the destructive, mindless, and heartless incentives of capitalism.
About the Author
Howard Schultz is the former chairman, president, and chief executive officer of Starbucks, where he was recognized for his leadership, business ethics, and efforts to strengthen communities. Schultz is the bestselling author of "For Love of Country, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul," and "Pour Your Heart Into It."