i have a lot of things on my todo list. i also have a lot of books on my reading list. they range from social media to digital marketing, from biblical commentaries to the bible itself, to business and marketing trend books to self-help books. the reading stack seems endless. unfortunately, i have not had enough time in the day to devote to pleasure reading as evident by the stack of unopened, untouched books on my bed stand.

the one book that i have been anxious to read has been howard schultz’s, onward.  for those who don’t know, i worked at starbucks for over 7 months at one of the few drive thrus in seattle a few years back. though it was minimum wage and a very short stint, it was probably one of the best jobs i’ve had to this day. ultimately, i love what starbucks stands for- it’s value, mission, philosophy and ethics.  to read about the founding of those values and ethics are inspiring and encouraging, especially when one questions the ethical business practices of today. the timing of picking up this book couldn’t have been more perfect. for one, i am truly impressed by howard’s writing. he is a great writer- articulate, passionate, engaging, concise. though i am only 5 chapters in, there are a few profound things that he says that has resounded with me on multiple levels. professional. personally. ethically.  so much so, i feel compelled to share it.

1) “there are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, against common sense, and the wise counsel of people we trust. but we lean forward nontheless because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing is the right and best thing to do.  we refuse to be bystanders, even if we do not know exactly where our actions will lead.  this is the kind of passionate convistion that sparks romances, wins battles, and drives people to pursue dreams others wouldn’t dare. belief in ourselves and in what is right catapults us over hurdles, and our lives unfold.”

2) “work should be personal. for all of us…infusing work with purpose and meaning, however is a two-way streat.  yes, love what you do but your company should love you back.”

3) “every organization has a memory, a history of achievements, mistakes, even unintended consequences that contribute to an ongoing dialogue  as people mold an event’s meaning for themselves.  the tapestry of interpretations informs, and often directs the organization’s future. ”

4) “i had written hundreds of memos during my 26 years at the company, and all had shared a common thread. they were about self-examination in the pursuit of excellence, and a willingness not to embrace the status quo. this is a cornerstone of my leadership philosophy…only by not speaking from my heart do i betray that trust.”

as i read howard’s “heart,” i’m fascinated and inspired by all that he has done to keep to the core values he originally founded starbucks on. you really can learn a lot about a person over a cup of coffee.  even more so by the folks who make it.