Howard Behar — Putting People First

HBNext time you visit a Starbucks, consider, It’s Not About the Coffee.


That’s probably not the book title you’d expect from the first president of Starbucks International. But it is the title of Howard Behar’s book, subtitled, Lessons on Putting People First from a Life at Starbucks.

Howard joined Starbucks as a senior executive in 1989. Starbucks had only 28 locations then, all located around Seattle. Howard played a key role in the phenomenal growth of Starbucks that followed.

What fueled that growth was something more that caffeine. As you will gather from our podcast, Howard made sure that Starbucks put people first. He saw Starbucks in “the people business serving coffee,” not “the coffee business serving people.”

The lessons learned from Howard Behar’s life at Starbucks are applicable to any leader in the people business. (And what leader is not in the people business?) It’s Not About the Coffee is one of the best illustrations of how servant leadership and business success go together.

So, grab your favorite beverage (Starbucks or otherwise) and enjoy!