Starbucks.  It’s a business as ubiquitous as Target, Wal-Mart, Google, or Amazon in the modern age.  While he didn’t create the original Starbucks Coffee Company, Howard Schultz’s ideas and concepts made it the coffee company it is today with thousands of cafés worldwide.

Schultz has written other books about Starbucks, but From the Ground Up is more autobiographical in nature.  It gives readers a glimpse into the challenges he faced as a child growing up in the projects of New York.  It’s a story of a man’s determination to grow, thrive, and succeed in ways his upbringing may have prevented.

With each story from his past, Schultz links them to a modern-day problem he faced while CEO of Starbucks.  Each chapter is filled with challenges, mistakes, and PR nightmares that could have taken the company down, but Schultz shows how he and his team worked through these complex problems and came out stronger on the other side.

Like most books written by CEOs or other business leaders, there’s a lot that can be learned from Schultz’s successes, failures, trials, and tribulations.  He’s a problem-solver, a man who is determined to use his power as the leader of a major company to do good in the world.  I liked that he wasn’t afraid to admit when he made mistakes and was impressed by how he was determined to resolve these errors in professional and compassionate ways.

If you’re curious about how the minds of successful CEOs function, how they approach problems, and how they take on challenges, I highly recommend From the Ground Up.