About the Author

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., is an internationally sought-after speaker, organizational psychologist, and business consultant who's been described as “catching what is right in the world and playfully sparking people and businesses to grow toward the extraordinary.”

Dr. Michelli transfers his knowledge of exceptional business practices through keynote presentations that explore ways to develop joyful and productive workplaces.  His insights encourage leaders and frontline workers to grow and invest passionately in all aspects of their life.

In addition to his dynamic and entertaining international keynote presentations, Dr. Michelli provides:

  • CEO consultation
  • Corporate coaching
  • Group facilitation and team-building strategies
  • Individual development planning
  • Creation of open management systems
  • Customized management and frontline training programs





Excerpts from The Starbucks Experience


From its humble origins to a name that is synonymous with coffee, Starbucks is one of the great growth companies of our time. While parts of Starbucks early history have been told in various publications, far too little has been written on precisely how Starbucks revolutionized the coffee industry—and in so doing, rewrote many of the conventional rules of management.

The Starbucks Experience examines the inner workings of a company that has taken an ordinary, even mundane, product and transformed it into extraordinary business success. This inside look at Starbucks has led to the identification of five key principles that are the foundation of Starbucks greatness. These are presented in the chapters that follow—precepts that can enhance your business and your personal life. When applied consistently and with passion, these concepts enable people and companies to seize on the types of opportunities that catapulted Starbucks to its international prominence. But before we get to the "how" of Starbucks, let's consider what Starbucks really has accomplished.


As an outsider with no personal stake in Starbucks future, I am not here to sell you on the company. It has done an excellent job of promotion worldwide, without help from business authors. I also am not here to convince you that Starbucks is one of the best global business enterprises.

Many others, who are more knowledgeable than I, have drawn that conclusion. Instead, the key to this book is to offer insights into the unique Starbucks Experience. It is an experience that has an impact on the coffee industry, the broader business world, the environment, partners, customers, and communities from Seattle, Washington, to Darjeeling, India.

From my 18-month exploration into the world of Starbucks, listening to what Starbucks leaders say and watching what they do, I have derived five key business principles that drive its phenomenal success. These principles are offered in the hope that you will apply them to your own situation to enrich your leadership influence in business and beyond. The Starbucks Experience reflects tenets that are simple, yet not simplistic. They are results-oriented and can be deceptively powerful when applied:

1. Make it your own
2. Everything matters
3. Surprise and delight
4. Embrace resistance
5. Leave your mark

The impact of these principles transcends the Starbucks story and offers all leaders an opportunity to greatly enrich their workplace. They demonstrate how an entrepreneurial spirit and extraordinary leadership skills can elevate a product or service and even change the way in which that product or service is delivered. These guidelines allow each of us to improve our workplace, whether by developing appealing new products, opening new markets, or just paying attention to the aspects of our business that we can readily enhance.

In the spirit of Starbucks, these principles encourage us to listen and respond with a greater awareness of opportunity. They remind all of us—you, me, the janitor, and the CEO—that we are responsible for unleashing a passion that ripples outward from behind the scenes, through the customer experience, and ultimately out into our communities. Let’s take a closer look at each of these principles with an eye to how they work inside Starbucks and how we can tap into their transformational power.



Book Reviews

"This book gives you a series of practical, proven ideas and strategies that you can apply immediately to build a more successful business."

- Brian Tracy; author of Million Dollar Habits

"Michelli gives you a practical solution to achieving and sustaining success by creating your unique customer experience."

- Harry Paul, co-author of FISH! A Remarkable Way to Boost Morale and Improve Results and REVVED! An Incredible Way to Rev Up Your Workplace and Achieve Amazing Results

"Yes! Starbucks has changed the way the world experiences coffee, but it has also done so much more--Starbucks has blown the doors off the business, marketing, and even popular culture as usual, Dr. Michelli offers keen insights on the transformational power of Starbucks. Better yet, The Starbucks Experience makes the power accessible to all of us in business and life."

- Dr. Jackie Freiberg; co-author of Guts! Companies That Blow the Doors Off Business as Usual and NUTS! Southwest Airlines Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success

"One of the only things I like better than Starbucks coffee is a great book. In The Starbucks Experience, Joseph Michelli has brewed up a stimulating read about Starbucks and how it became a world-class brand. Not only will you get outstanding insights into what makes Starbucks great, but you'll learn how you can use these principles to create a rich experience for your customers as well."

- Mark Sanborn: author of The Fred Factor

"Starbucks has been a terrific business partner for Johnson Development Corporation. Dr. Michelli offers unique insights into how Starbucks partners, from the store level to corporate leadership, create powerful experiences for staff, customers, and communities. Get this book--make a difference."

- Earvin "Magic" Johnson: NBA All-Star and President Johnson Development Corporation

"The enormous ongoing and on-growing success of Starbucks will make this book of interest to just about everyone.  The principles it espouses are dear to my heart and I recommend it without qualification. "

- Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager and The Secret

"I know Starbucks! There first store is just about a block from my business the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market--you know us as the guys who throw and catch fish.  Dr. Michelli has not only helped me write the story of my business, but in The Starbucks Experience he captures the essence of what Starbucks has done to generate unmatched success. Read this book, live the principles, and enjoy profits untold. "

- John Yokoyama, co-author of When Fish Fly: Lessons for Creating a Vital and Energized Workplace and owner of the World Famous Pike Place Fish Market

"The principles Dr. Michelli reveals have been of immediate value to our fourteen companies. This book is a powerhouse combination of business information AND insight that will make a difference for you and your organization."

- Scott McKain: Vice Chairman, Obsidian Enterprises, Inc.Co-founder, The Value Added Institute and author of What Customers Really Want: How to Bridge the Gap Between What Your Organization Offers and What Your Clients Crave and ALL Business is Show Business: Create the Ultimate Customer Experience to Differentiate Your Organization, Amaze Your Clients, and Expand Your Profits

Literary Reviews

"Michelli, a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant, takes an in-depth look at Starbucks's proven and practical strategies for building a successful, multinational corporation. His chapters illustrate the company's five basic success principles: make it your own, everything matters, surprise and delight, embrace resistance, and leave your mark. Readers will discover a rich mix of ideas and techniques that will help them apply the Starbucks vision, creativity, and leadership to their own careers, workplaces, and companies. Michelli shares fascinating information, e.g., the Starbucks employee turnover rate is 250 percent lower than the industry average, Starbucks has stores in 37 countries and averages more than 35 million customer visits each week, five new Starbucks stores open a day, and, perhaps most amazingly, Starbucks is not a franchise business. This book shows readers how employee motivation, excellent customer service and satisfaction, and community involvement build a great company. Most business collections will want to add."

- Published in the Library Journal by Susan C. Awe, University of New Mexico Library, Albuquerque




Purchase Online

The Starbucks Experience is now available in bookstores worldwide or it can be purchased by clicking on the links below for fine online book suppliers:

brick-and-mortar and online world. Your copy is just a click away at






Dr. Michelli has developed a series of podcasts (3 to 5 minute audio segments) based on the principles in The Starbucks Experience. New podcasts are available on a weekly basis. Feel free to listen to individual podcasts or subscribe to the series.




For all of Joseph's podcasts visit his podcast page