'Built to Last by Jerry Porras and Jim Collins. I think that book did a wonderful job of comparing 25-50 years of one industry after another where there were two or three companies at the start. They did a very thorough examination of why one company in one industry succeeded and why the others didn't - the decisions they made, the mistakes they made.
It was such a great lesson, I think, which demonstrates that early success in a category will not by any stretch of the imagination dictate success in the future, and how arrogance and complacency set in, and you lose focus and touch with your customers (and people) because you've experienced success.
It's a very, very good book, and a great lesson for all of us at Starbucks that success is not an entitlement.
In fact, we hired Jim Collins to be a consultant for our company after reading that book and he's been a resource for us over the last three years. We don't want to hear how good we are, we said to him: tell us what you think is wrong, tell us what your concerns are.'
Howard Schultz is CEO of Starbucks Coffee.