A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture
by Taylor Clark
Although most "tall tales" are not true, Taylor Clark's Starbucked seems to be a meticulously researched,
carefully organized, and cleverly written true story about how one little coffee company grew into the
mom-and-pop-coffee-shop-gobbling monstrosity known as Starbucks. Divided into two sections, "The Rise of the
Mermaid" describes the beginnings of the coffeehouse and its place in our culture, followed by "Getting Steamed,"
a collection of complaints and criticisms against the company. Specifically, the second half of the book
addresses concerns about employing predatory practices to wipe out local coffeehouses, paying unfair wages to
Third World coffee farmers, peddling a harmful product, exploiting its employees, and saturating the world with
In researching Starbucked, Clark spoke directly to former and current Starbucks personnel, marketplace
competitors, and customers. In addition, he read books by a surprisingly large number of corporate brass from
Starbucks who wrote their own books about how to succeed in the business world. However, this book is not a
corporate how-to, but rather a Fast Food Nation-type of expose highlighting the benefits and drawbacks of
the controversial coffeehouse chain.
Clark, a journalist, presents a balanced view of his research findings. His descriptions of Starbucks's store
designs and coffee beverages might make you want to drop the book and head for the nearest coffeehouse. On the
other hand, his descriptions of management tactics, caffeine intoxication, and ill treatment of coffee farmers
might make you think twice about buying that over-priced latte. Love it, like it, or hate it, Starbucks appears
to be here to stay. Highly entertaining and informative, Starbucked provides all the insider information
you'll ever need about the logo, motto, drink names, interior design, locations, personnel, menu items, and
ingredients to the world's favorite coffeehouse.
Little, Brown and Company / Hachette Book Group|
Business / Sociology|
More at Amazon.com|
NOTE: Some Profanity and Mild Sexuality|
NOTE: Reviewer Leslie
Halpern is the author of Reel Romance. The Lovers' Guide to the 100 Best Date Movies
and Dreams on Film. Coming Soon: A Writer's Guide to Fearless Interviews.