Another Review at MyShelf.Com

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 homogenized stores.

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.

The Book

Little, Brown and Company / Hachette Book Group
November 2007
Business / Sociology
More at
NOTE: Some Profanity and Mild Sexuality

The Reviewer

Leslie Halpern
Reviewed 2008
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.
© 2008