Control Your Efforts, Not the Outcomes

General Eisenhower addressing American paratroopers on 5-June-1944 before the Battle of Normandy.

During World War II, President Dwight Eisenhower (1890–1969) was the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces. On 2-June-1944, he issued a memo to his troops just before the Allied invasion of Normandy:

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely. … The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle.

We will accept nothing less than full Victory! Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

Under Eisenhower’s leadership, the Allied forces had meticulously planned Operation Overlord for over a year. For months, Eisenhower’s troops not only rehearsed their D-Day roles and routines, but also went to exceptional lengths to uphold the secrecy of their plans and deceive the German forces about troop movement. The Allied forces even plotted to cut off all roads and rail lines leading to the coast of Normandy and thus block reinforcements for the German troops.

Some things are simply beyond your control—you can only do your best

Despite all the strategizing and training, the success of the Allied invasion depended on the weather across the English Channel—their success essentially rested on something beyond their control.

The Allied aircrafts sought air superiority and would be unable to locate targets if low clouds covered Normandy. In addition, if the tides were high or the seas heavy, the troops would be unable to launch their landing crafts. The success or failure of their landings hinged entirely on suitable weather.

Eisenhower tentatively planned to send his troops across the English Channel on 5-June. The day before, however, the troops predicted cloudy skies, rain, and heavy seas that were inappropriate for the invasion. Eisenhower decided to postpone the invasion by a day, when the forecasted weather was to be more suitable than on 5-June, but not necessarily perfect for his plans. If he did not invade on 6-June, the tides would not favor an invasion for another two weeks, which would possibly give the Germans enough time to get wind of the Allies’ plan.

Dwight Eisenhower and the Invasion of Normandy

Eisenhower gave the marching orders for 6-June. It was then that he realized that the success of the invasion was no longer in his hands. Its outcome depended on 160,000 allied troops, thousands of commanders, and hundreds of lieutenants. Eisenhower had done everything in his power to coordinate their efforts and create conditions conducive to the mission’s success. After issuing his orders, all he could do was let those conditions come to fruition on their own terms. After all his efforts, he could not control the outcomes—he let go of the outcomes.

In time, the hard-fought cross-channel invasion was successful—Eisenhower won his wager with the weather. The invasion of Normandy proved to be a turning point in World War II. Despite formidable obstacles and thousands of casualties, the Allied troops prevailed over the German forces in landing at the coast of Normandy. Within days, Allied forces quickly consolidated at the beachheads and built up troops. Within two months, they broke out from their beachheads in Normandy and advanced on the Axis powers. The Allies liberated Europe when German troops surrendered unconditionally on 8-May-1945.

Control Your Efforts---Not the Outcomes

Idea for Impact: Focus on effort and lower your expectations of the outcomes

The wise among us understand what’s within their control and what’s not. They recognize that “you win some, you lose some.”

Success and results are not often within your span of control. However, you can control your effort and ability to create the conditions for success. Focus on your efforts, then let those conditions unfold.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna instructed Arjuna, “set thy heart upon thy work but never its reward” (verse 2:47.) And the Buddha counseled his followers to lower their expectations in order to achieve happiness, a belief that is not without proof in the hurly-burly world we live in.

Moreover, even if you can, don’t go overboard with your efforts. Push yourself to the max only when the stakes are big enough. As I mentioned in a previous article, a 110% effort may not fetch more rewards than an 80% or a 90% effort.

Be committed to your job, but don’t overly invest in it.

Inspirational Quotations #586

We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.
Epictetus

An ounce of hypocrisy is worth a pound of ambition.
Michael Korda

There is no reality except the one contained within us.
Hermann Hesse

Everything changes but change itself. Everything flows and nothing remains the same…You cannot step twice into the same river, for other waters and yet others go flowing ever on.
John F. Kennedy

The man of genius inspires us with a boundless confidence in our own powers.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

How incessant and great are the ills with which a prolonged old age is replete.
Juvenal

Proverbs are the literature of reason, or the statements of absolute truth, without qualification. Like the sacred books of each nation, they are the sanctuary of its intuitions.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
Tom Peters

Women are told from their infancy, and taught by the example of their mothers, that a little knowledge of human weakness, justly termed cunning, softness of temper, outward obedience and a scrupulous attention to a puerile kind of propriety, will obtain for them the protection of man.
Mary Wollstonecraft

It is love, not reason, that is stronger than death.
Thomas Mann

Inspirational Quotations #585

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Winston Churchill

You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call “Failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.
Mary Pickford

You cannot tailor make the situations in life, but you can tailor make the attitudes to fit those situations before they arise.
Zig Ziglar

Wherever we are, it is but a stage on the way to somewhere else, and whatever we do, however well we do it, it is only a preparation to do something else that shall be different.
Robert Louis Stevenson

Fear is an emotion indispensable for survival.
Hannah Arendt

All thought must, directly or indirectly, by way of certain characters, relate ultimately to intuitions, and therefore, with us, to sensibility, because in no other way can an object be given to us.
Immanuel Kant

The rich are too indolent, the poor too weak, to bear the insupportable fatigue of thinking.
William Cowper

Many of our prayers were not answered, and for this we are now grateful.
William Feather

The world moves, and ideas that were once good are not always good.
Dwight D. Eisenhower

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.
Anais Nin

Success is in the details.
Zig Ziglar

Lessons from the Princeton Seminary Experiment: People in a Rush are Less Likely to Help Others (and Themselves)

Vincent van Gogh's The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix)

In the parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29–37 in the New Testament,) a Samaritan helps a traveler assaulted by robbers and left half dead by the side of the road. Prior to the Samaritan, a priest and a Levite pass the injured traveler and fail to notice him. Conceivably, the priest and Levite’s contempt was because they didn’t sincerely follow those same virtues they espoused as religious functionaries. Possibly, they were in a hurry or were occupied with busy, important—even religious—thoughts. Perhaps the Samaritan was in less of a hurry since he wasn’t as socially important as the priest or Levite and was therefore not expected to be somewhere.

The Princeton Seminary Experiment

Inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan, Princeton social psychologists John Darley and Dan Batson conducted a remarkable experiment in the 1970s on time pressure and helpful behavior. They studied how students of the Princeton Theological Seminary conducted themselves when asked to deliver a sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The students would were to give the sermon in a studio a building across campus and would be evaluated by their supervisors. The researchers were curious about whether time pressure would affect the seminary students’ helpful nature. After all, the students were being trained to become ordained priests; they are presumably inclined to help others.

As each student finalized his preparation in a classroom, the researchers inflicted an element of time constraint upon them by giving them one of three instructions:

  1. “You’re late. They were expecting you a few minutes ago…You’d better hurry. It shouldn’t take but just a minute.” This was the high-hurry condition.
  2. “The (studio) assistant is ready for you, so please go right over.” This was the intermediate-hurry condition.
  3. “It’ll be a few minutes before they’re ready for you, but you might as well head on over. If you have to wait over there, it shouldn’t be long.” This was the low-hurry condition.

As each student walked by himself from the preparation classroom to the studio, he encountered a ‘victim’ in a deserted alleyway just like the wounded traveler in the parable of the Good Samaritan. This victim (actually an associate of the experimenters) appeared destitute, was slouched and coughing and clearly in need of assistance. The seminarians were thus offered a chance to apply what they were about to preach.

“Conflict, rather than callousness, can explain their failure to stop.”

Researchers were interested in determining if their imposed time pressure affected the seminarians’ response to a distressed stranger. Remarkably, only 10% of the students in the high-hurry situation stopped to help the victim. 45% of the students in the intermediate-hurry and 63% of the students in the low-hurry situations helped the victim.

The researchers concluded, “A person not in a hurry may stop and offer help to a person in distress. A person in a hurry is likely to keep going. Ironically, he is likely to keep going even if he is hurrying to speak on the parable of the Good Samaritan, thus inadvertently confirming the point of the parable… Thinking about the Good Samaritan did not increase helping behavior, but being in a hurry decreased it.”

In light of their training and calling, the seminarians’ failure of bystander intervention is probably not due to indifference, self-centeredness, or contempt. (Compare with the plot of the series finale of American sitcom Seinfeld, where Jerry and friends are prosecuted for failure of duty to rescue.) The dominant cause is time pressure. Most of the students who believed they had enough time to stop did so. In contrast, the vast majority of those who thought they were late did not stop to help. In other words, the perception of time pressure or “having limited time” resulted in behaviors incongruent to their education and career: the devotion to help others. Time pressure triggered these well-intentioned students to behave in ways that, upon reflection, they would find disgraceful. The weight of a time constraint caused the students to put their immediate concern of being on time before the wellbeing of someone in need.

White Rabbit in the Disney Musical Alice in Wonderland

We’re in such hurry that we don’t stop to help ourselves

“I’m Late, I’m Late for a very important date,
No time to say hello. Goodbye.
I’m late, I’m late, I’m late, and when I wave,
I lose the time I save.”
White Rabbit in the Disney musical “Alice in Wonderland” (1951)

The Princeton Seminary Experiment offers an even more personal lesson. As the researchers in this experiment expound, when we speed up and feel rushed, we experience a phenomenon known as “narrowing of the cognitive map.” That is, we miss details, we are not present enough in the moment to notice what is really important and we do not make the most beneficial choices for ourselves.

As we make our way through life, not only do we not stop to help others—we also do not stop to help ourselves. We neglect our own needs. We fail to nurture ourselves. We surrender, we settle, we lose hope. We compromise ourselves and become what we often settle for.

Our noisy world and busy lives constantly make us hurry as somebody always depends on us being somewhere. We constantly rush from place to place as if our lives depended upon it. We rush while doing just about everything. We are at the mercy of commitments often imposed by others.

Life moves quickly. And we’ll have missed it.

We fail to nurture ourselves We’re too busy, we’re too hurried and we’re too rushed. When people place demands on our time, our first resort is to cut out that which is most valuable. We are so busy meeting deadlines that we cannot make time for our loved ones. We abandon physical exercise to get to meetings on time. We avoid medical checkups critical to our well-being. We engage in behaviors that can put ourselves at risk for negative consequences in the future.

As our world continues to accelerate and our pace of life picks up speed, the clock’s finger turns inescapably. Life moves on by quickly, and soon enough we’ll have missed it entirely.

Idea for Impact: Be ever-conscious of the fact that time is the currency of your life

The German theologian and anti-Nazi descendent Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906–1945) wrote in his “Letters and Papers from Prison”, “As time is the most valuable thing that we have, because it is the most irrevocable, the thought of any lost time troubles us whenever we look back. Time lost is time in which we have failed to live a full human life, gain experience, learn, create, enjoy, and suffer; it is time that has not been filled up, but left empty.”

Make the best use of your time. Interrupt your busy life to help yourself by living more fully in the present. Nurture yourself. Your needs belong to the top.

Inspirational Quotations #584

Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.
Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus

In seeking absolute truth we aim at the unattainable, and must be content with finding broken portions.
William Osler

Time bears away all things.
Virgil

Fear makes us feel our humanity.
Benjamin Disraeli

I am more and more convinced that our happiness or our unhappiness depends far more on the way we meet the events of life than on the nature of those events themselves.
Wilhelm von Humboldt

People tend to forget their duties but remember their rights.
Indira Gandhi

A good father lives so he is a credit to his children.
Arnold Glasow

I’m a little wounded, but I am not slain; I will lay me down to bleed a while. Then I’ll rise and fight again.
John Dryden

My interest is in the future because I’m going to spend the rest of my life there.
Charles F. Kettering

We are terrified by the idea of being terrified.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Unhappy is the man for whom his own mother has not made all other mothers venerable.
Jean Paul

Progress is the law of life; man is not a man as yet.
Robert Browning

And whoever walks a furlong without sympathy walks to his own funeral drest in his shroud.
Walt Whitman

Anyone is to be pitied who has just sense enough to perceive his deficiencies.
William Hazlitt

Learning passes for wisdom among those who want both.
William Temple

Inspirational Quotations #583

Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you’ll be able to see farther.
J. P. Morgan

There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self-respect.
Woodrow Wilson

Although words exist for the most part for the transmission of ideas, there are some which produce such violent disturbance in our feelings that the role they play in the transmission of ideas is lost in the background.
Albert Einstein

Thinking is not to agree or disagree. That is voting.
Robert Frost

The best way to predict the future is to create it.
Peter Drucker

It is the little bits of things that fret and worry us; we can dodge a elephant, but we can’t dodge a fly.
Josh Billings (Henry Wheeler Shaw)

In solitude, where we are least alone.
Solon

Love is the only flower that grows and blossoms without the aid of seasons.
Khalil Gibran

Affirmation without discipline is the beginning of delusion.
Jim Rohn

Odd how the creative power at once brings the whole universe to order.
Virginia Woolf

There is only one meaning of life, the act of living itself.
Erich Fromm

Most men want knowledge, not for itself, but for the superiority which knowledge confers; and the means they employ to secure this superiority are as wrong as the ultimate object, for no man can ever end with being superior, who will not begin with being inferior.
Sydney Smith

The Buddha Isn’t God or Superhuman

Today is Vesak (or Wesak) in South East Asia, the most prominent of Buddhist festivals and a celebration of the birth, enlightenment, and death of Gautama Buddha, the historical Buddha. Vesak is celebrated on a different day in South Asia.

I’ll take this opportunity to clarify a common conception—or misconception—taken up during casual comparisons between Buddhism and the Abrahamic faiths. I’ll also shed light on Buddhist gods and deities.

Was the Buddha God or Superhuman

The Buddha Never Considered Himself Savior or the Guardian of Truth

According to foundational Buddhist scriptures, Gautama Buddha claimed to be an ordinary man—not a God, superhuman, or prophet. The Buddha even denied that he was omniscient, though he did emphasize that what he knew was all that really matters.

The Buddha presented himself as a philosopher, an enlightened human being. He was only exceptional in having deeply contemplated the true nature of reality. He claimed he had identified the sources of pain and suffering.

The Buddha taught that humans are fundamentally ignorant about the nature of existence and that everything in life is unsatisfactoriness (dukkha) caused by ignorance (avidya) and selfish craving (tanha.) As a teacher, the Buddha was deeply interested in the ethical remaking of a person and declared that it lay within anybody’s capacity to follow his life experience to achieve awakening. The Buddha insisted that his teachings should not be accepted on blind faith—Buddhism is therefore a ‘religion’ of reason and meditation.

Siddhartha Gautama, the Historical Buddha

Do Buddhists Believe in God The entire philosophical edifice of Buddhism centers on Gautama Buddha’s enlightenment. He was born into royalty as Siddhartha Gautama during the sixth century before Christ. According to tradition, at Siddhartha’s naming ceremony, Brahmin astrologers predicted that the newborn was predestined to become an extraordinary ruler of humans, as a great king or holy man. His father desperately wished the former for his long-awaited heir. He isolated Siddhartha within their palace’s protective boundaries and took precautions to ensure that Siddhartha would never experience any trouble, sorrow, or suffering that could cast even the slightest shadow on his happiness.

At age 29, Siddhartha strayed from his palace’s simulated paradise and chanced upon an old man, a diseased man, and a corpse. He also encountered an ascetic who strove to find the cause of human suffering. Depressed by his encounters with human suffering, Siddhartha resolved to follow the ascetic’s example. Leaving his wife and infant son behind (they later became initial disciples), Siddhartha left his affluent palace and lived as a beggar. After pursuing six years of ascetic practice and arduous meditation, he attained new depths of understanding about the nature of life, ego, consciousness, and reality. He achieved enlightenment and thus became the Buddha, the “Awakened One,” or the “Enlightened One.”

Theism is Incompatible with Buddha’s Teachings

The concept of an omnipotent God does not feature substantially in Buddhism. Indeed, scholars quote verse 188 of the Dhammapada, “Men driven by fear go to many a refuge, to mountains, and to forests, to sacred trees, and shrines,” and state that the Buddha believed that the concepts of religion and godliness stem from primal fear, just as sociologists and psychologists have recently posited.

Unlike people of other faiths, Buddhists believe neither in a creator God nor in a personal God entitled to their obedience. Consequently, Buddhism does not derive its system of ethics from any divine authority, but from the teachings of Gautama Buddha.

Buddhism: Gods and Deities

Buddhism: Gods and Deities

Buddhist doctrines have evolved over the centuries. In some schools of Buddhism, the worship of the Buddha is merely an act of commemoration for the founder of their ancient tradition. Others defy the foundational Buddhist teachings that the Buddha is not an object of prayer or devotion and worship him as a deity who holds supernatural qualities and powers.

Gods in Buddhism Religion - White Tara To account for the misconception of a Buddhist God, the more-religious forms of Buddhism added gods to serve as objects of meditation. According to these schools, living beings can be reborn into various realms of existence, one of which is the realm of the gods. The Buddha was said to have taken various animal and human forms and reborn as a god several times. The gods (those born into the realm of the gods) are mortal and impermanent—i.e., they are born and die like other living beings. These gods do not play any role in the creation or sustenance of the cosmos. Adherents can meditate upon these gods and pray to them for practical (but not spiritual) benefits.

The Mahayana schools of Buddhism also believe in many supernatural beings that feature prominently in Buddhist art: various Buddha-figures, ghosts, demons, and bodhisattvas. Bodhisattvas are would-be Buddhas who represent various virtues of thought and action. In Tibetan Buddhism, for example, the Sitatara or the White Tara (‘star’ in Sanskrit) is a female Bodhisattva. She is a meditation deity who embodies compassion, longevity, and tranquility.

Buddhist God or Deity - Pu-Tai or Budai Finally, the Laughing Buddha (Pu-Tai or Budai in Chinese and Hotei in Japanese) is a holy person per Chinese folklore. He represents a future bodhisattva and epitomizes contentment. His popular image is often mistaken for that of Gautama Buddha. Rubbing Budai’s belly is said to bring good luck and prosperity.

Recommended Books & Films

  • English poet Edwin Arnold’s “The Light of Asia” (1879,) a book that deeply inspired Gandhi. The Light of Asia illustrates the life of Siddhartha Gautama, his enlightenment, character, and philosophy.
  • German theologian Rudolf Otto’s classic “The Idea of the Holy” (1917) explores the mystic, non-rational aspects of the idea of God and contains abundant references to foundational Buddhist teachings.
  • Italian filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci’s “Little Buddha” (1993) includes an remarkable visual retelling of the life of Prince Siddhartha Gautama. Bertolucci also made the epic “The Last Emperor” (1987.)

Inspirational Quotations #582

The successful people are the ones who can think up stuff for the rest of the world to keep busy at.
Don Marquis

By the disposition of a stupendous wisdom, moulding together the great mysterious incorporation of the human race, the whole, at one time, is never old, or middle-aged, or young, but moves on through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, and progression.
Edmund Burke

If you can speak what you will never hear, if you can write what you will never read, you have done rare things.
Henry David Thoreau

Jealousy is the most dreadfully involuntary of all sins.
Iris Murdoch

There’s no correlation between how good your idea is and how likely your organization will be to embrace it.
Seth Godin

What holds most people back isn’t the quality of their ideas, but their lack of faith in themselves.
Russell Simmons

The weak are more likely to make the strong weak than the strong are likely to make the weak strong.
Marlene Dietrich

The praise of a fool is incense to the wisest of us.
Benjamin Franklin

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better take things as they come along with patience and equanimity.
Carl Jung

The happy life is thought to be one of excellence; now an excellent life requires exertion, and does not consist in amusement.
Aristotle

Inspirational Quotations #581

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened.
Ernest Hemingway

I venerate old age; and I love not the man who can look without emotion upon the sunset of life, when the dusk of evening begins to gather over the watery eye, and the shadows of twilight grow broader and deeper upon the understanding.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

What I need is someone who will make me do what I can.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Dreams are real as long as they last. Can we say more of life?
Havelock Ellis

When you accept yourself completely you do not have to maintain a phony front, drive yourself to “achieve” or feel insecure if people tune-in to you and what you are doing.
Ken Keyes, Jr.

The cat, having sat upon a hot stove lid, will not sit upon a hot stove lid again. But he won’t sit upon a cold stove lid, either.
Mark Twain

Attach yourself to those who advise you rather than praise you.
Nicolas Boileau-Despreaux

True art is characterized by an irresistible urge in the creative artist.
Albert Einstein

The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge.
Bertrand A. Russell

The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.
Leonardo da Vinci

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.
Edwin Hubbell Chapin

Justice consists in doing no injury to men; decency in giving them no offense.
Cicero

Starbucks Founder and CEO Howard Schultz’s Onward [What I’ve Been Reading]

Starbucks founder, Chairman, and CEO Howard Schultz’s “Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul” is an interesting case study of organizational change as orchestrated by a passionate entrepreneur. The book covers the first two years of the turnaround of Starbucks after Schultz returned as CEO.

'Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul' by Howard Schultz, Joanne Gordon (ISBN 1609613821) In 2007, in the face of falling consumer spending and the upcoming Great Recession, the consumer discretionary sector was hit hard. Like other companies in that realm, Starbucks’ sales and profitability had dropped. The company’s stock price plummeted after Wall Street pared the rich valuations (high price-to-earning) of the company’s once-hot growth stock. Through these trials, Schultz worked at the company’s Seattle headquarters as chairman. Even after retiring as CEO in 2001, he had never left the company entirely and had even interjected often during Starbucks’ presentations to investors.

Starbucks’ financial under-performance was likely as much due to the economic slowdown as it was self-inflicted. In an apparent instance of misplaced cause-and-effect, Schultz blamed the company’s leadership for focusing too much on rapid expansion, opening too many stores, and diluting the in-store Starbucks experience. Behind the CEO’s back, Schultz started working with strategy consultants and other board members to develop a “transformational agenda” centered on the core values of the company he had founded in 1982.

In January 2008, Schultz invited the CEO home on a Sunday evening, fired him, and assumed the CEO position for a second stint. Over the next two years, Schultz rejuvenated the company’s mojo by making operational improvements and focusing on employee engagement, Starbucks’ specialty coffee products and its distinctive in-store customer experience.

Schultz’s vision, focus, and execution of this transformation makes up the bulk of “Onward”. One dominant theme in the book is founder’s syndrome—the intense reluctance of entrepreneurs like Schultz to cede control of their businesses.

Starbucks founder, Chairman, and CEO Howard Schultz

Towards the end of 2009 (when “Onward” was authored,) the economy started to improve. A measured recovery in consumer confidence invigorated the fortunes of most consumer discretionary companies that had suffered during the downturn. At Starbucks, customers returned to stores and spent more. Sales and profitability improved. The company’s valuation on Wall Street soared again. Conceivably, Starbucks may have enjoyed a comeback even if Schultz had remained just the chairman, retained and supported the CEO, and worked with the company’s leadership team to initiate course corrections.

That Starbucks continues to be an American success story and has done extraordinarily well to date under Schultz’s leadership is one more instance of a beloved fairy tale in the world of business—that of a company in distress rescued by the return of its visionary founder.

“Onward” is Schultz’s somewhat grandiose narrative of his return as CEO. The 350-page book is brimming with peripheral details, self-congratulatory superlatives, recurring claims, and Pollyanna-isms that are illustrative of a charismatic entrepreneur and a brilliant corporate cheerleader.

Recommendation: Skim. (For Starbucks aficionados: Read.)