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The Magic Cup: A Business Parable About a Leader, a Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First

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We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we've often heard that nice guys finish last. Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we've often heard that nice guys finish last. Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the Starbucks organization most definitely proves that nice guys finish first. In THE MAGIC CUP, Behar spins an engaging corporate tale to teach us exactly how we can do the same thing. The story revolves around Vince Steadfast, the newly named CEO of imaginary manufacturer Verity Glassworks, which has fallen on difficult times. Vince is hired to help the once iconic company return to its glory days, and he brings with him a parting gift from his mentor and former boss: a stunning crystal coffee cup from Verity's halcyon days. The cup turns out to be magic - truly - and helps him come to understand and reinvigorate the values that Verity has misplaced along the way. As Vince and his new team make their way to (and through) many challenges, including the aptly named Worthy Way, Perilous Passage and Arduous Stair, the cup fills with a gold elixir and the universal truths that they learn to embrace - such as Responsibility, Forgiveness and Courage - magically become engraved in the glass. In the tradition of great parable writers throughout history, Behar quickly involves us in an engrossing fantasy, continually challenging us to compare each situation with our own real-life experiences. The story of THE MAGIC CUP helps each of us discover that only by acting on sound moral principles can we fill our own cups with the personal and professional success and satisfaction we seek.


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We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we've often heard that nice guys finish last. Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the We all love the fairy tales we grew up on, creating a world in which good always wins over evil, where those whose hearts are true and who do the right thing come out on top. But, grown-up competition for success is rough, even cutthroat, and we've often heard that nice guys finish last. Not according to Howard Behar, whose career as one of the three leaders who built the Starbucks organization most definitely proves that nice guys finish first. In THE MAGIC CUP, Behar spins an engaging corporate tale to teach us exactly how we can do the same thing. The story revolves around Vince Steadfast, the newly named CEO of imaginary manufacturer Verity Glassworks, which has fallen on difficult times. Vince is hired to help the once iconic company return to its glory days, and he brings with him a parting gift from his mentor and former boss: a stunning crystal coffee cup from Verity's halcyon days. The cup turns out to be magic - truly - and helps him come to understand and reinvigorate the values that Verity has misplaced along the way. As Vince and his new team make their way to (and through) many challenges, including the aptly named Worthy Way, Perilous Passage and Arduous Stair, the cup fills with a gold elixir and the universal truths that they learn to embrace - such as Responsibility, Forgiveness and Courage - magically become engraved in the glass. In the tradition of great parable writers throughout history, Behar quickly involves us in an engrossing fantasy, continually challenging us to compare each situation with our own real-life experiences. The story of THE MAGIC CUP helps each of us discover that only by acting on sound moral principles can we fill our own cups with the personal and professional success and satisfaction we seek.

30 review for The Magic Cup: A Business Parable About a Leader, a Team, and the Power of Putting People and Values First

  1. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    I was given this book as a B-school graduation gift from UW, as Howard Behar was the speaker at my commencement. He gave a touching and inspirational address, and as such, I was looking forward to reading The Magic Cup. The premise is very clever. Instead of a traditional business book - one where Mr. I've Already Made It explains to the reader how he got to where he is via anecdotes and true stories - The Magic Cup's basis is a fairy tale. I was unaware of this going in, and it took me a few pag I was given this book as a B-school graduation gift from UW, as Howard Behar was the speaker at my commencement. He gave a touching and inspirational address, and as such, I was looking forward to reading The Magic Cup. The premise is very clever. Instead of a traditional business book - one where Mr. I've Already Made It explains to the reader how he got to where he is via anecdotes and true stories - The Magic Cup's basis is a fairy tale. I was unaware of this going in, and it took me a few pages of "what the what... that doesn't make any sense" before I realized it was supposed to be a whimsical fantasy. Also, the story line is very engrossing. Although it isn't a long book to begin with, I blasted through it in two days because I was dying to find out what happened next from the beginning to the end. I wanted to like this book more, but the story itself came across as too juvenile for me to give it 4 stars. The main character, Steadfast, is one dimensional - *always* wanting to do the right thing. The only times he missteps are when he erroneously thinks he's doing the right thing for the company, only to find out later he'd made the wrong choice (for example, he chooses to explore a vault instead of going up a staircase). He never has a moral dilemma of "well... this would be better for me personally but worse for the company as a whole, so how do I proceed?" On the flip side, the story's bad guy - Hoggit - is 100% bad. He's even physically portrayed as a pig as the novel progresses. Also, there were a few gaping plot holes. For example, the security guard Stout knew of the existence of a secret vault AND had the keys to get into it, and yet she never explored it until immediately after the tells Steadfast about it. Really?? There are others, but they'd be spoilers and I don't want to ruin it for anyone who might pick the book up. Plus - and this may be my lack of imagination - I had a hard time picturing what the scene looked like as the crew meandered through various portions of Verity tower on their quest. Contrasting this to the Harry Potter series where I had a clear mental motion picture running through my brain throughout the duration of the novel, I could never quite get there with The Magic Cup.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    A cute little book that is like "The Goal" for leadership principles. It is a very quick read.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Connie Glasgow

    What a lovely read as I begin my 14th year with AWB. The Magic Cup reminds us all of our importance to an organization and how we can make it better.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Josh Sutton

    Good book on virtues of leaderships

  5. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jamie Newman

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joel

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rob

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tanner Laliberte

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peter A. Bassi

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christian De Munter

  13. 4 out of 5

    Scott Beaudry

  14. 5 out of 5

    BelieveLikeMe

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rob Lever

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  17. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  18. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Logan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Miguel Zubiria

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carli

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jimilyn

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ann Marie Coe

  23. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  24. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sherri Lynch

  26. 4 out of 5

    Klatann Thomas

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremiah Clark

  29. 5 out of 5

    Victoria johnson

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lorie Grover

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