courtesy of Crown Publishing Group
Karen Blumenthal’s research into her book about Starbucks didn’t get off to a smooth start. The Dallas author, a longtime reporter and editor for the Wall Street Journal, went to Seattle in February 2005 to interview shareholders at Starbucks’ annual meeting. The company granted her media credentials, but that didn’t stop one Starbucks employee with a headset from freaking out when Blumenthal talked to people.

“Media relations!” the employee screamed into her headset. “I need media relations here immediately!”

“She was very aggressive,” says Blumenthal, laughing. “So I ended up in the parking garage, freezing, interviewing people on their way in. I felt sorry for them. They just wanted some free coffee, you know?”Eventually, the company relented. The resulting book, Grande Expectations: A Year in the Life of Starbucks’ Stock, hits stores April 3.

The idea for it was novel. Examine one stock from all sides: the many factors that go into its movement, its trading, its perception by investors and the financial community. Blumenthal got lucky with Starbucks. During the year she covered it (January 2005 to February 2006), the company bought back stock (a chapter in itself) and split its stock (another chapter). She also looks at what really happens to a stock when it is traded. Highly recommended.