1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.51

Buy for $28.51

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Build an iconic shopping experience that your customers love - and a work environment that your employees love being a part of - using this blueprint from Trader Joe’s visionary founder, Joe Coulombe.

Infuse your organization with a distinct personality and culture that draws customers in a way that simply competing on price cannot.

Joe Coulombe founded what would become Trader Joe’s in the late 1960s and helped shape it into the beloved, quirky food chain it is today. Realizing early on that he could not compete and win by playing the same game his bigger competitors were playing, he decided to build a store for educated people of somewhat modest means. He brought in unusual products from around the world and promoted them in the Fearless Flyer, providing customers with background on how they were sourced and their nutritional value. He also gave the stores a tiki theme to reinforce the exotic trader ship concept with employees wearing Hawaiian shirts.  

In this way, Joe laid down a blueprint for other business owners to follow to build their own unique shopping experience that customers love and a work environment that employees love being a part of. 

In Becoming Trader Joe, Joe shares the lessons he learned by challenging the status quo and rethinking the way a business operates. He shows people of all types:

  • How moving from a pure analytical approach to a more creative, problem-solving approach can drive innovation.
  • How finding an affluent niche of passionate customers can be a better strategy than competing on price and volume.
  • How questioning all aspects of the way you do business leads to powerful results.
  • How to build a business around your values and identity. 
©2021 Joe Coulombe, Patty Civalleri (P)2021 HarperCollins Leadership

What listeners say about Becoming Trader Joe

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    122
  • 4 Stars
    41
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    4
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    113
  • 4 Stars
    30
  • 3 Stars
    12
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    100
  • 4 Stars
    34
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    3

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Many mispronunciations

The narrator mispronounces many words: Plantagenet, Riordan, La Cienega, Veuve Clicquot…why did no one correct him?

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Trade Joe’s employee

I found the story to be very fascinating as I’ve been an employee of Trader Joes for 20 years and close family members have worked for the company since the Pronto Market days. I definitely recommend.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Lots of value in this one

Whichever side of the retail experience you’re on, and especially if you run a bricks and mortar operation or lease to someone that does, check this book out.  Short book, tons of nuggets.  The value quotient is massive.  Tons of respect for the business of @traderjoes and how it was built.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great story

I love business stories and I love Trader Joe’s so this is a great combo. The voice actor lacks depth of understanding and it comes through. Still, I probably wouldn’t have read the book if not done in audio.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I love the store even more

Joe writes a great, thoughtful and meaningful book on his legacy and the history of Trader Joe’s. I really enjoyed how he intertwined the history of business in the United States over the last 70 years as well.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Smart, Fun, Fascinating — For Fans & Unbelievers Alike

An excellent, amusing, engaging look at the origin of Trader Joe’s, and the demise or rebirth of a number of other late 20th century retail institutions.

Alternately revelatory of how we TJ shoppers have been expertly profiled, and confirmatory of the strong feelings we Trader Joe’s fans have for our favorite market chain, this is a must-read for TJ fans and haters alike. And if you were in Southern California, especially in and around Pasadena, in the 60’s, 70s, or 80s, the book is a fascinating look behind the curtain at places, events, and institutions you may well remember.

The audiobook is worthwhile, and engagingly read by the narrator. The only negative is there are a number of oddly pronounced or mispronounced words — not enough to detract from the book, but enough that an “over educated and under paid” TJ customer will notice. Half-a-dozen pick-ups could fix that single flaw.

Read it; audio-read it. Excellent and interesting.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Seems Like an Ad for Trader Joe's

This book is interesting for a while, but quickly devolves into the author blowing his own horn and talking about how well he did everything. In that sense, it is not interesting for long. I haven't been able to finish it--doesn't seem like there is a reason to. I love the store but the story is not nearly as compelling!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great read

Great read and story. Highly recommend reading this especially if you are a fan of Trader Joe’s.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Audiobook

I had no expectation when I downloaded this book but was pleasantly surprised. It gives a good idea about of Trader Joe story without unnecessary details, on top of that Mark Smeby performance is on point!

I strongly suggest it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Candid, Balnced, Educational

I never set a foot in Traders-Joe (I live in Israel). I got to this book following Lorr's "The Secret Life of Groceries" as part of my retail self-education journey.
However, I found the story highly interesting for any entrepreneur or business manager. This did not come as surprise as Lorr already described this intelligent, deep, and clear-looking mind of Joe Coulombe. This was like learning a dozen MBA case studies in one book.