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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Michael Gates Gill , Dylan Baker
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Book Description

20 Sep 2007

A candid, moving and inspirational memoir about a high-flying business man who is forced to re-evaluate his life and values when he suddenly loses everything and goes to work in Starbucks.

Michael Gill had it made. He was educated, wealthy and well-connected. He had a creative and lucrative advertising job, which he loved and which he was good at, and a model family and home life. Then he loses it all. He is fired by a young exec whom he had mentored. He has an extramarital affair that destroys his family and results in a newborn son. Then he is diagnosed with brain cancer. He has no insurance, no income.

One day he wanders into Starbucks and by chance signs up for a job interview. His would-be boss is a young black woman who gives him a job, and sets about training him and mentoring him. What follows is an inspirational eye-opener as Gill experiences a whole new world compared to his former life – with people from completely different ethnic and social backgrounds.

‘How Starbucks Saved My Life’ follows Gill's journey of discovery as gradually he is forced to question his ingrained assumptions, prejudices and habits. Gill emerges from his fall from grace with humility and gratitude. His new-found empathy teaches him how anyone who has lost their way, or made a mistake, can start again.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks; Unabridged edition (20 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143142402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143142409
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,345,480 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Articulate, charming'.
The New York Times

‘One great read.’
The Wall Street Journal

‘A great lesson in finding your highest self in the unlikeliest of
places – proof positive that there is no way to happiness – rather, happiness is the way.’
Wayne Dyer

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

Michael Gates Gill was born with all the material advantages that America can offer, with an acclaimed New Yorker staff writer for a father, and spent his childhood surrounded by famous intellectuals and socially connected people.

After graduating from Yale he was given a job with the help of a classmate as a Creative Director at J. Walter Thompson, the most successful and largest advertising agency in the world. Then after 25 years of devoting his life to work, he was suddenly fired and his life at the top of the American establishment became derailed.

He found himself broke, his marriage dissolving, learned he needed a brain operation, and was deperately looking for work to help support his five children.

Then he found a job at Starbucks where he still works as a barista. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
This is the true, surprising story of an old white man who was kicked out of the top of the American Establishment, by chance met a young African-American woman from a completely different background, and came to learn what is important in life. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a lovely little book 17 Oct 2007
Man - other reviewers - what book are you reading, or more importantly expecting to read!

A book I really enjoyed about a man's personal journey at the late stages of his life. Unlike the other reviewers I couldn't put it down and it was extremely moving how Mike changed from a successful, shallow man to a person who whilst not as materially as rich - certainly is happier in life.

Wow this man has met some people Muhammad Ali, Frank Sinatra, Ernest Hemingway - and how much more interesting his work colleagues in Starbucks are.

A recommended read - especially if you are feeling down - this story will inspire you.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really life affirming 7 Oct 2007
By jem
I loved this book and couldn't put it down. I thought the way Michael's childhood story was woven into his adult crisis was brilliant. The characters he encountered in Starbucks were vividly brought to life. It is full of obvious life lessons, but is truly brilliant.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant tale of redemption and humanity 17 Jun 2011
By Nick D.
Michael Gill's story is remarkable. He had everything a man could ask for: a stellar career in advertising, a wonderful home and family, and the kind of life we all dream of. He is someone who could have come straight out of the TV series "Mad Men", but is a real character not an invented one. Despite achieving great success, he took everything he had for granted. He was selfish. He was arrogant. He wasn't there for his kids. He cheated on his wife. Then, just as he was reaching the age when everything usually turns right in your life, he lost his job, his wife divorced him and he became very sick. Thanks to a chance encounter, Starbucks saved his life. Literally. I don't want to spoil the story, but it not only gave him a job when he reached rock bottom but crucially access to medical care that saved him from a potentially fatal condition.

The facts of Michael Gill's rise and fall are fascinating, but what makes this a compelling and heartwarming tale of redemption is his brutal frankness and humility. If he had been a detestable character before, he became someone profoundly changed and worthy of respect despite the lowliness of his subsequent position. This book reminds me in many ways of Tom Wolfe's "Bonfire of the Vanities" except that this is no fiction.

It is being turned into a movie with Tom Hanks. If it is half as good as this book, it may get an Oscar.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Booooooringgggg 23 Sep 2007
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I couldn't agree more with Mrs Ridings (below). Although the author repeatedly says that he is so at peace with his new career, he keeps relating to all the big things he did in his past career, so you keep thinking that he in fact isn't at peace with it at all - and I therefore found the book a bit tedious. Strangely enough, I did find myself sympathising with the author throughout the book.
I bought this book to get to know a bit more about the Starbuck's business in a more playful way than reading a management book. And I did.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A good factual read 17 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was recommended to me by my sister in Canada,She had enjoyed it,I found it a very uplifting story, well. written & funny .
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4.0 out of 5 stars starbucks book 23 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
recommended recommended very recommended and very interesting and very good buy and very good value for money and very easy reading
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5.0 out of 5 stars Always a great read 20 Dec 2012
By Rachie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the 3rd time I have purchased this book ! Everyone keeps borrowing it , such a great read.
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3.0 out of 5 stars How Starbucks Saved my Life 2 Sep 2012
By Clare O'Beara TOP 1000 REVIEWER
This book will mean more or less to different people and will affect them differently at varying times in their lives.
The central character had a good if stressful job, family life that was squeezed into very little time and managed to cheat on his wife, probably because of the lack of connection with his family. He lost everything. Trying to support himself he takes a chance of an evening of recruitment in a Starbucks coffee shop an hour from his flat. The manageress takes him on board and he learns a lot of life lessons including how to be a more helpful, thoughtful person.
If you don't want to read info about the corporate structure or ethos of Starbucks, you can turn the page and next thing you can be asking yourself whether you would allow a homeless person in to use the restrooms or give free hot water.
The employee contracts cancer but gets medical care and while he has no guarantee of a long life, he is a lot better off for being with the firm than if he had been shining shoes on the street.
Mainly this is a man looking back over how his life has brought him to this moment and how it is still possible to learn and grow at an older age.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars It is tragic but not serious.
From the moment he was born, Michael Gates Gill led a privileged life. His parents were well-off, and nothing was too expensive for their son. Read more
Published on 21 Mar 2011 by Craobh Rua
5.0 out of 5 stars Coffee and contentment.
I first read this book on holidays in the States and it is a wonderful book with many layers of interest. Read more
Published on 30 Nov 2010 by Mary Mc Andrew
1.0 out of 5 stars Michael Gill is a jerk
I plodded through this book because I'm in a book club that chose it. The first paragraph of poor grammar written in the third person reads as "this is a story about" and the... Read more
Published on 6 Jun 2010 by reading riot
4.0 out of 5 stars AN EXCEPTIONAL BOOK
i am glad i did not read half the reviews on this page before purchasing this book,which i happen to come across in a borders store. Read more
Published on 22 Feb 2010 by Again lost in a good book
2.0 out of 5 stars Sweet at first... Then the bitter aftertaste
Is it possible to enjoy a book, but simultaneously wish it had never been written?

I originally picked this up only because it was written by the son of Brendan Gill (in... Read more
Published on 24 Jun 2009 by L.B.
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!
I first read about this book on a visit to America last September when it was just about to be released and had to order it on my return. Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2008 by K. Arber
2.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant and heart warming, but the quality of the writing lets it...
"How Starbucks Saved My Life" is based on the appealing premise that taking a less prestigious, blue collar job can restore your self-esteem and allow you to regain a sense of what... Read more
Published on 24 Mar 2008 by Julia Flyte
2.0 out of 5 stars ... i wanted to be a bit nicer in the review...
True it was boring. not tedious boring but ... dull... anyway i did spend an evening sitting in a bookshop, thinking maybe i can finish it and just see what happens.... Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2007 by W. Lai
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