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How Starbucks Saved My Life Paperback – 17 Sep 2007
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The New York Times
‘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.’
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.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
However, many blue collar workers seem to be frustrated, disappointed or bored in their life
in the US so the difference must impressed Mike. Now it makes sense the mechanism. Starbucks
respect their employee and offer them a lot to make their life better such as medical insurance.
Therefore employees can happily work and as result it brings in more customers.
While I read, I was dying to have a strong starbucks dripped coffee and sweets. This story
would definitely make you feel that way if you love coffee.
This isn't just a calm and peaceful story. I thought Mike is a victim of over much capitalism which
is created by a "Privilege" like him. Getting rid of an old man who faithfully worked for the company
in the past but no more new idea is often better for economy but this kind of society won't sustain.
One thing I didn't understand is resister closure. Starbucks allowes workers up to 5 dollars error
but Mike twice made more than 5 dollars error and when he made it 3 cents error, he was really happy.
I suspect Americans are not good at counting money. Making error is not common here in Japan
and I've almost never had error on this.
My favorite part is that Crystal stroke down Mike when he got upset that a homeless without purchasing
used the rest room. Her philosophy is that anyone who entered into the store is customer. In Paris, I had to
show the receipt to get the key for the rest room. I hope all the Starbucks have same philosophy as Crystal.
This is just another story but I'd say hearing that an old man who dropped down his life found the reason
for living would never make you feel bad. You'd definitely have happy feelings by reading it besides your coffee.
Now the bad points. Much of the time this book reads like some sort of promotional merchandise written by a committee of corporate hipsters at Starbuck HQ, Seattle. As far as I can tell there is no connection between Starbucks and the book's publishers, however, so I assume this gushing praise is a result of the author's background in corporate PR and advertising. There's far too much description of the minutiae of Starbucks shop management and too little about more important things, such as, why did his solo business fail? How did Crystal manage to be so positive despite her background?
I also got the impression this book may appeal to the zeitgeist because it is an attempt, perhaps unintentional, to soften the blow for a generation of university graduates who are having to realise they will never have the kind of job or lifestyle that Mr Gill had in his earlier years, and considered to be his by right. It will appeal to the kind of corporate kingpin who drones on about 'loyalty' and 'what will it do for the company'. I bet some Starbucks boss like Bill Lumbergh from 'Office Space' would enjoy this book, while sipping a latte from his special mug and saying 'Mmmm, Mike, I'm gonna have to go ahead and ask you to clean the bathroom one more time. That would be great.'
I would also like to have known more about his career in the 'Mad Men' days of advertising. I think this would actually have made a better book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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 .
recommended recommended very recommended and very interesting and very good buy and very good value for money and very easy readingPublished on 23 Feb. 2013 by Ms. Elizabeth Mackenzie
This is the 3rd time I have purchased this book ! Everyone keeps borrowing it , such a great read.Published on 20 Dec. 2012 by Rachie
This book will mean more or less to different people and will affect them differently at varying times in their lives. Read morePublished on 2 Sept. 2012 by Clare O'Beara
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 morePublished on 21 Mar. 2011 by Craobh Rua
I first read this book on holidays in the States and it is a wonderful book with many layers of interest. Read morePublished on 30 Nov. 2010 by Mary Mc Andrew
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 morePublished on 6 Jun. 2010 by reading riot
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 morePublished on 22 Feb. 2010 by MIchelleH