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How Starbucks Saved My Life Paperback – 17 Sep 2007

3.4 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (17 Sept. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007267673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007267675
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 21.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 686,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'Articulate, charming'.
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.’
Wayne Dyer

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.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed it.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Paperback
As a Japanese, I thought what starbucks offer to the customers is just a regular service.
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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
First the good points. I liked Mr Gill's positive attitude to his job and his determination to make a go of things, at a time when most people are considering retirement. I liked the way he was willing to do work that many could consider 'menial' and do it to the best of his ability. I also liked the way he'd realised the shallowness of much of the 'successful' world, and the pointless snobbery of the struggling upper middle classes.

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.
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