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on 10 June 2017
Really enjoyed it.
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on 17 October 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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on 7 October 2007
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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on 17 June 2011
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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on 11 March 2015
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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on 20 December 2015
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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on 23 September 2007
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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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 September 2012
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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on 31 October 2007
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....

The story is interesting, it is the BOOK that is boring the writing, ... the things he wanted to tell you, the life lessons we are supposed to learn are all there. It is suppose to be a great book that should tell you something. But he is just not capable of delivery it right.... Having a father working in the New Yorkers and having met great poets and writers and all these great people (the Queen!~?); i was shocked , that Gill is able to produce such..empty ...and in a way shallow contents. this is kinda ridiculous..

you'll realize his writing patterns pretty easily, repetitive in structure and sometimes pointless in the things he is saying.
a few thoughts come up to my mind a lot when i read the book was:
"is it those kinda propaganda publication to promote Starbucks?" seriously the emphasis on how WARM and lovely and WELCOMING a starbucks family can be to BOTH employee and customers (as 'guest' mentioned in the bk) is almost like brainwashing, eveyrone is oh so nice working in starbucks so here is the other thought that come along "urm but i dont really thinkg starbucks could always be like tat, at least i never thought of it that way" (mind you i was reading it IN a starbuck.. )and he jsut keeps on RUBBING IN!!!!!!

and another thought: "whao this guy loves to talk about the great people he used to know and meet before," at random times at random reminiscience of his once great life; and to be honest, some of them (or most of them are really not important to the story it self) but..wat is he trying to prove? i am just ...curious why put out so much of this great 'achievements'..as if to show off ... and still does mentioned he is glad that his kids aint EMBARRASSED abt his work..which means he still think it is embarrassing... and also, he is VERY RELUCTANT to admit to his wrong doings, he lightly touched on things that he should actually be sorry or feeling guilt about, which makes it very hard to beleive that he has actually LEARNED something. Merely saying "i am sorry for ruingin your life" to his kids, doesnt quite tell me that he acutally feel the guilt.. ok this is like a self-obsorbed diary of a guy i guess then...he words jsut doesnt have the weight to CONVINCE you,

i appriceiate the life-learning experience of how a person get his perspective through a new unexpected event in his life, but just .. god it is JUST VERY BAD PRESENTED by the writer. sorry. i cannot get attached to it. imagine a very moive with a nice plot but a very bad screenplay and directions. and it gets boring and worse as you carry on.. but yeah if you are bored. and have nothing to do for the day like me.. u can have a chew on it. and it can be intersting in reading on someone's ruined life and how a cup of coffee and warmth brought him to his senses.
well at least the first few pages did interest me and made me stay and carry on reading it until the end, so i guess it is not the worse book you can encounter...
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on 30 November 2010
I first read this book on holidays in the States and it is a wonderful book with many layers of interest. Brilliantly written, the story develops with a tale of reality, an indept knowledge of the Starbucks coffee business and best of all a happy ending story of acceptance, consideration and humor. I would recommend this book as THE MANUAL for anyone working in the hospitality industry anywhere in the world. Michael Gill should be proud of this work.
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