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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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on 17 June 2014
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 .
Mavis
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on 24 June 2009
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 the 1970s Gill wrote a deservedly best-selling memoir, HERE AT THE NEW YORKER, of his time at the famous magazine: it was a favourite read of mine at a relatively early age - 14 - when I had heard of only a fraction of the literary celebrities Gill describes and occasionally eviscerates.) Gill hasn't inherited his father's gift for witty description, but his prose is perfectly readable and his story is sadly typical of many of the older generation.

Read as a personal memoir, HOW STARBUCKS SAVED MY LIFE is a straightforward tale of how a Son of Privilege unexpectedly found himself a casualty of the callous corporate culture, thrown onto the scrapheap in his sixties. His marriage disintegrated, followed by his health, but at his lowest point he was offered a job in his local Starbucks. Donning the green apron and starting at the bottom, he found a corporate culture which was far friendlier than the merciless, high-pressured advertising world he'd left behind.

So far, so self-affirming and even heartwarming... But what makes me wish it had never been written is Gill's pathetic gratitude for an entry-level service job.

On a personal level, such humility is commendable.

On a political level, however, I shudder to think of some corporate reptile reading this book and taking from it the message that the perfect lower-level employee is one exactly like Gill: someone who is crushed, ground-down and utterly desperate to hang onto any employment, regardless of how onerous the duties are.

This, I fear, is the potentially harmful message of the book. What is doubtless intended as the story of one man's redemption through humility and hard work actually carries a less palatable message about the desperation of the average working stiff in America, not to mention the tragic waste of talent and experience when older, highly-trained workers are laid off in their thousands to "save money".

Seen in this light, it's really not so heartwarming after all.
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on 23 February 2013
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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on 6 June 2010
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 second paragraph switches over to a first person intro to Michael Gill's sob story. I admit I did feel sorry for him when his young preppy boss kicked him to the curb without much of a severance package but my bestowance of pity drew to a sudden halt at page 25. This poor slob had worked long hours preferring his job to spending time with his family while the wife he hardly referred to in his book raised their 4 children. He admitted he hardly knew his children while they were growing up. After his job ended, he decided to bolster his ego as well as his muscles at the local gym. What happened next? He had an affair with a woman he met there! So in essence he passed along the "kick to the curb" philosophy to his wife and mother of his children.

Are you mad at him yet? Hold on it gets worse. It turned out he'd been having trouble having relations with his wife but everything was up to snuff for the girlfriend. And she got pregnant! Now Michael had another mouth to feed on the way so he figured he'd better fess up to his wife. She didn't take it well (good girl!) and booted him out. In his book, he rambled on about how sweet and tender the moments with his new baby were and how nice it was to be able to lavish time and attention on him. (I bet his ex wife and kids really enjoyed reading that part). But soon enough the girlfriend dumped him too. Knowing he was married from the day she met him doesn't make her out to be a quality sort of individual; it seemed to me she was looking for a sperm donor.

Enter Starbucks. His whole black-white mentality is completely outdated and he seemed proud of himself for taking a job at a Starbucks where all the baristas were black. (Heavy sigh). The book has a tone of "feel sorry for me and be proud of me for being a loser" all through it. I'm sorry I bought it, and I'm certainly NOT seeing it if it makes its way to the movie theater.

Michael Gill you are a real creep.
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on 20 December 2012
This is the 3rd time I have purchased this book ! Everyone keeps borrowing it , such a great read.
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on 24 March 2008
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. I could not put it down and for me it was a moving story about how someone's life can be changed through difficult circumstances for the best. But also about how someone's perceptions of others can radically change. I loved it and when I pop into Starbucks I always think about the author and how he has a sense of worth in his life now, transformed by the people he met in his work.
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on 14 September 2007
My friend owns this book and we keep it in the bathroom for reading at those special quiet contemplative moments,thank god! Even reading this book in short segments is hard work, but I am of the philosophy that if I have started a book I must finish it! Michael Gills father must be turning in his grave, if the son of a supposed great New Yorker writer can produce such over inflated drivel. I understand this is a story about his personal journey from hard faced advertising exec to lowly but happy barista, but self obsession is never pretty. He moves from rememberances of his childhood and how his father was never there for him, makes the comparison to himself and how he treats his children, then moves on the same page to the rigours of cleaning a bathroom in store and that he could of never imagined himself doing this a jwtbcgxyz advertising agency. This is a formula he repeats on every page, infact a page rarely goes by when he doesn't mention his age or his previous life status. I find him a repative and unlikeable writer who feel the need to recant the same stories and anecdotes every few pages. I imagine if i were to read this book in one long sitting I would end up with repative strain injury!
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VINE VOICEon 21 March 2011
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. He studied at Yale and, upon his graduation, walked straight into a job with a major advertising firm. He worked hard with the firm, doing everything he could for the company and his clients - he earned well, but often allowed his family life to suffer. Naturally, after twenty-five dedicated years with the company, he was fired - to make matters worse, the person doing the firing was one of his own protégés. Gill spent the following ten years working as a consultant, though - in time - less and less work comes his way. As the book opens, Gill hasn't worked in months and he's sitting in a Starbucks near his childhood home, nursing a latte. In a massive stroke of luck, that branch of Starbucks is throwing an open house - meaning they're looking to recruit baristas. Gill is, in time, employed by Crystal - the lady who initially approaches him.

Our fallen hero is delighted with the additional benefits - particularly the health insurance, given that he's just discovered he has a small brain tumour. Furthermore, for a small additional fee, they'll also cover his five children. (Unfortunately, the fifth came was the result of a little extra-curricular activity with Susan, a woman he met after he was fired. Gill was suffering a little, performance-wise, in the marital bed at the time and Susan thoughtfully provided an outlet. The marital bed subsequently became less of a problem after his wife divorced him and got the marital home. That saw our hero moving into a small apartment in Bronxville). With everything looking pretty rotten all round, things amazingly start looking up with Starbucks.

This is a book I thought I would like...but it didn't quite live up to what I'd expected. Based on the back of the book, I'd expected the focus to have been on Gill's journey AFTER he'd started working with Starbucks - and with Crystal playing a large supporting role. That didn't quite happen. He constantly returned to his former life throughout the book - recalling how he used to look down on the less "worthy" and dropping so many names it became increasingly difficult to take him seriously. (WH Auden, EB White, Ernest Hemingway, Andy Warhol, Frank Lloyd Wright, Jackie Kennedy and even the Queen of England are among those who pop up in his stories about "people I've met"). When he DID talk about Starbucks...well, the focus was just wrong. Too often, it was like he'd returned to his former life as an advertising executive : the book seemed like an attempt to "sell" Starbucks as a wonderful place to work and to visit as a customer. He constantly referred to the company's provision of health insurance...what I found very odd was his reluctance to use it. (The guy DID have a brain tumor, after all). The relationship he developed with Crystal - which I'd expected to be central to the book - proved to be relatively minor. (In fact, I felt that Kester - a fellow partner - contributed as much as Crystal). It's a pity he didn't get someone to ghostwrite the book for him : handled properly, it could have been worth reading.
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