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How to Save Your Own Life: 15 Inspiring Lessons Including: Finding Blessings in Disguise, Coping with Life's Greatest Challanges, and Discovering Happiness at Any Age Paperback – Bargain Price, December 28, 2010

3.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"In this poignant follow-up [...] Gill-who still serves coffee at a New York Starbucks-examines what exactly he learned during that year. His 15 truisms on how to savor ordinary moments are simple yet powerful reminders."
-Book Page

"We are all lucky that Starbucks saved Michael Gates Gill's life. It enabled him to return with this beautifully written book filled with wisdom, passion, humor and love."
- Jeffrey Zaslow, author The Girls From Ames, coauthor The Last Lecture

About the Author

The son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, Michael Gates Gill was a creative director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising, where he was employed for over twenty-five years. He lives in New York within walking distance of the Starbucks store where he works, and has no plans to retire from what he calls the best job he’s ever had.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham (December 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592406033
  • ASIN: B005B1IVFE
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,122,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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 desperately looking for work to help support his five children. Then he found a job at Starbucks where he still works as a barista.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a follow-up to Gill's "How Starbucks Saved My Life" which was published in September 2008. Anyone who read and enjoyed that book will probably like this one as well.

Michael Gates Gill was born into privilege and had an abundance of material things as well as doors of opportunity opened for him because of who he was and his family connections. He went to Yale because he was a legacy and his first job was handed to him by a friend from Skull and Bones. He never had to go through a job interview or get things the way "average" folks do. His life was filled with mover and shakers both in New York and Washington D.C. He worked hard at his job and sacrificed his family to get ahead and it all fell apart when he was in his late 50's. He lost his job, lost his family and ended up working at Starbucks since there were no other job opportunities. His story of is fall from "high" places and yet managing to land on his feet and finding out he was much happier after losing everything comprises the story told in "How Starbucks Saved My Life."

This new book takes all the lessons he learned through his life experiences and boils them down to 15 life lessons that he shares with the reader. Some chapters will resonate with some people more than others, based upon where the reader is in his/her life journey. What an opportunity for us to look at someone else's experiences and learn from them without necessarily having to go through the same thing (which is what he talks about in chapter 1). He bares himself and talks about where he made mistakes and where he did things well with an honesty that is refreshing. There is a lot of wisdom in these pages and I enjoyed the book from beginning to end.
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Format: Paperback
Even though I loved How Starbucks Saved My Life and have read it three times, it was hard to make my way through this book. Gill tries to squeeze all he can out of a relatively boring life--these stories seem like the ones edited out of the original manuscript of the first book. There's just not much here, and what is written is repetitive and boring. The fact that he tries to turn every tiny insignificant event in his life into something inspirational makes it even more difficult to read.

Gill doesn't have to convince us that his life changed when he lost his advertising job and ended up working at Starbucks--he already told us that in the first book. But he rehashes much of it here, giving a few more specifics and making himself a bit less saintly than in the original. He then runs out of stories to tell about himself so he uses a chapter on his kids (mostly spoiled elitist types), his dad (a rich guy who spent the family inheritance and gets credit for "saving" Grand Central Station), his mom (a terrible story about her final day alive), his advertising colleagues (why would anyone want to go into advertising after reading Gill's books?) and his friends (more elitists who the author claims are all kind-hearted rich people). There's a whole chapter on the wonderful Barack Obama and how Gill helped his daughter campaign for the president, whose rely-on-government politics seem to conflict with Gill's message of independence and self-empowerment (Gill should have left that chapter out). He even takes a chapter to tell us all about his Starbucks co-workers interests. Seriously. Seriously boring. And on the last three pages of the books he names his coworkers and coffee shop guests!
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Format: Hardcover
How to Save Your Own Life...provocative title, isn't it? Michael Gates Gill isn't indulging in hyperbole - in his latest book, the author of How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else shares insights and valuable life lessons that will help others survive, even thrive, in what might appear to be the worst times of their lives. Gill lost just about everything: his job, his wife, and his health - yet he discovered real happiness within himself. In How to Save Your Own Life: 15 Lessons on Finding Hope in Unexpected Places, Michael Gates Gill shares the lessons he learned and shows how to apply them.

One of the points that really struck me came in Lesson 3: Leap...with Faith. Gill is talking with a Beverly Hills psychiatrist who tells him that one of the biggest problems she sees, counseling young people, is that they have no problems. Gill asks her to explain. She tells him that their parents had to struggle to the top, themselves. But, having survived the "mean streets" and having achieved success, they want to protect their children and shelter them and make sure they never experience such "tough times" themselves. But what they are doing is making their kids afraid of the outside world. Gill realizes that this has been the case for him, all his life - and that had he been thinking, had he not simply taken a leap of faith and accepted a "low status" job offer with Starbucks when the chips were down, he would still be passively unable to cope with his unfamiliar new world.

Michael Gates Gill was a creative director at J.
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