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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else
 
 
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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]

Michael Gates Gill
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (353 customer reviews)


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill grew up meeting the likes of Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. A Yale education led to a job at prestigious J. Walter Thompson Advertising. But at 63, the younger Gill's sweet life has gone sour. Long fired from JWT, his own business is collapsing and an ill-advised affair has resulted in a new son and a divorce. At this low point, and in need of health insurance for a just diagnosed brain tumor, Gill fills out an application for Starbucks and is assigned to the store on 93rd and Broadway in New York City, staffed primarily by African-Americans. Working as a barista, Gill, who is white, gets an education in race relations and the life of a working class Joe . Gill certainly has a story to tell, but his narrative is flooded with saccharine flashbacks, when it could have detailed how his very different, much younger colleagues, especially his endearing 28-year-old manager, Crystal Thompson, came to accept him. The book reads too much like an employee handbook, as Gill details his duties or explains how the company chooses its coffee. Gill's devotion to the superchain has obviously changed his life for the better, but that same devotion makes for a repetitive, unsatisfying read. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Yale graduate, prosperous ad exec: Gill has it all. Then he turns 60 and finds himself precipitously bounced from his job and saddled with the triple threats of a ruined marriage, an unexpected newborn, and a brain tumor. Despairing at the prospect of looming poverty, he stops at a Manhattan Starbucks to comfort himself with a latte. By chance he sits down next to Crystal, a young African American woman recruiting new workers for the coffee giant, and she offers him a job. Almost as an act of desperation, he accepts, and he dons the uniform of a barista-in-training at an Upper West Side Starbucks. This son of privilege who had hobnobbed with Queen Elizabeth, T. S. Eliot, and Jackie Onassis, now keeps daily company with a diverse crew of brash young New Yorkers for whom Starbucks' progressive employee benefits and demanding, inspiring standards of public service offer hope. Gill starts at the bottom, cleaning the bathroom, and he has trouble mastering the cash register. Over the months he learns to deeply respect Crystal, to appreciate the mutual support of his coworkers, and to genuinely cherish the passing parade of customers, each unique. To his own astonishment, he realizes that he actually looks forward joyfully to every hectic, exhausting workday. Other corporate giants can only envy the sheer goodwill that this memoir will inevitably generate for Starbucks. What a read. Knoblauch, Mark

Review

How Starbucks Saved My Life is based on the simple idea that down-to-earth, humbling labor can help you re-orient your values and priorities and give you new life. It will speak to anyone in need of radical surgery on their worldview, and that includes most of us. Sit down with a cup of coffee and this book and entertain yourself toward enlightenment. -- Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, Dark Nights of the Soul, and The Worth of Our Work

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

I like my Starbucks, but I loved this book. It hit me emotionally and intellectually, right in the gut. The message, what the world needs to embrace most, made my cup runneth over! -- Dr. Denis Waitley, author of The Seeds of Greatness

"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, author of Inspiration: Your Ultimate Calling

"I like my Starbucks, but I loved this book. It hit me emotionally and intellectually, right in the gut. The message, what the world needs to embrace most, made my cup runneth over!”
—Dr. Denis Waitley, author of The Seeds of Greatness

"How Starbucks Saved My Life is based on the simple idea that down-to-earth, humbling labor can help you re-orient your values and priorities and give you new life. It will speak to anyone in need of radical surgery on their worldview, and that includes most of us. Sit down with a cup of coffee and this book and entertain yourself toward enlightenment."
—Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, Dark Nights of the Soul, and The Worth of Our Work

About the Author

Michael Gates Gill is the son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill and he was a creative director at J. Walter Thompson Advertising where he was employed for over 25 years. He currently 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.

From AudioFile

Michael Gates Gills story of being pushed out of an alpha male job and forced to work in a service job is both entertaining and compelling. Gills insecurities, class consciousness, and poor relationship with his self-absorbed father compounded his fall from high-flying marketing executive to retail grunt who found himself serving coffee to the kind of person he used to be. Most poignantly, his Starbucks job led to important life lessons through his experiences with African-Americans and others whom he says he looked down on in his previous career. With his pleasing elocution, sensitivity to nuances in dialogue, and obvious appreciation for the authors experiences, Dylan Baker carries the weight of this story without being heavy-handed with its morality lesson. T.W. © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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