Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else Paperback – September 2, 2008
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Gill tells his story well and doesn't hold back on the self-deprecation, not at all. His divorce came about for the understandable reason that he met a single, 40ish woman into the arts who lived alone. Mysterious enough for you? So, intrigued and feeling emotionally unmoored with no job, he has an affair and fathers a child. His family is understandably devastated, and the scenes in this memoir of them are wrenching.
Thrown out of the house, with no job, his money runs out and he must learn to be middle class from nearly scratch. He decides Starbucks would work when he reflects how he spends times there and when the local manager and him have one of those conversations blacks and whites have that sound mistrustful but are actually seeking closeness and racial harmony.
From there, Gill confronts all the things that he'd never learned to do; like the simple self-satisfaction of work, independent living, how to handle solitude, and getting to know people unlike himself. Time and again, Gill points out how his pre-fall opinion of someone and how wrong he was, and his post-fall new, more mature appreciation of them.Read more ›
I got the feeling Gill wrote his memoir and then plugged Starbucks in as it fit. About 20% of the book happens at Starbucks. The rest is devoted to lambasting the advertising industry (they fired Gill), to family and personal tales (often about how clever Gill was as an advertising account manager), and to dozens of dropped names (e.g., tea with Queen Elizabeth, coffee klatch with Robert Frost, assisting Jackie Kennedy in a charitable endeavor, etc.)
The book is about life changes for Gill, but often his epiphanies are over the top. For instance, only after he loses his job, is divorced twice, goes broke and starts work as a Barista does he discover that subways are crowded, that a black woman can run a successful business, that advertising is different from retail, and that a workaholic doesn't spend enough time with his children.
His Starbucks experiences are also over the top. He cherry picks the good stuff, and leaves the impression he is designing an advertising campaign for Starbucks. Gill proclaims that Starbucks "taught" him the value of teamwork, respect for others, the value of hard labor, and how rewarding the simple life can be. Conveniently, the book is a perfect personal size that will fit cozily in a Starbucks product display.
Having worked at Starbucks for several years, I know that the good things Gill experienced resulted less because of Starbucks and more because of the special people he chanced to work with. When I worked with great people, the experience was good; when my partners were un-great the experience could be awful.Read more ›
As you'll read in more detail in other reviews here, Gill claims to have stepped "down" from his Yale and top-ad-exec background, to don a Starbucks apron, serving coffee and cleaning sinks and toilets. Could this have really happened? Could a sane man really be happy with such a swaperoo of lifestyles? I think so.
With my experience as an academic researcher, I've taken the time to check out Gill's background and general credibility. Why would I do that? Because this book's less-is-more message, and manual-work-is honorable message, are so important for our times. Many of the negative Amazon reviews here are cynical about Gill's alleged motives, snide about his professed new attitude toward African Americans with menial jobs, and dubious about his claimed contentment with manual labor following his ivy-league career.
But my somewhat similar experiences tell me that Gill's claims ring true. I've lived and taught in New York and know the neighborhoods he describes. I've researched his executive background, read Joyce Wadler's NY Times article with photos of the Bronxville mansion, etc. Is his professed happiness with far less money and prestige credible? I think so. First, everything about him consistently checks out. And then there's my own analogous experience. After my Ph.D. done at Stanford, Yale and Georgetown, my teaching at the US Naval Academy, etc.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good condition and matched what description said. Fast shipping. Thanks!Published 6 hours ago by Amazon Customer
Poorly written...both content and writing style. I was surprised given the fact that he was some advertising executive. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Debra de Roos
It teaches one some of the really important lessons life has to offer & once again we see that with brokenness comes the true blessings! Read morePublished 1 month ago by David Boege
This was such an uplifting and inspiring story. Great insight. A great reminder to stop and notice the world around you and engage.Published 1 month ago by Jane Thorne
The book, "How Starbucks Saved My Life " is the only one I have read. The others were gifts for other people.Published 2 months ago by countrycitigrl
I was inspired by this book. Perhaps he harps a bit much on his posh, posh background. But we all stumble in life and to be humble enough to work in a Starbucks after a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Fiona