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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

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  9,906 ratings  ·  1,751 reviews
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house in the suburbs, a loving family, and a top job at an ad agency with a six-figure salary. By the time he turned sixty, he had lost everything except his Ivy League education and his sense of entitlement. First, he was downsized at work. Next, an affair ended his twenty-year marriage. Then, he was diagnosed with a sl ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published September 20th 2007 by Gotham (first published January 1st 2007)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
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 ·  9,906 ratings  ·  1,751 reviews

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Aug 18, 2008 rated it did not like it
Author Michael Gates Gill was handed a cushy job as an executive at a major advertising agency, but he had sacrificed a lot of time with his family and opportunities for personal development to get where was. Eventually Gill is unceremoniously fired from that job for being too old and too expensive, and soon after THAT he has an affair that leaves him with a broken marriage and a new son. Gill is edging ever closer to being financially destitute when a 28-year old African American woman managing ...more
Sep 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
i wish there were a Goodreads shelf for "read a little bit, threw up in my mouth, and returned the book to the library as quickly as humanly possible because i felt dirty with it in my hands".

DO NOT read this book (or attempt to listen to it on CD, as i did). the NYTimes does a way better review than i ever could, so go here or just read this snippet from the review and back away from the book quickly:

"From there the book lapses into a four-step: Gill st
Daniel Clausen
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-of-2018
There is a line toward the end of the book -- "I feel like the older you get, the more you cry."

Oh, how true. I feel more sentimental. I find that, like the author of the book, I tend to dwell on the past. This book found me at the right time in my life -- on the brink of another life change, feeling adrift as Mike did. Perhaps it's for that reason that I found myself steamrolling through this book. I bought it on Friday, used for about three dollars, on a whim. By Sunday, I was finished.

Jan 07, 2009 rated it did not like it
I forced myself to finish this. It was predictable, slow and painfully drawn-out. The entire book is basically this man talking about coffee and making coffee and how he has trouble making coffee and why he likes making coffee. He talks about how he used to work at an ad agency and what he learned at the ad agency and how it's different from making coffee and how he loves making coffee but he has trouble making coffee and he was good at working at an ad agency and how it's different from making ...more
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I was impressed with the depth of introspection that Mr Gill explored. While reading this book, I was reminded of another book I recently read- Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich. The books were similar and yet so very different. Ms Ehrenreich conducted a sort of social experiment in which she took on low-wage jobs to see how people manage to make ends meet on minimum wage. Mr Gill took on a job at Starbucks after he lost everyt ...more
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of starbucks, mitch albom and happy endings
someone left this on my plane trip to sydney and i picked it up. its so refreshing after reading that piece of crap eat pray love. im anti-starbucks (sorry jessica!) but i do have to say that this was a great book and it made me a little less anti starbucks. its a great story about an older gentleman who loses his successful job in advertising (his own mentor fired him) and finds himself at a starbucks one day where they happen to be conducting an open house. hes mistaken for a job applicant and ...more
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was ok
Oh my, this book went on and on. The parts I liked: Michael Gates Gill trying to fit in with his new life. What I didn't: everything else. Basically, the flaws are these: Gill repeats himself ad nauseum, as if I can't remember the role that a barista plays in a Starbucks. Each chapter involves a recap where he re-explains how to weigh the cash, or that he has to pour coffee and take money. Ugh. I found the repeated explanations kind of insulting, to tell the truth. Also, the entire thing reads l ...more
Jason Pettus
So let's make no mistake, the only reason Michael Gill's 2007 memoir How Starbucks Saved My Life is even readable in the first place at all is that he is so relentlessly hard on himself throughout; the very definition of a white upper-class corporate-executive douchebag, he plainly admits here that he was essentially a human monster for reacting to getting laid off in his fifties from his cushy ad-agency job (one he got in the early '60s literally because drinking buddies at Yale pulled some str ...more
Rob Slaven
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
I read this book because I was having one of THOSE Saturday mornings. Have you ever had one of those mornings when you just need something… something to read and since your wife is one of those really wonderfully bookish people you happen to have just stacks and stacks of books handy and can pick something rather randomly and sit down to read it? It’s rather like living in a library staffed by an impossibly sweet and wonderful person who you also happen to get to sleep next to. At any rate, I di ...more
Apr 25, 2013 rated it did not like it
The author of this book is trying to sell us the story of how his life was changed as he became a "regular" guy just getting by while working at Starbucks. This might be easier to believe if he wasn't constantly throwing in stories of how he once rubbed elbows with Queen Elizabeth, or ran with the bulls in Spain because Ernest Hemingway told him he should, or that one time he met Frank Sinatra, blah, blah, blah.
Apr 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover is simply awesome.

A journey of a man from riches to rags but gaining something much more meaningful along the way.

"Work is dignity." The best line I read today.
Mar 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: memoir
I listened to the audiobook version at work, which may have tainted my listening a bit. The strangely melancholic piano music didn't help things. I found it interesting that the writer is from and lives in Bronxville, and even ends up working at the Bronxville Starbucks (which, yeah, I've been to), but I didn't believe in him and the story he was telling. His constant apologizing for how horrible he'd been to his children and his unthinking endorsement of all things Starbucks ... none of that se ...more
Jul 25, 2009 rated it did not like it
This is the WORST freaking book I have EVER read. Grade: shit minus. I cannot emphasize this enough. OMG, I would rather drive nails into my feet than to have to read this. In fairness, I listened to this on CD, so perhaps my perspective would change had I read the text. Unfortunately, this was what I grabbed from the library for a road trip in an area with nearly no radio stations (I don't have Sirius, which is greatly unfortunate), so I plodded on. Want to increase your likelihood to engage in ...more
I liked this book in a lot of ways because I am a fan of Starbucks. My own experiences with Starbucks coincide with what the author tells us. When my son passed away in 2004 I struggled to control my depression. I was often in Starbucks, drinking coffee and crying. I was given extra free shots of espresso and even free cups of coffee as the staff tried to do what they could to ease my pain. When traveling with my special needs son, who has to eat on a schedule and a special diet, we have always ...more
Syed Fathi
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
There were a lot of negative rating & review for this book. If I trust all the review, I might not read the book and judge it for myself. Luckily this book appear at pantry's office, whenever I pass that small book shelve I was attracted to the book.

The book was fair to me, if not amazing. Many of what Mike wrote ring a bell to me. On how he felt towards his children. On still working in your sixties. On how to feel good about your work, even if you was just cleaning a toilet. On how to continue
Dec 31, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of the 'bucks
The premise of this memoir is that a 64 year old former exec. is fired from his lucrative job in advertising only to find himself working at a Starbucks store. As you may have gathered by the title, the author actually found that his job schlepping coffee was more rewarding (though not more lucrative) than his former life of privilege. I enjoyed this book, but the flaws lie largely in the fact that the author is not a writer--nor, apparently was he very aware of the world around him. When he tal ...more
Sep 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dull
I liked the Idea of this book about Mike who had just lost his corporate job and starts at the bottom again in starbucks, but all I could think about while reading this book was WoW what major advertising for Starbucks, the whole book seemed a little contrived for me and not a great read.

Apr 09, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Starbucks employees... I mean "Partners"
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Al
Apr 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 52-books-2011
i admit that i have decided to read this book because of my desperate need for a job that adds a value to my life, So i read it to get some inspirations and motivations. Frankly, I hate Starbucks, i rarely go there and if i did i only order a frappuccino with extra caramel, plus, i don't drink coffee. As i go through Michael or Mike "as his partners at Starbucks call him" life, i can feel his desperate need for a job after he had been fired. He is so optimistic, determined, tolerant, and kind pe ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it liked it
I'll rate this a 3 for the content, but only a 2 for the writing. Gill has a bad habit of jumping around, especially when he's name dropping..."That reminded me of Ali" "that reminded me when I bumped the Queen's arm to get to a cucumber sandwich" "My daughter is making a film with 50 cent, not that I know who that is"...and then when he gets back to the real story, you forget what the point is.

He'll also foreshadow some things, but in reality tell you everything...then when he gets to telling
Jennifer Ciotta
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Gill does many things very well in this memoir; one in particular is his brutal honesty with himself. He admits his past downfalls and how arrogant he was as a powerful executive in the NYC advertising industry. He worked at a top firm for 25 years, abandoning his wife and children for his job, and in the end, all his career dedication led to zilch, and eventually to his financial downfall. A reluctant manager offers Gill a job at Starbucks, and his new work takes him by surprise. He learns life ...more
Jun 16, 2009 rated it it was ok
This book was really not very impressive. The author had an annoying tendency to wonder--like he would be talking about a meeting with his boss and then go off on a tangent about meeting Hemingway and then try to go back to meeting with his boss. If this is really how he thinks/acts on a daily basis I don't know how he gets anything done.

But more then that, I really was not that impressed with the story. Was his change that much different from anyone else who changes jobs? I don't think so. If S
Shuhada Ramli
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating : 4 stars

Review : It's so great to be reading the book just at the right time when I needed a motivation the most. It keeps on bringing me to my past experiences and to where I am now. Learning to accept the flaw, enjoy the present and do best to make life more meaningful. I like the way Mike keep on dwelling his past and synchronize it with the current situation.

I feel like walking through Tuesdays with Morrie and For One More Day, both were written by Mitch Albom. Deep inside me, know
paulA neves
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommended to paulA by: Karen
While I appreciate the 'better late than never' spiritual awakening at the core of this memoir, it's also got to be the biggest product placement ad I've come across in a long while (case in point: I don't even frequent Starbucks and it made me crave a Mochachino). While feelgood tales will always abound of white folks, and white men specifically, realizing the lifelong racist, sexist, ageist, etc. attitudes that come with power and privilege, and, as in Michael Gates Gill's case, realizing that ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it liked it
“Starbucks wasn't something people decided for or against in a casual way. It was obviously a key part of their lives, an important destination for them every single day. Maybe even several times a day!”

This was an interesting little book, reminding me how much identity some of us find in a job and making money and provide for themselves and their family. But I think the dating of the book shows through as it's missing a lot of key pieces to Starbuck's world as we know it. Starbucks still has a
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actual Rateing: 4.5 stars

Why are so many people hating on this book!? The story was a great pick me up and just made my white chick self love coffee and Starbucks even more. How he told the story through fash backs gave me a deeper understanding of his character and a more satisfying trancefromation. I have said it before and I will say it again I love it when a charater, or in this case a person, gose through a major character development. I such a little book, Mike went form a ditter, brocke s
Cheryl Pashlin
Apr 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
Most enjoyable.........almost wants to make you work at Starbucks. I found this book takes a lot of courage to go from a high powered executive job to a coffee barrista and then to realize how much happier you really are.
May 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Engaging narrative of comedown from being an advertising executive to Starbucks counterman; how he learned to love common folk and how they learned to love him.
Blake Nelson
Aug 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was going to be on a level of TUESDAY WITH MORRIE'S. And it was! But I enjoyed the bits of his family history and his famous father Brendan Gill.
Dec 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle
I enjoyed this book and read it in two days so I’m giving it three stars. It was an easy read. I enjoyed his work at Starbucks the best. His descriptions of his previous wealthy life were interesting as counterpoints to where he ended up but his name-dropping became a bit tedious. I admired his willingness to honestly examine his life and his mistakes.
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