How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else

( 112 )

Overview

Now in paperback, the national bestselling riches-to-rags true story of an advertising executive who had it all, then lost it all—and was finally redeemed by his new job, and his twenty-eight-year-old boss, at Starbucks.

In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.83
BN.com price
(Save 19%)$16.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (143) from $1.99   
  • New (12) from $4.32   
  • Used (131) from $1.99   
How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

Now in paperback, the national bestselling riches-to-rags true story of an advertising executive who had it all, then lost it all—and was finally redeemed by his new job, and his twenty-eight-year-old boss, at Starbucks.

In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water.

But fate brings an unexpected teacher into his life who opens his eyes to what living well really looks like. The two seem to have nothing in common: She is a young African American, the daughter of a drug addict; he is used to being the boss but reports to her now. For the first time in his life he experiences being a member of a minority trying hard to survive in a challenging new job. He learns the value of hard work and humility, as well as what it truly means to respect another person.

Behind the scenes at one of America’s most intriguing businesses, an inspiring friendship is born, a family begins to heal, and, thanks to his unlikely mentor, Michael Gill at last experiences a sense of self-worth and happiness he has never known before.

Watch a QuickTime trailer for this book.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
There is no denying that Michael Gill's Starbucks application was atypical. For 25 years, this 63-year-old Yale alumnus had been a creative director at the prestigious J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. The privileged son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill had grown up amid cultural elites, rubbing elbows with James Thurber, Ezra Pound, and Ernest Hemingway, among others. But now Gill's marriage, his six-figure job, and his own business were gone, and he was seeking a job at the local coffee shop. His account of his apprenticeship in cappuccino making and race relations are instructive and ultimately ennobling.
Publishers Weekly

Baker lends his talent to Gill's memoir, the subject of considerable industry buzz and the basis for a 2008 movie starring Tom Hanks. Baker's enunciation and cadence perfectly match the essence of Gill, a well-bred and erudite-yet down-on-his luck-advertising executive who discovers the true meaning of life while working as a Starbucks barista. Baker also delivers especially evocative performances of Gill's hardworking-but fun-loving-young colleagues Kester and Anthony. His portrayal of store manager and mentor Crystal seems slightly underwhelming given her character's pivotal role in the story. All in all, Baker remains true to the spirit of the material, and his rendition of the workplace banter should ring especially true with service industry veterans. Critics quick to dismiss the project for its high-concept elements will probably remain unmoved, but fans of such popular inspirational/motivational memoirs as Tuesdays with Morrieshould find the experience good to the last drop. Simultaneous release with the Gotham hardcover (Reviews, June 4). (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
The Wall Street Journal
In the best tradition of The New Yorker, How Starbucks Saved My Life is one great read.
The Christian Science Monitor
An intriguing look behind the counter of one of the world's most recognizable brands.
Minneapolis Star Tribune
How Starbucks Saved My Life works as an interesting memoir of one man's transformation. But it could also work as a wake-up call to corporate America.
Kirkus Reviews
When a formerly high-level exec hits rock bottom, he finds salvation behind the counter at Starbucks. Son of famed New Yorker editor Brendan Gill, the author was unceremoniously fired from J. Walter Thompson after 25 years as a creative director. While trying-and ultimately failing-to run his own consulting business, he engaged in a marriage-ending affair that left him broke as well as unemployed. He subsequently found himself drinking a latte at Starbucks during a "Hiring Open House." When a confident 28-year-old African-American woman offered him a job, Gill found himself transformed from a name-dropping, high-society hobnobber into an everyman who had to relate to people from all walks of life. In the fast-paced world of coffee purveyors, the only thing that counted was his ability to do the job and work alongside the other "partners" (Starbucks-speak for employees). At its core, the narrative is an inspirational story about someone who learned late-but not too late-in life that money and status aren't everything. If Gill is to be believed, Starbucks is a magical realm where people of all races, creeds and lifestyles intermingle, a place where customers treat baristas with respect bordering on hero worship. Unfortunately, what little enlightenment his memoir has to offer is swamped by Gill's mawkish tributes to a mega-corporation. Tom Hanks, whose production company has optioned the book, will have a tough time redeeming this nauseating paean. Way too much sugar. Film Rights to Playtone
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781592404049
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/2/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 104,469
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Gates Gill

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.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 112 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(37)

4 Star

(33)

3 Star

(19)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(11)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 112 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 10, 2009

    a life story that reads like a novel

    first of all, i LOVE starbucks, which is what caught my eye about the very starbuck-sy feel of the cover. After reading the first chapter, I was hooked. Gates' writing style is swift and easy to read, but chock-filled with antidotes from what he calls his "past life"--a life of luxury and wealth. His story of his downfall is relatable (it can happen to anyone!) and his story of overcoming his state is both inspirational (i am starting a new endeavor myself so reading about someone else's endeavor was strengthing and enlightening) and encouraging. it is never too late to start anew, he shows us. and his honest and heartfelt story of his own life is definitely a must read! His details and his stumbling in starbucks, to what he learns during it all.. I've recommended this book to everyone--and my brother is hooked!! Great for gifts to recent grads from college (my brother) or someone just starting work (myself). LOVED it!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Nice Read!

    While slow at times, the Writer does a nice job of demonstrating how enriched his life was and how (on a different level), how enriched it becomes. With his flashbacks, annoying at times, he really let's the reader get into his head. Overall I enjoyed this book and would love to work at a Starbucks after reading it ;)

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 12, 2009

    Riches to rags to Starbucks

    I have given many copies of this book to friends and family(they all enjoyed it.) and have reccommended it to many more--including dozens of Starbucks employees. None had read it and few had heard of it. Surprising. Such good publicity for the company.
    I thought this was a wonderful story about a man whose life was in shambles through misfortune and his own stupidity. He then gets a thoroughly unexpected second chance.
    I loved getting an inside view of the operation too.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 30, 2009

    Fast read with lots to think about

    OK, I am a Starbuck's nut. I go to Starbuck's every day I can. It's not just the coffee (double tall, extra foamy latte in the morning and/or grande coffee light frappucino, add a shot of espresso, in the afternoon), it's about the whole experience. A place that feels like mine, getting to know the staff, the whole gestalt. So what I may have enjoyed most about the book is the whole Starbuck's story about training and staffing and how a good manager builds a team and makes her particular store such a go-to venue for her customers. It may also be that I spent many years in the advertising business, like the author/main character, and really get what he's talking about. But it's also a story about life turned upside down and how to survive, even grow, in an entirely new place. I'll admit that I was wary of the story of a high level ad exec falling so far as to have to take a job as a trainee barista at Starbuck's. It didn't seem that the ego of the former could ever accept being the latter. But he convinced me that he really could be happy in this new world and that he was a better person for it. I still wonder how long he will last at it (until after the film is done perhaps?) But I don't doubt at all that he is now and will always be a very different person from the one he used to be. And now when I go to Starbuck's, I look with much more interest at the employees, their behavior and attitudes, and how it all relates to me. The book is in that sense a primer on growing and managing a good customer-driven business. And, for some people, how to accept who you really are and what you really should be doing with your life. It's a fast read, an easy read, and you just may stop and think a bit about what he has to say.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 31, 2014

    Loved it............................................ Michael Gil

    Loved it............................................
    Michael Gill is winner. Not easy starting at the top and working your way down.   But this is a man who adjusted his attitude and made down up.  Kudos to you Mike.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2014

    Great story and great book! A quick and easy read that I didn't

    Great story and great book! A quick and easy read that I didn't want to put down. Very inspiring.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I enjoyed this book about a man born into privilege that ends up

    I enjoyed this book about a man born into privilege that ends up losing almost everything and then goes to work at Starbucks. I always like 'behind-the-scenes' tidbits of places I visit. In fact, last night Allyson and I went to Starbucks and I noticed the "Partner of the Month" sign. Starbucks calls their employees 'Partners', so that was fun. The book was a quick, easy read. The only thing that bugged me was the constant name-dropping, that I could have done without. One thing the author said that I really liked was "I had sought to give me comfort, and which had failed me so miserably when things went wrong....Now, I told myself, with a growing courage, I had found with Starbucks a better reality ... not based on external status symbols but on a real feeling of confidence and support and genuine affection and even admiration for and from the Partners and the Guests." This book is being made into a movie with Tom Hanks, due out in 2012.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 26, 2011

    awesome!

    Enjoyed this book, quick and inspiring!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 17, 2010

    Enjoyable book, not great, just good

    This man, Michael Gates Gill, lost his prestigious, high-paying job and tried to set up his own business. When that eventually failed, he ran out of options and went to work at Starbuck's, primarily because he needed the health benefits. He wound up loving the job. He writes mainly about his experiences working there, but also drops in a lot of tidbits about his former privileged life and the famous people he encountered along the way. He praises Starbucks all throughout the book. However, he offers no insight into the difficulties of making a real living on a Starbuck's salary. Its not a great literary work, just an enjoyable book to read with a cup of coffee on a rainy day.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 11, 2010

    There but for the grace...

    This could happen to anyone; a big game changer at midlife and the loss of most things held dear. I am stunned by Michael Gates Gill's courage in taking on such a seemingly low status job after his big career in advertising; how he relates to his co-workers, especially his manager, and how hard he works to achieve success as a good man Friday at this Starbucks. There are lessons to be learned from this inspiring man and I left the book wishing I could sit down and talk with him more about his experience. Well written, cheerful, insightful; I highly recommend this to lovers of those who survive life's big changes, who appreciate corporations who respect their workers, and a good cup of coffee.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    VERY GOOD!

    I am only 1/3 of the way through this book, but I already really like it. Although written in simple language, that should not undermine the messages and introspection written in this memoir. You will be taken on a very interesting journey through the author's upbringing and recent revelations. Good for discussing in a book club or with fellow New Yorkers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2010

    An Important Lesson While Learning a Lot About Starbucks

    This story is very touching and the message critical to all of us about what is truly important as we live our lives. The saying, "No one ever laid on their deathbed and wished they had spent more time at work" is exemplified in this book.

    Remarkably, the unemployed, out-of-luck ad exec gets blessed and learns his lessons via an offer to work for Starbucks.

    The story is his journey, his training, his memories and his realizations along the way.

    I appreciated the message immensely. And imagining the love that was shared brought tears to my eyes. If only we could ALL have this knowledge without having to fall as he did. What a wonderful community of love and appreciation we would flourish in!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Starbucks

    Well worth taking a look at. Yet again it goes to show we never know where life will bring us.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2010

    A clunker

    I thought his writing style was clunky and plodding; the words just didn't flow. It felt like he had a thesaurus in front of him the entire time he was writing. There's no magic to his writing style, and there's nothing surprising or original about what he learns working at Starbucks. Gee, a 20 year old black woman can teach a 50 year old white male how to follow company policies and procedures?

    This book was good only from keeping me to have absolutely nothing to do on an airplane, but it's not a book I'd read again.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Riches To Rags

    How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live

    Like Everyone Else is a true story of Michael Gates Gill, a then

    successful man at a large company called JWT. He had the gorgeous wife,

    kids, the high paying job and the huge house. Until one day when he heard

    those words, "We have to let you go", that changed his life forever. He

    later finds out that he has a brain tumor and is forced to get a job at

    Starbucks to pay for his medical bills and support his children. Michael

    Gates' story is a true eye-opener to how people can see so closed minded

    until they are actually put into a situation where they are forced to

    open their eyes and wake up. I believe Michael wrote the book to get a

    certain message across to readers; the message that ignorance is not

    bliss. I especially enjoyed How Starbucks Saved My Life because it was

    the true struggles of a man living in New York City and it shows how

    people can truly have that life changing experience, whether it be good

    or bad at times. I was also particularly fond of how Michael wrote the

    book; it was an easy read and flowed nicely. He used great imagery and

    the way it was narrated made for great detail. I truly did not have any

    dislikes with the book. The characters, setting, and writing style were

    all very intriguing. I believe the book was written successfully and I

    think that it is due to the fact that it was non-fiction and came from

    the author's heart and experiences. I have not read, but would recommend

    the book How To Save Your Own Life also by Michael Gates Gill. I usually

    would never recommend a book I have never read, but based on the author

    and how great this book was I trust that it would also be a great read. I

    would easily give this book 4 out of 5 stars and would definitely

    recommend this book to anyone from high school ages to any adult. The

    reasoning for not recommending the book to anyone younger than high

    school would only be because they might not understand the struggle and

    economic issues and why they are so detrimental to Michael's life. How

    Starbucks Saved My Life is a true "riches to rags" story of a man who

    thought he had it all.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2010

    Great read!

    Very inspirational and thought provoking. It would make a great graduation gift for anyone. People of all ages will enjoy, but I would make it required reading for college seniors!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    HONEST & THOUGHT-PROVOKING

    This book was honest and thought-provoking. The author brought you into his story, introduced you to his co-workers and made you feel like you were right there with him, all the way. He showed no self-pity, but only pride in the job he was doing. This book was uplifting and is definitely a must-read during our current economic situation.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Nice Story, a little cheesey, but a good, easy read.

    Good story--- I enjoyed the book. He gets a little repetative with the humility and gratitude, I got the gist after the first several times, then it became trite and larger than life. But overall a nice feel-good book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 16, 2010

    Michael Gates Gill meets the real world.

    This is a surprisingly engaging story. And one that many could benefit from reading for confirmation of self and support for life change. Michael becomes an endearing person as he sorts out his life and his future.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2010

    Inspirational Read

    The book How Starbucks Saved My Life is a memoir that is hard to put down. This is a story of a man named Michael Gates Gill who was a son of privilege. Michael got whatever he wanted and was given many opportunities of success because of where he came from and who is family was. Michael was very successful, but took too many things for granted and when his career at a top advertising firm ended because of his old age, he didn't have anything to fall back on. He became an old man who drove much of his family away and didn't have a job or much money saved up.
    From here, this story becomes a tale of growth and redemption. He is given a chance to start over and tries to make the best of it at Starbucks. Michael is given a job at a Starbucks by fate, and grows at this store by working with different types of people he used to classify and judge, but now realizes are just people like him, no better or worse. He gains a new perspective on life, one that actually makes him happy and benefits him in the end. This book is all about second chances, finding hope, finding happiness, and going towards the future instead of looking at the past. How Starbucks Saved My Life is definitely an encouraging book that everyone should read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 112 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)