Friday, November 15, 2013

How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill

How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill

Michael Gates Gill had it all: a great job as a director of an ad agency, four kids, a nice house, and a wife. Then his life started to fall apart. He was laid off from his job because he was too old, he had an affair and another child and got divorced where he lost his house too, and he developed a tumor at the base of his brain that impeded his hearing. After 10 years of being a consultant and consistently losing clients, 60-something year old Gill is in a Starbucks when a young lady comes up to him and asks him if he would like a job. On a whim, Gill says yes and starts a new journey in his life working at Starbucks.

Gill learns a bunch of lessons while working at Starbucks that he never learned in his previous life as a director and learns to accept his job and eventually love it. He realizes that he didn't spend enough time with his kids or really live in the moment at all in his younger years.

This book was endearing at times, although some of the lessons that Gill had to learn would be common sense for most of us. While overall, I did enjoy this because it was rather cute (written by an elderly man it's kind of funny to say that!), there were a few issues that bothered me. First, Gill mentioned his tumor a few times but there was no resolution on this by the end of the novel. And second, at times the book felt like a big advertisement for Starbucks. Are "Partners" supposed to make conversation with guests while they order and pay for their coffee? This rarely happens to me.

The other rather ironic thing here is that Gill speaks about how he is satisfied with his life now as a barista, and yet he goes and writes this book, which I sure gave him a pretty penny!

First Line: "This is the true, surprising story of an old white man who was kicked out of the top of the American Establishment, by chance met a young African-American woman from a completely different background, and came to learn what is important in life."


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