Thursday, December 12, 2013

Flashback Friday Review: How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill

Flashback Fridays is a weekly meme that was created by The Autumn Review. You have to have read the book at least one year ago. You can spotlight, review or re-review your selection. If you'd like to participate, please leave your link at The Autumn Review! For Flashback Fridays I'm doing mini reviews on books I read before I started blogging.

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

Way before I was ever on goodreads I found most of my books by just browsing the shelves at a bookstore and one day this book just popped out at me. I don't read many autobiographies or non-fiction but this story sounded interesting and inspiring. The title really grabbed me and I just had to know how Starbucks saved his life.

Michael Gates Gill used to have it all but now he is divorced, unemployed, and in need of brain surgery. He is out there and desperate for a job with health benefits. He goes to an interview for Starbucks and finds out the job will take him hours on the subway to get to it but he needs it desperately. Michael used to be in advertising and working at Starbucks at his age is very difficult. He isn't used to being a cashier and having to do so much physical work at his age. 

Starbucks does not sound like a fun job to me! LOL I have friends who have worked there and they say it is very hectic and stressful so I can understand someone who isn't used that type of job having a difficult time. Michael tells some amazing stories of his life and travels and all the things he has done and the amazing people he has met. If I were him I would be really depressed about how far he has fallen but he gives it his all to improve. He ends up actually loving his work and appreciating it. I found the story very inspiring and enjoyable. At the end he says that people still come into his Starbucks in New York and ask for his autograph.

"Isn't it amazing in life how one minute you are devastated by some news, but then, a few seconds later, your desperate need to survive at any price kicks in and you can find some way to turn it around in your head?" 

"I had originally thought that a job at Starbucks might be below my abilities. But now I realized it might be beyond them. This job could be a real challenge for me - mentally, emotionally, and physically."

"Crystal and Starbucks had saved my life. Saved me from my pursuit of empty symbols, but also my anxiety about a fear-filled superficial life that hadn't been, in the end, helpful or even enjoyable for me" 

Rating: 5/5


  1. What a fun idea for a meme and the really great thing is that I don't remember seeing this one so it is all new to me LOL!

    Have a great weekend Jennifer!

  2. This sounds really good! Believe it of not, I ised to read tons of autobiographies. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Sounds like he went on a life changing journey. I guess it makes you appreciate all the good you have in your life. A

  4. Awesome! I've never heard of this. Thanks for participating!


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