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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of…
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How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like… (2007 original; edició 2008)

de Michael Gates Gill

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
1,0077715,395 (3.28)35
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house, a loving family, and a six-figure salary. By sixty, he had lost everything: downsized at work, divorced at home, and diagnosed with a slow-growing brain tumor, Gill had no money, no insurance, and no prospects. He took a job at Starbucks, and for the first time in his life, he was a minority--the only older white guy working with a team of young African-Americans. He was forced to acknowledge his prejudices and admit that his new job was hard. And his younger coworkers, despite half the education and twice the personal difficulties, were running circles around him. Crossing over the Starbucks bar was the beginning of a transformation that cracked his world wide open. When all of his defenses and the armor of entitlement had been stripped away, a humbler, happier and gentler man remained.--From publisher description.… (més)
Membre:akronbeck
Títol:How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else
Autors:Michael Gates Gill
Informació:Gotham (2008), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 272 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

Detalls de l'obra

How Starbucks Saved My Life de Michael Gates Gill (2007)

  1. 20
    Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously de Julie Powell (lornay)
  2. 10
    Eat, Pray, Love de Elizabeth Gilbert (lornay)
    lornay: both of them are about privileged people whose lives went down the tubes and were able to pull themselves up again.
  3. 00
    It's Not About the Coffee: Leadership Principles from a Life at Starbucks de Howard Behar (Ronoc)
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[This was also published at my website, the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography.]

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 strings for him) by having an affair behind his wife's back, accidentally getting his mistress pregnant, then determining that he's going to "do right" by the child, despite having a 100-percent track record of fucking up the relationships with the three existing grown children he already has, and oh yes, not actually having any health insurance and being essentially homeless.

That's a lot to swallow in the first 20 pages of a supposed feel-good memoir; and to his credit, writing veteran Gill (son of famed New Yorker writer Brendan Gill) pulls it off, basically by being ceaselessly harsh and unusually clear-eyed about his "pre-barista" life as a neolib one-percenter, the same kind of brutal honesty that inspired him to take a coffee-slinging job at the age of 64 at a Starbucks near Harlem where he was the only white employee (after accidentally attending a hiring fair by the company at one of their Manhattan stores without realizing it, having a young manager ask him as a joke, "I don't suppose you're looking for a job, are you?" and he after a moment admitting with candor, "Actually, I am").

It's what tips this book over into minimal readability, his zeal to not cut himself any breaks for his entitled childhood, his handshake-based former career, and the cavalier way he used to treat everyone in life who wasn't a senior corporate executive like him, best seen in his observations about how he himself immediately became invisible to his former co-workers, literally on the sidewalk sometimes when they would walk by him, the moment he put on a polo shirt and a green apron. Unfortunately, though, that still leaves the book with plenty of problems, among the more major being that he sometimes devotes entire chapters to nothing but a detailed, log-like, minute-by-minute breakdown of what a typical day at Starbucks is actually like for an employee, which is the literary equivalent of watching paint dry and had me skipping over huge portions of the manuscript out of pure tedium. (Also, Gill's infinitely upbeat enthusiasm for the empty StarbucksSpeak handed down from faceless marketing employees at the corporate headquarters ["Partners!" "Guests!" "Venti!"] was enough to make me want to claw out my own eyeballs by about two-thirds of the way through.)

It all adds up to an admittedly interesting but still trouble-filled book, one you have to sort of force yourself to like despite the circumstances surrounding the true story, not because of them; and a tale that gets interrupted every time it starts getting good by another reminder of just what a inherent good ol' boy in a good ol' boy network Gill is in, despite him taking a slave-wage job in the service industry. (If you're anything like me, you'll throw your hands in the air in bitter frustration when learning on the last page that Gill managed to get this book optioned to Hollywood for a million dollars, precisely because of all his personal friends from his ad-agency days, and that it currently has Tom Hanks and Gun Van Sant attached to it.) An insightful book but not nearly as insightful as I had hoped it would be, your own mileage with it will profoundly vary based on who you are, your own age and race, and how much tolerance you have for SVP assholes who shrug their shoulders after a disaster and say, "Sowwwwy!" ( )
  jasonpettus | Aug 8, 2017 |
NYC Starbucks — server — 60+ son of privilege out in street
Pg 232 not waving / drowning
P 236 growing older requires better sense of honor
SB's unique place not home / or work — just relax get away from it all
P. 281 Shattering reality how unhappy I really was — his father depression — New Englander optimistic denial*
P 284 mindful constant effort of will to keep from downing had to fight current each day
P. 321 — Despite everything stupidly done / left undone — my children decent — willing to forgive me
Pg 327 — few friends understand him / a work to do that has real value / mind unafraid to travel + an understanding heart

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 slow-growing brain tumor, prognosis undetermined. Around the same time, his girlfriend gave birth to a son. Gill had no money, no health insurance, and no prospects.

One day as Gill sat in a Manhattan Starbucks with his last affordable luxury—a latté—brooding about his misfortune and quickly dwindling list of options, a 28-year-old Starbucks manager named Crystal Thompson approached him, half joking, to offer him a job. With nothing to lose, he took it, and went from drinking coffee in a Brooks Brothers suit to serving it in a green uniform.
  christinejoseph | Jul 11, 2017 |
Michael Gates Gill, who came from a very wealthy, privileged family learns to be glad for what he has when he is fired from his high paid job and comes to work at Starbucks. He sees the goodness in hard work, people and providing a service. ( )
  dara85 | Feb 16, 2017 |
Listened on audio Dylan Baker - Good
One of Leslie's favorites ( )
  Indygirl | Aug 5, 2016 |
I enjoyed reading Michael's journey from his high paying corporate job, to his job as a Starbucks employee. I understand that Michael had a life of privilege but at times I felt it was shoved in our face. Ok, we get, it; you met famous people, you had a great home...now get on with the story about your journey from corporate world to Starbucks. It was great to read how he realized what a horrible person he was when he was in his previous position. It took the "Partners" at Starbucks to show him how to really treat people. I have a lot of respect for Starbucks as a company after reading this book and finding out their business approach. I would like to work for a company that treats its employees as well. This is a quick and inspiring read. ( )
  bnbookgirl | May 21, 2016 |
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To my children, with gratitude for their understanding hearts
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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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Starbucks was not 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 several times a day!
The best Fortune 500 companies I had encountered, despite months and lots of money writing and publishing high-sounding mission statements, never practiced the corporate gobbledegook they preached.
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In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house, a loving family, and a six-figure salary. By sixty, he had lost everything: downsized at work, divorced at home, and diagnosed with a slow-growing brain tumor, Gill had no money, no insurance, and no prospects. He took a job at Starbucks, and for the first time in his life, he was a minority--the only older white guy working with a team of young African-Americans. He was forced to acknowledge his prejudices and admit that his new job was hard. And his younger coworkers, despite half the education and twice the personal difficulties, were running circles around him. Crossing over the Starbucks bar was the beginning of a transformation that cracked his world wide open. When all of his defenses and the armor of entitlement had been stripped away, a humbler, happier and gentler man remained.--From publisher description.

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