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How Starbucks Saved My Life
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The riches-to-rags story of a man who had it all, then lost it all, and found it again at Starbucks.

About the Author

The son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, Michael Gates Gill was a creative director at J.Walter Thompson Adverstising, where he was employed for over twenty-five years. He lives in New York within walking distance from the Starbucks store where he works, and has no plans to retire from what he calls the best job he's ever had.

Reviews

Gill, son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill, explains how he was born into privilege, was "downsized" out of his high-powered advertising career, divorced by his wife after the woman with whom he was having an affair became pregnant, and learned that he had a slow-growing brain tumor-all of which ultimately led him to an entry-level job at Starbucks at the age of 64. And that's just the first chapter. Gill's inspirational memoir is a look back on his first year at Starbucks, learning the ropes as a barista. In each chapter, he faces a new challenge, from cleaning up to balancing the register to hosting coffee tastings. The resulting book is a somewhat simplistic but intensely readable tribute to the power of redemption through work, with Gill richly detailing his relationships with his manager, his colleagues, and Starbucks "guests." While telling his life story, he also hits all the appropriate business world notes, riffing on diversity, acceptance, and respect, and even manages to instill a desire for a cup of coffee in his reader. Recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 5/1/07.]-Sarah Statz Cords, Madison P.L., WI Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

The son of New Yorker writer Brendan Gill grew up meeting the likes of Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. A Yale education led to a job at prestigious J. Walter Thompson Advertising. But at 63, the younger Gill's sweet life has gone sour. Long fired from JWT, his own business is collapsing and an ill-advised affair has resulted in a new son and a divorce. At this low point, and in need of health insurance for a just diagnosed brain tumor, Gill fills out an application for Starbucks and is assigned to the store on 93rd and Broadway in New York City, staffed primarily by African-Americans. Working as a barista, Gill, who is white, gets an education in race relations and the life of a working class Joe . Gill certainly has a story to tell, but his narrative is flooded with saccharine flashbacks, when it could have detailed how his very different, much younger colleagues, especially his endearing 28-year-old manager, Crystal Thompson, came to accept him. The book reads too much like an employee handbook, as Gill details his duties or explains how the company chooses its coffee. Gill's devotion to the superchain has obviously changed his life for the better, but that same devotion makes for a repetitive, unsatisfying read. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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