Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Gates Gill, Michael "How Starbucks Saved My Life"

Gates Gill, Michael "How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else" - 2007

As a coffee lover, the title looked interesting. I really enjoyed the story of Michael Gates Gill, a highly successful entrepreneur turned looser turned Starbucks employee. Not only does he describe his unusual life, he tells a story of a company. After reading this book, I got the impression that Starbucks must be the best employer in the world. Of course, it is always easy to say anyone can find a job if you have one. And as a European I didn't think those benefits Starbucks offered were all that great, to us they are normal. But the author's life seems very interesting and he has a lot to tell.

From the back cover:

"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.

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