How Starbucks Saved My Life

  • by Michael Gates Gill
  • Narrated by Dylan Baker
  • 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In his 50s, 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 60, 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 20-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 latte, 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.
For the first time in his life, Gill was a minority: the only older white guy working with a team of young African-Americans. He was forced to acknowledge his ingrained prejudices and admit to himself that, far from being beneath him, his new job was hard. And his younger coworkers, despite having half the education and twice the personal difficulties he'd ever faced, were running circles around him.
The backdrop to Gill's story is a nearly universal cultural phenomenon: the Starbucks experience. In How Starbucks Saved My Life, we step behind the counter of one of the world's best-known companies and discover how it all really works, who the baristas are and what they love (and hate) about their jobs. Inside Starbucks, as Crystal and Mike's friendship grows, we see what wonders can happen when we reach out across race, class, and age divisions to help a fellow human being.


What the Critics Say

"A great lesson in finding your highest self in the unlikeliest of places, proof positive that there is no way to happiness: rather, happiness is the way." (Wayne Dyer)
"I like my Starbucks, but I loved this book. It hit me emotionally and intellectually, right in the gut. The message, what the world needs to embrace most, made my cup runneth over!" (Dr. Denis Waitley)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Heart warming and thought provoking, loved it.

Heart warming and thought provoking. Highly recommend listening to this book especially it you are caught up in big corporate world of dog eat dog. It could change your life
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- Ross

Really Excellent Book

I love starbucks. I'm a coffee fiend....and I also love a great feel good true story. I was dubious about this book but found the title intriguing. How could Starbucks save someone's life? Well I found out. This book is well written. The narrator does a great job of making you believe that he's really working in the store or at the train station or in a scary meeting. You get a great insight into the workings of behind the scenes at your local coffee shop. What this book showed me was how much of a snob we all are when it comes to working in service industries or when it comes to working for "the man" - giving into commercialism more than by just buying a coffee. The truth is we are all snobs, and most people can't afford to be. The author learns this the hard way but changes his life for the better in the end. I will definitely listen to this again soon!
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- Therese

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-08-2007
  • Publisher: Penguin Audio