July 5, 2011

book review: How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill

Ahhhhhhh...summer reading...I love it!

Here is a book I happened to bump into at The Book Tree {my local book trade store}.

Perusing the store, I happened to look down...and there, laying flat...not sitting upright and shelved properly...I spied the catchy title of a paperback "How Starbucks Saved My Life". Naturally I was drawn to the book, as I love Starbucks coffee. The book was white and trimmed in kelly green...the traditional Starbucks colors. "Hmmm" I thought.."now what could this be about?"

Picking up the book, I read the back and was instantly hooked! I was already holding a copy of Anne Frank's, Diary of a Young Woman, and was basically on my way out of the store...but making one final round to see if I missed anything. I'm so glad I did make that one final round.

To my pleasant surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was an easy read and the pages just flew by. The book is a true story written by Michael Gates Gill based on the details from his journals at a time when he was down on his luck...cast aside by the younger, up and coming executives of a company he had been so tenaciously loyal to for over 20 years. So loyal in fact, he always put the company and it's interests before his own wife and children...a mistake he realized a little too late.

The book starts at the point where he is fired from his job and has to find his way looking for a new career. He was in his early 50's and all of his experience was in advertising. For a while, he made his way, starting his own consulting firm, but soon found life spiraling out of control. His wife divorced him, business dried up, clients seemed to fade away, no one was calling anymore, money was tight, and even more scarier than that, he recently found out that he had a brain tumor.

Financially and emotionally broke, he found himself sitting in a Starbucks...drinking a latte...in his $2,000 suit, with his expensive leather brief case and his cell phone..still trying to look the part of a successful businessman...when he was suddenly asked a simple question..."would you like a job?" Much to his own surprise he found the word "yes" coming out of his mouth. The woman that asked him the question was a manager of Starbucks. She was conducting interviews that day hoping to find potential employees.

The story goes from there. This man, once a money hungry, pompous, Mr. Powerful Big Shot advertising executive, now had to humble himself...lower himself...and work a real, honest to goodness job! He had completely ran out of options. He was used to being served, and now he was doing the serving. He was used to calling the shots and giving orders, now he would have to do what his boss told him to do...someone 35 years younger than he was! A definite culture shock for him...but soon he becomes aware of what life really means...what's really important.

If you want to find out how this man fairs at his humbling job at Starbucks...at the age of 63...working with people much younger, stronger and quicker than he....and you want to see how a working a good, honest job at $10 an hour changes his life..then pick up a copy of "How Starbucks Changed My Life"...you won't be sorry!

P.S. After reading the book, I recently found out that this story is to become a movie! Tom Hanks is to play the main character of the story. Apparently, he was very interested! I tried to find a release date, but things seem a little unclear as to when it is due to be out. The only thing I can find is that it is "still in development". I hope it all pans out and that we will get to see this on the big screen. I would love to see Tom Hanks play this part! It would be fantastic!