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  • Book Title: How Starbucks Saved My Life
  • Name Of Author: Michael Gates Gill
  • Genre: Memoir, Biography, Autobiography
  • Date Of Publish: 2007
  • Pages: 267
  • Language: English
Book Review:


how starbucks saved my life son of privilege learns to live like everyone else by Michael gates Gill chapter one from drinking lattes to serving them 

up the humble improve a quote from Wynton merciless jazz musician published on the side of a cup of a Starbucks double tall skim latte 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 he was born into privilege on the affluent Upper East Side of Manhattan she into poverty in the projects 

in Brooklyn he once had a high-powered advertising job and now had nothing she came from the streets and now succeeded so much so that she was able to offer a stranger a chance to save himself this is my story and like all surprising stories it starts with an accident March 

I should not have been anywhere near the location of that transforming experience but on that particular rainy day in March of last year I could not resist the urge to go back in time have you ever wanted when life is too hard to bear to return to the comfort of your childhood home 

I had been the only son of adoring if often absent parents and now I wanted to recapture some sense of the favorite place I had once occupied in the universe I found myself back on East 78th Street staring across at the four-story brownstone where I had grown up I had a sudden image of a crane 

hoisting a Steinway grand piano into the second floor living room my mother had decided I should learn to play the piano and my father had thrown himself into the project nothing was too good for his only son and he had rushed out and bought the biggest most expensive model after 

the purchase of the huge Steinway the problem became how to get this magnificent instrument into our home a hundred-year-old house with narrow steep stairs my father had been up to the challenge he hired a crane and then had the men raise it up to the second floor 

where by opening the French windows and turning the piano on its side they could just make it fit my father had been terribly proud of his accomplishment and my mother delighted of course 

I had been secretly happy to be the reason for all this unusual activity today as I gazed at the stately building that had once being my home I thought of how how much all that extravagant effort must have cost how far I had fallen from those happy times 

I had come a long way from my childhood when money was never mentioned I was now nearly broke turning away from the comforts of the past I looked for some comfort in a latte one of my last remaining treats a Starbucks store 

now occupied the corner of Lexington and 78th where during my childhood there had been a pastry shop in my depressed days I did not notice the sign and in front reading hiring open house not that it was the kind of sign that I would have noticed anyway later 

I was to learn that Starbucks has hiring events at different stores every week or so in New York managers from other stores in the area come in to interview prospective employees looking back now I realize that the good fortune that had left my life returned the moment 

I chose to step into the store at the corner of 78th Street still in my own cocoon of self-pity and nostalgia about lost fortune and family I ordered my latte and made my way over to a small table i sat down and did not look at anyone nearby staring into my interior space

I tried to make sense of a life that seemed to have completely gotten away from me would you like a job I was startled out of my reverie the speaker sat at the table right next to mine shuffling some papers with professional dispatch she was an attractive young african-american woman wearing a Starbucks uniform I had not even looked at her before but now I noticed she was wearing a silver bracelet and a fancy watch she seemed so secure and confident 

I was struck numb I wasn't used to interacting with anyone in Starbucks for the last few months I had been frequenting many Starbucks stores around in the city not as places to relax or chat but as offices 

where I could call prospective clients although none were answering my calls my little consulting company was rapidly going downhill marketing and advertising is a young man's business and at 63 

I had found that my efforts were met with a deafening silence a job the woman repeated again smiling as if I hadn't heard her would you like one was i that transparent despite my pinstriped Brooks Brothers suit and master of the universe manner 

I had my cell phone resting on top of my expensive leather T Anthony briefcase as if expecting an important call could she see that I was really one of life's losers did I a former creative director of J Walter Thompson company the largest advertising agency in the world want a job at Starbucks for one of the few times in my life 

I could not think of a polite lie or any answer but the truth yes I said without thinking I would like a job I'd never had to seek a job before after commencement at Yale in 1962 me I'd gotten a call from James Henry Brewster v a friend of mine in skull and bones dates he said assertively 

I'm getting you up at J Walter Thompson Jim was working for Pan Am airways the largest airline in the world at the time and a major client of Jay Walter Thompson's the advertising firm known as JWT in business the two of us had a good time together at college wouldn't it be a gas to work together now Jim set up the to view when 

I went in to meet the people at JWT I was confident of my chances not only did I have the in through gym but the owner of JWT Stanley racer was another Yale man his son Stanley racer jr. had roomed with an uncle of mine at Yale 

I had visited the Ressler family at their 2000 acre ranch out at Jackson Hole just the summer before these connections proved invaluable advertising was regarded as a glamorous profession television commercials had just taken off and become humorous and interesting lots of people wanted to get into a business in which

you could make plenty of money but also have a creative edge JW tees training program was regarded as the best in the business and it hired only one or two copywriters a year I was one of those hires it had been love at first sight all 

I had to do was talk and write skills that came naturally to me and they paid me amazingly well for it I was good at my job and the clients appreciated my creative ideas I also found that I enjoyed making presentations and doing them in original ways to bring some life and laughter into what could be 

really boring meetings for example because we had created the line the Marines are looking for a few good men we were asked to pitch for the Department of Defense's multi-million dollar recruiting account the presentation was held in a war room at the Pentagon as I walked in 

i saw a row of be meddled men sitting behind a high table these were the Joint Chiefs of Staff they sat like stone statues clear the unhappy that they had been dragged into such a frivolous marketing meeting I walked up to front of the room carrying my portfolio case 

I reached inside and pulled out a bow and arrow someone else from my team walked to the opposite end of the room with a target I had drawn with magic marker on a piece of styrofoam I wanted to dramatize the fact that we believed in targeted advertising 

I wanted to speak with a tool to which these military men could relate a weapon I also wanted to make sure that since we were the first of the 13 agencies these men would be seeing they would remember us 

I pulled back the arrow and let it go by the grace of God it hit the bull's eye for a minute there was dead silence in that room no one moved no one spoke then all four military leaders broke into applause and there were few cheers and laughter we won the account in addition to liking the work 

I worked extremely hard there was a sign-in sheet in the lobby of the JWT office building in New York and I always tried to be one of the first to sign in and one of the last to sign out.


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