Book: How Starbucks Saved My Life

. August 2, 2011
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Michael Gates Gill was born into luxury: a mansion with acreage and a housekeeper. His father paid for an Ivy League education. As soon as he graduated, he was handed a prestigious job and worked hard to support his loyal wife and four children. Isn't this what everyone wants?

Michael Gates thought so, too: until the company he worked for came under new management and replaced him with fresher talent.

In his journey to seek reaffirmation as a status figure, he tried unsuccessfully to start a consulting business, experienced sexual dysfunction with his wife, fathered a son through an affair, and lost everything in divorce.

He also found that friends disappear when you're down and out.

Life went downhill until he met a young, no-nonsense African-American Starbucks manager. She offered him a job. He took it in a desperate attempt to provide for his son - and made a remarkable discovery.

People who aren't slaves to looking successful are finally free to be honest about their lives. Their relationships are more genuine, their work more meaningful, and their sleep more peaceful. Life is more satisfying when there are no Joneses to keep up with.

I won't spoil the rest of the story. For now, here's an excerpt from How Starbucks Saved My Life1.

I started walking, then literally stopped with a shock of revelation: "I am happier than I have ever been," I said out loud....

I was almost scared; still afraid to admit to myself how happy I was now... with a job as a barista at Starbucks. This was not the high-status job or affluent life my parents, my family, and my friends had expected of me.

Did this mean that my whole former life - all sixty-four years of it - had been a joke?

No. I shook my head, still planted in the spot, arguing with myself. I had loved many things. I still loved my children. But I had to admit, for the first time and with brutal honesty, and I had hated large swatches of my former, high-status life, full of so much meaningless activity....

Maybe the mistakes I had made - causing so much damage - had also helped me break out of my comfortable cocoon... to get out to a world so much more full of life and light.

[1] This is from the end of Ch. 7.


Kelly said...

This sounds like a *great* story! Thanks for sharing!

ReformedTrader said...

Glad I could help! Let me know what you think of the book if you read it.