How Starbucks Saved My Life

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How Starbucks Saved My Life
AuthorMichael Gates Gill
CountryUnited States
PublisherGotham Books
Publication date
September 12, 2007

How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else is a memoir by Michael Gates Gill that chronicles his journey from a high-level advertising executive with J. Walter Thompson to a barista at Starbucks.[1] The book has been optioned by Tom Hanks for a film;[2] filmmaker Gus Van Sant has also been in talks to direct.[2] Gill is the son of famed The New Yorker writer Brendan Gill,[2] and the brother of Charles Gill, author of the 1987 fiction book The Boozer Challenge.[3]


Michael Gates Gill had it all by his fifties: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. Within a few years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he got a job at Starbucks.

An unexpected teacher opens his eyes to what living well really looks like. 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.