How old would you be, if you had no idea how old you really were?

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How Starbucks Saved My Life

These days I read what I please. If I pick up a book or a magazine and find the writing tiresome or beyond my interest at the moment, I don't hesitate to put the piece down. I read when the subject matter interests me, when the writing is smooth, when the words are true, when the read is effortless.

How Starbucks Saved My Life is a little book I read from cover to cover pretty much in one sitting. I read the book a couple of months ago and decided then to give it some press in this blog. Finally today I began to draft a note and returned to the book for a quick review. I read from the beginning and had read fifty pages before I stopped to think about what should go in this short review.

In his fifties Michael Gill loses his six-figure salary, gets divorced, and is diagnosed with a brain tumor. He is hanging out in Starbucks making calls, trying unsuccessfully to make a living as a private consultant when he is offered a job. All dressed up in a two-thousand-dollar suit he finds himself begging for a job serving lattes. Totally out of his comfort zone he gets the job and eventually becomes very successful. He boasts about being great at cleaning toilets.

This little book is a lot about Starbucks, but even more about how Michael Gill regains his self esteem in an unlikely and surprising way. That rang true for me. I'm retired from a long and reasonably successful career that covered Mental Health, Education, Business Consulting, and then high school classroom teaching. Being retired with no obvious day to day mission can erode one's sense of self. Aging brings it's catalog ailments and my faithful old body now operates with a number of body part replacements, including a prosthetic foot, a pacemaker, a new heart valve. While I'm happy to have the spare parts, it's hard not be aware that this body I live in is just a bit beyond it's prime.

So what I tuned into as I read, and reread, this little book was the way in which Michael Gill managed to rise up from what looked like a hopeless situation to a place where his self esteem and joy in life surpassed anything he'd experienced in his life as a high powered advertising executive.

Find and read this little book. You won't be disappointed.

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