Scathing Book Reviews of How Starbucks Saved My Life, by

How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill certainly has a catchy title, and Starbucks has saved my life many a morning by getting my heart started with a jolt of caffeine.  I’ve skimmed the book at my local bookstore, but have been hesitant to buy it, because I’m still employed, and it just seems like you’re asking for bad luck if you buy a book about a guy who lost his job.  However, when the Tom Hanks Movie Adaptation comes out I might be tempted to rent it.

In the book, Michael Gill Gates discusses how he, a laid off executive, was able to find new meaning and dignity in life by working at the local Starbucks and doing a lot of cleaning.  I like Starbucks, but as someone once said, the book wouldn’t have sold nearly as well if it was title “How Wendy’s Saved My Life”, and now that the book’s been published and the movie is in development, I don’t think you’re going to see Gates making a Frap anytime soon.  The Scathing Book Reviews of How Starbucks Saved My Life think its a Decaf Americano:

Neil Genzlinger at the New York Times writes:

Some critics will no doubt dismiss “How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else” as promotional pap masquerading as a memoir. This critic, though, views it as one of the most scathing indictments of the advertising business to appear in a long time.

…and from Amazon reviewers:

The fact that the author was an advertising copywriter is way too obvious in this, the longest infomercial I’ve been through.


…This guy got on my nerves…Everything is so new to him, it’s ridiculous. “Once you get to know them, black people are okay.” “You get 30 minutes for lunch, and it’s really important to be back on time, because the next person is waiting to go to lunch.” He’s never even been in a Wal-mart. There’s something kind of fishy about this guy. Nobody 63 years old living in the U.S., is that naive. His stories about his great advertising and writing skills are not believable. He really doesn’t come across as very bright.


Although the book is short, I had to skip through much of it, because life is short too.


If you really like Starbucks, save your money and buy some coffee…not this book.


How this book wasted an hour of my life…The biggest problem is that the author seems to be writing at an elementary level. He clearly has an interesting story, but nothing that couldn’t be written in a two-page essay.


The writing and the story are so sugar-coated and sickening sweet I could almost feel the cavities growing in my teeth.


Actually it’s the perfect book for the whining generation. Everyone else should treat it like the toxic waste it is. I ordered it by accident and didn’t cancel the order in time. Then I made the mistake of actually opening it instead of giving it to someone I really don’t like. Serious error. Don’t you make the same mistake.

…and this review is so scathing, I have to find out what else this guy has read:

This slight memoir of having gone from being El Exigente to a lowly ten-buck-an-hour barrista at a Starbucks–entitled, with only skim irony, “How Starbucks Saved My Life”–is insipid; filled with the sort of hard-won wisdom most of us have learned by the the time we’re half its protagonist’s age, even if we didn’t happen to leave Yale eighteen credits shy of an undergraduate degree. As they no doubt never said in the Gill household, “Oy!”

2 Responses

  1. “Once you get to know them, black people are okay?”

    Ooo-kay. I’d heard of this book before but it has never been on my reading radar. After reading that rather idiotic line I think it has now fallen completely into the abyss. Oy, indeed.

  2. […] bookmarks tagged starbucks Scathing Book Reviews of How Starbucks Saved My Li… saved by 3 others     extremejay1 bookmarked on 08/14/08 | […]

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