Michael Gates Gill
Bestselling author of How Starbucks Saved My Life
- The New York Times
Michael Gates Gill tells his inspiring story in How Starbucks Saved My Life, an instant bestseller that has struck a chord with a large segment of middle aged and older Americans—and which will soon be a film, starring Tom Hanks. His latest book, How to Save Your Own Life, deals with specific life lessons on how individuals can create the best times out of the worst of times. Gill's empowering personal testimony is full of inspiring and practical examples of how to move forward in life to new happiness and fulfillment at any age—despite all of life's greatest challenges
How Starbucks Saved My Life
Late in life, unemployed, and unemployable, Michael Gates Gill, an "old, opinionated white guy," becomes a barista and sees his old world slowly fall away, for the better. In this talk, Gill shares his tale of personal transformation and the lessons he walked away with: the inherent value of hard work; being open to new possibilities, whatever your age; learning from people who are different from you; the fact that, deep down, differences matter less than what we have in common. Gill's varied work experience -- from being a creative director at a famous ad firm to working for an hourly wage as the only older white male alongside younger African-Americans -- gives him insight into many of today's hot button workplace issues: racism, ageism, classism, boomer concerns, and corporate accountability. He speaks with humility, gratitude, and good humor about his fall from grace, and the new--better--person he has become because of it.
How to Save Your Own Life
In this inspiring talk, based on his book of the same name, Michael Gates Gill discusses the power of positive thinking, even when everything around you seems to be going wrong. Gill shares his remarkable story with the audience, and explains how he overcame losing his job, his home, and being diagnosed with a tumor, and created a happier and more fulfilling life for himself. Gill helps his audiences understand that despite how dire a situation may seem, there is always opportunity in crisis and you have the power to save your own life.
How to Save Your Own Life: 15 Lessons on Finding Hope in Unexpected Places
Michael Gill's lemons-to-lemonade memoir chronicled his transformative years working at Starbucks after losing his high-powered job, his marriage, and his health (he developed a brain tumor). In response to overwhelming requests from readers who wanted to know how they, too, could weather downturns, he has distilled his lessons into fifteen meaningful lessons, including:
Leap...With Faith: Sometimes it pays to leap without looking and say yes without thinking (Gill accepted the Starbucks job immediately, on a whim).
Let Yourself...Be Helped: Pride is even more paralyzing than fear.
Look...with Respect at Every Individual You See: Gill was raised to avoid eye contact with those who were different, cloistered in a privileged world. Now he realizes the potential in all who cross his daily path.
Lose...Your Watch (and Cell Phone and PDA!): Our obsession with productivity produces madness, not gladness.
Offering living proof that extraordinary happiness is found in ordinary moments, How to Save Your Own Life provides empowering words and hope for anyone facing a reversal of fortune. True fortune, Gill discovered, lies not in fate but in discovering the innate capacity we all possess to rescue ourselves.
How Starbucks Saved My Life
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house in the suburbs, a loving family, and a top job at an ad agency with a six-figure salary. By the time he turned sixty, he had lost everything except his Ivy League education and his sense of entitlement. First, he was downsized at work. Next, an affair ended his twenty-year marriage. Then, he was diagnosed with a slow-growing brain tumor, prognosis undetermined. Around the same time, his girlfriend gave birth to a son. Gill had no money, no health insurance, and no prospects. One day as Gill sat in a Manhattan Starbucks with his last affordable luxury--a latte--brooding about his misfortune and quickly dwindling list of options, a 28-year-old Starbucks manager named Crystal Thompson approached him, half joking, to offer him a job. With nothing to lose, he took it, and went from drinking coffee in a Brooks Brothers suit to serving it in a green uniform.
For the first time in his life, Gill was a minority--the only older white guy working with a team of young African-Americans. He was forced to acknowledge his ingrained prejudices and admit to himself that, far from being beneath him, his new job was hard. And his younger coworkers, despite having half the education and twice the personal difficulties he'd ever faced, were running circles around him. The other baristas treated Gill with respect and kindness despite his differences, and he began to feel a new emotion: gratitude.
Crossing over the Starbucks bar was the beginning of a dramatic transformation that cracked his world wide open. When all of his defenses and the armor of entitlement had been stripped away, a humbler, happier and gentler man remained. One that everyone, especially Michael's kids, liked a lot better. The backdrop to Gill's story is a nearly universal cultural phenomenon: the Starbucks experience. In How Starbucks Saved My Life, we step behind the counter of one of the world's best-known companies and discover how it all really works, who the baristas are and what they love (and hate) about their jobs. Inside Starbucks, as Crystal and Mike's friendship grows, we see what wonders can happen when we reach out across race, class, and age divisions to help a fellow human being.