From the Bookshelf – April 2008

Here’s another book that’s gotten a lot of attention over the last few months.  The director of our public library suggested I read Michael Gates Gill‘s How Starbucks Saved My Life:  A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else.

Reading some of the online reviews and reader comments it seems people often miss the point of Gill’s little book, claiming that is little more than a book-length Starbucks ad, and that the author is not being entirely straight with us.

Gill seems candid enough about his own selfishness and stupidity in confronting problems that were not unique to him.  Whether he’s being completely straight with his audience only he really knows, but the message that there is dignity in humble work is one I think we need.

Nearly everything in our culture is bent toward more – more money, more power, more stuff.  More, more, more.  Gill didn’t embark on his journey to the Bronxville Starbucks intentionally.  But in making that journey he discovered the freedom in letting go of the trappings of what we consider “success.”  Now that he’s published this book, sold the movie rights, etc., etc. he runs the risk of returning to a world he says he is glad to have left behind.  Time will tell, I suppose, but I hope he keeps the happiness he seems to have found in a simpler life.


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