Monthly Archives: January 2012

21 Sutras To Live Life Unconditionally!!!!!!

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ONE
Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.

TWO
Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.

THREE
Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have or sleep all you want.

FOUR
When you say, “I love you,” mean it.

FIVE
When you say, “I’m sorry,” look the person in the eye.

SIX
Be engaged at least six months before you get married.

SEVEN
Don’t believe in love at first sight.

EIGHT
Never laugh at anyone’s dream. People who don’t have dreams don’t have much.

NINE
Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live life completely.

TEN
In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.

ELEVEN
Don’t judge people by their relatives.

TWELVE
Talk slowly but think quickly.

THIRTEEN
When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, “Why do you want to know?”

FOURTEEN
Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.

FIFTEEN
Say “God bless you” when you hear someone sneeze.

SIXTEEN
When you lose, don’t lose the lesson .

SEVENTEEN
Remember the three R’s: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.

EIGHTEEN
Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.

NINETEEN
When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.

TWENTY
Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.

TWENTY-ONE
Spend some time alone.

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How Starbucks Saved My Life!!!

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I read a number of books in the last couple of weeks. One among those was ‘How Starbucks Saved My Life’ by Michael Gates Gill and it did strike a different perspective on life, though very mildly. A life that has suddenly switched from one of prestige, power, money, glam and glitz to that of an ordinary common man, a barista at Starbucks.

It is the sweet bitter story in the first few chapters which transforms into a bitter sweet tale in the later half of the book. It’s the story of Michael Gates Gill who was born in a highly reputed family and was son to Brendan Gill, well-known writer for the New Yorker. Gill’s early life was all that one could aspire for, education at Yale University, job at the prestigious J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, acquaintance with Ernest Hemmingway and other crème de la crème in the field of literature, etc. You name it; he had it, all the symbols of modern day success and badges of material accomplishments by the time he was fifty.

One fine day J. Walter Thompson un-ceremonially dismisses him, thanking Gill for his service for more than two and a half decades. A high profile executive is now unemployed and that too at a time when he discovers that he is a new father with a woman he had an affair with and needs to take care of a little girl. The affair brings an end to his twenty-year marriage and he is isolated from his former wife and his children. Life comes to a sudden halt as Gill is also diagnosed with a small tumor in his head. Depression and cover of darkness dominates Gill’s life.

With no money, no health insurance, and no prospects, one day Gill spends his time in a Manhattan Starbucks with his last affordable luxury “a latte” brooding about his misfortune and how to take care of his little baby girl. Something magical happens and a young African-American woman asks the suit clad Gill if he is looking a job. Gill accepts the offer without a second thought and later learns that the godsend, 28 year old young woman, Crystal, is a Starbucks manager.

Once on job floor, Gill undergoes a major shift in life from commanding an army of advertising specialists to scrubbing toilets, making coffee, handling the cash counter and doing other day-to-day activities at Starbucks working with a team of young African-Americans. Gill, the only old white guy in the team begins to see life from a different perspective, appreciates the harsh realities of survival, and also rectifies his ingrained prejudices related to many aspects. Respect and kindness become his crutches, when his entire armor of entitlement had been stripped away. Gill learns from his co-workers who are half his age in their mid twenties, that ‘gratitude’ and ‘will to fight’ doesn’t follow any equation having color, class, race, religion, age, skin pigmentation, language, or gender as variables.

Crossing over the Starbucks bar was the beginning of a dramatic transformation that cracked Gill’s world wide open. That’s the pulp of the storyline and so the name ‘How Starbucks Saved My Life’.

The book was a Ok Ok read though and I finished it in two sittings. At times I found that stories and the tales that Gill, the former corporate shark spews at regular intervals in the book were a bit kitschy. The author has spent page after page explaining how the utopian corporate culture of Starbucks transformed his life, the repeated theme of working with African-Americans, etc. While reading the book, I found these opinions were over done, often giving the impression that it was a Starbucks promotional pap impersonating as a memoir.