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Books That Should Be Made Into Movies

Updated on March 6, 2012

When posed the question about what books should be turned into movies, these two books come into mind...

  • How Starbucks Saved My Life by Michael Gates Gill based on his own true story of how he was an wealthy advertising executive who got laid off. He then went to work as a Starbucks barista and is happier for it.
  • This is Not the Story You Think It: A Season of Unlikely Happiness by Laura Munson is also based on her own life since the book it categorized as a memoir.

What these two books have in common is that they are written by real people based on their own life story -- one from a male's perspective and one from a female's perspective. Yet they both come to the same conclusion.

These are stories about happiness, what happiness is, and how it comes about. In both cases, happiness is not derived from one's status in life nor the amount of money. It comes from within -- within one's self.

They tell an important message to the modern stress-out people out there on what happiness is derived from. Since many people these days are too time-pressed to read books (which may be part of the problem), they should make movies out of these books.

Book: "How Starbucks Saved My Life"

This is the story of Michael Gates Gill, author of the book How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else. Gill came from a wealthy family, educated at an ivy league school, and went to work at J. Walter Thompson, one of the largest advertising firm at the time. He was an executive who climbed the corporate ladder for about a quarter of a century (25 years) and had the title of "Creative Director" when one day in 1997 he was down-sized -- in other words, he got fired. Then his marriage fell apart, and he later got diagnosed with a brain tumor as well. (Fortunately, the brain tumor was not life-threatening.)

It was at this lowest point in his life in this "riches-to-rags" story that by a chance incidence he stumbled upon a Starbucks job fair and eventually got hired. So Gill down-sized his life of a six-figure salary executive to a Starbucks barista. Gill lives in a renovated-attic apartment on the third story of a house; whereas in his former life he lived in 25-room mansion. He works at Starbucks part-time for the early shift, but gets a full health benefit.

Barista is a fairly new term that some spell-checkers are not recognizing it. It means someone who makes and serves coffee-based drinks. Starbucks calls their workers at their stores "baristas" or "partners". But basically what Gill does at Starbucks is to clean the bathrooms, sweep the floors, handle the cash register, and make coffee.

Moral of the Story

The moral of the story is that he loves this. He loves working at Starbucks and be able to get off work at 1pm and have a whole day ahead of him. He is happier now than he has ever been. And it is a big relief to be without the coporate ladder, without the achievement, without the status, without the money, and without all that stuff.

In this 2009 video linked here, an CNN reporter asked him, "if someone called you today and says we want you to be the CEO of this advertising agency and we're going to pay you half a million dollars a year and you're making ten dollars at Starbucks, you mean to tell me that you would stay at Starbucks making ten dollar an hour?" Gill answers, "Yes, because I know the price. The price is that you have to give up your life -- twelve hour days, twenty hours days. The little details is that you never stop thinking about that job."

In the video, you also hear Starbucks customers commenting on Gill's positive attitude at the coffee shop where Gill works.

As reported in the 2007 CBS news report at the Bronxville Starbucks where Gill worked at the time, Starbucks manager Nehemiah Luckett says that "Gill's forte is customer service". The report also says that Gill is so much happier in the "cozy little attic apartment" than he ever was in the 25-room house.

Michael Gates Gill Bookstore Talk

As validation of Gill's new-found world-view on life, the video linked here where Gill is giving a talk at a Tattered Cover Bookstore in Colorado in 2007, Gill mentions that another Starbucks barista named Jennifer is in the audience who also shares the same view that she is happier now than she had ever been. Jennifer is a former teacher. So apparently, working at Starbucks is also better than teaching -- at least for Jennifer. Unlike Gill, Jennifer is a lot younger. As quoted by Gill in the video, Jennifer "discovered a lot quicker in life how much funner life can be when you get out of the escalator thing", where "escalator thing" refers to climbing the corporate latter.

If you don't have time to read the book, watch the video in the above link. The video is about half an hour long and gives a detailed enough view of Gill's story. Plus he speaks very well with injection of a good dose of humor in it -- afterall he had been an advertising executive.

At the end of the talk, an audience member asked whether Gill would continue to work at Starbucks now that he is a famous author. Gill answered "absolutely".

Also listen to this 2007 NPR's "Talk of the Nation" interview of Mike Gill. Within the radio program, you will also hear other listeners call into the show and talk about similar situations where quitting or be fired had changed their life.

Also watch this YouTube video as Gill talks about his book.

Gill's Talk at Google

Gill gave a talk at Google where he says, "I'm happier than I've ever been. And part of that was having your life back. And part of that was finding some useful thing I could do. And part of that was creating enjoyment for others. But I think, another big part of it was the big super-structure of achievement and status and big houses. Whew. What a relief... Such a relief of not having the physical stuff and that mental stuff.... I thought I was happy with my previous life of status, title, and expense accounts, and traveling, and all that stuff. I thought I was happy. But it is nothing like the happiness I feel now without it."

Basically he was saying that he is happier now working at Starbucks than when he was making the big money as an executive.

This goes to show that you should not think of working at Starbucks as a low-paying job to be looked down upon. The back cover of Gill's book explains it the best by saying that "the simple idea that down-to-earth, humbling labor can help you reorient your values and priorities and give you a new life. It will speak to anyone in need of a radical surgery on their worldview"

Book: "This is Not the Story You Think It Is"

The book This is Not the Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness is a memoir by Laura Munson who grew up with a life of privilege and good looks. At mid-life, she and her husband had to downsize and moved to Montana while her husband goes through what can be called "a mid-life crisis".

Some reviews and summary of the story can be found on ...

The review on the HuffingtonPost was written by Jesse kornbluth who also think this book should be turned into movie. He writes ...

"My only question now is who will play Laura Munson in the inevitable movie. "

If you don't have time to read Laura's 337 page memoir, your can read her piece that she wrote on The New York Times published online on July 31, 2009. It is basically a shorten version of the story. Or actually, the book is the expanded version of the piece because the book was published 8 months later on April 1, 2010.

Are These Books Really Going to Be Movies?

Who's knows. At the time of this writing (March 2012), we don't know.

Internet search brought up this link on, which says "In Movie Theater: To be announced" with the title "How Starbucks Saved My Life". An CNN articles says ...

"The actor Tom Hanks has plans to produce and star in the film version."

Many movies are in fact based on books.


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    • anglnwu profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks for the book reviews. I enjoy reading memoirs and will definitely check these out. They sound interesting and their choices prove that life is not all about material things. Voted up.

    • cloverleaffarm profile image

      Healing Herbalist 

      6 years ago from The Hamlet of Effingham

      Interesting. I think many people could be happy with a "simple life". If more people looked into it, there would be more happy people in the world, and so much less stress, road rage, etc...PS. Barista is Italian for bartender. It's not really a new word. Voted up.


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