My Reading Life: Sam James

A day with Toronto's Coffee King

Posted by Ben Landau January  14, 2016
 

Coffee king Sam James may have a bevy of bustling shops and one of the city's hottest roasteries but he still finds plenty of time for reading. We followed around the ultra popular entrepreneur for a day in his busy life—to see where, when, and how he reads.

 

9:00 am: I usually arrive around 8:30 or so to check on my staff and say hi to whoever comes through the door. If it’s quiet and all is well I like to actually have a coffee and read a bit—just like a lot of our customers do. Whether it's reading news on my phone or a chapter from one of Malcolm's Gladwell's books (Gladwell is pretty much a constant in my life), this is one of my go-to times to read. I even have my own reading nook in the corner. Nobody touches the stool! 

 
Honestly, I'm not overly sentimental when it comes to "media objects". Sure I have print books, vinyl, and skateboarding magazines from when I was a kid, but I don't really care about these things. For me it's the story, or the music, not the object that matters and I don't view information as an object. I like my eReader because it allows me to have less stuff--to simplify my life in a way.

I know a lot of regulars, especially at this location. Actually, that's where I get a lot of my book recommendations. My friend Rocky always has awesome suggestions.

 

11:30 am:  Closer to noon I like to visit my shop in The Path (an underground walkway linking 30 kilometres of shopping, services and entertainment in Toronto) to check on staff and help out if they're busy. Things are under control today so I finish the chapter I had started earlier.

  

Spills happen, especially in a coffee shop. I have a waterproof (coffee-proof) Aura H2O. A quick trip to the sink to rinse it off (with some concerned customers looking on) and I'm back to business.

Right now I'm reading a couple books: An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin, an amazing novel set in New York City that looks at the bizarre world of fine art collecting and dealing, and Pistol by Mark Kriegel, a bio on the incredible NBA player Pistol Pete Maravich, his family background, career peak and decline. I’m also thinking of reading Gut by Guilia Enders, next time I travel. 
 

1:00 pm: Time for our final stop. Home base. The roastery. This is actually where I spend most of my time. I usually work until about 7pm, so I take quite a few breaks throughout the day, a bit of skateboarding on the half pipe, some free throws on the office net (I shoot around 70% from the line, if I'm concentrating) and of course some reading.

 
My mom actually has a Kobo and I think it's cool that when we give each other recommendations--which is often--we can just download the book right then and there and not have to wait until Christmas or some other special event to buy the book. 

Follow Sam James on Instagram: @samjamescoffeebar

Check out his website here. 

Comment (3)

Bonjour la Kobo de ma femme ne fonctionne plus, et ca fait meme pas un an qu'elle l'a. Ou doit t'on la faire reparer. Merci
rejean gendreau February 27, 2016
Thanks Ellen! Any other entrepreneurs you'd like to see us talk to?
Ben from Kobo February 12, 2016
great article! He's the best. Really good that you are talking to entrepreneurs.
Ellen January 20, 2016

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