Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All

by Russell Simmons
with Chris Morrow
Gotham Books
Hardcover, $22.50
208 pages
ISBN: 978-1-592-40587-9

Book Review by Kam Williams

“Rather than any state of material abundance, Super Rich actually refers to living in a state of consciousness where you’re able to see the miracles of life unfolding in front of you all the time. It’s a state where your connection to your higher self is so strong that you’ll be able to recognize that there’s no difference between being broke and being a millionaire…

It’s a state where you’ll be able to appreciate that your entire experience as a human being is blissful and sublime. And as a result of achieving this state, you’ll understand that you don’t need money or toys to be happy.”

-Excerpted from Chapter One, “Redefining Rich” (pg. 5)

When a hip-hop mogul writes a book with a catchy title like “Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All,” it’s only reasonable to expect its pages to be dripping with advice about making a mammoth fortune. It’s not uncommon for famous tycoons sitting at the top of the economic food chain to share their trade secrets in similarly-titled tomes aimed at ambitious folks who want follow in their footsteps.

Just consider how Captains of Industry ranging from Donald Trump (“How to Get Rich”) to T. Boone Pickens (“The First Billion Is the Hardest”) to Sir Richard Branson (“Business Stripped Bare”) have previously published such how-to texts. Yet, in “Super Rich,” gazillionaire Russell Simmons practically advocates the antithesis of accumulating wealth for wealth’s sake.

Instead, he redefines success as not financial, but as a combination of consciousness and compassion, qualities which one can cultivate even if you don’t have two nickels to rub together. Consequently, some might unfairly consider this spiritually-oriented opus to be a case of bait and switch, especially if they still automatically associate Simmons’ name with rap music, a genre given to the wanton celebration of money and materialism.

But if you’re at all familiar with the evolution of Russell’s career, you are well aware that he has long since sincerely shed the shells of accumulation and conspicuous consumption to walk the Earth in a manner more harmonious with nature and other living creatures. A priceless life primer stocked with the sage insights of a reformed, meat-eating, substance-abusing, bad-boy titan now championing yoga, meditation and vegetarianism as the appropriate paths to fulfillment and to the satisfaction of one’s every acquisitive craving.

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