With America’s unemployment rate hovering at 10 percent, odds are that many reading these words are beginning this New Year in an old set of pajamas and a malingering state of numb panic. Bills are mounting, hope is fading, and your personal hygiene is straying close to Howard Hughes-in-Vegas levels. It’s time you've asked yourself: What would Russell Simmons do?
Simmons, the co-founder of Def Jam records and a man with a net worth exceeding $300 million, has co-authored (with Chris Morrow) a book for these low times in Super Rich, a “guide to having it all” that’s been endorsed by no less august a pimp daddy personage than Deepak Chopra. Surely, Russell “Uncle Rush” Simmons—philanthropist, tastemaker, one of the few men who can really pull off a sweater vest—has a few ideas that will get us out of the unemployment line and return us to (as Def Jam recording artist EPMD so memorably put it) business as usual.
Today, I’m sitting down with Super Rich and asking some hard questions of the book, in the hopes that I will soon sleep on a bed stuffed with Hamiltons and shower in a downpour of Benjamins. C’mon, Uncle Rush; make it rain! [Ed note: All quotes from preview galley may differ slightly from finished book.]
Want more titles to make it rain? Check out our list on being Super Rich here.
So, how do we get “Super Rich”? And can you advance me a few bucks now? Con Edison wants to drink my blood.
“Before we go any further, let me clarify why I decided to call it Super Rich … 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…You’ll be able to recognize that there’s no difference between being broke and being a millionaire.”
Uh, what the hell?
“The enlightened ones know that true comfort only comes when you clear the noise out of your head. Worrying about how much your car is worth, or how much you spent to join an exclusive country club, or whether your friends have noticed your new fur coat will only add to that noise.”
Country club? Are you insane? I can’t even afford to join Costco.
“I’m not asking you to forgo any toy that I’ve enjoyed. I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t enjoy driving a Rolls-Royce or watching a movie on a fifty-inch HD television. Those incredible toys were only created to be enjoyed."
Thanks, I think. OK, I’ve read further and I get it now: Super Rich is all about how meditation and yoga can strengthen your business focus. But how has it helped you in a nonfinancial sense?
“I’ve found that meditation gives me a real boost on mornings where I wake up with a headache or a stuffed-up nose. In the past I might have gone back to bed or reached for some Advil, but now as long as I get up and put in those twenty minutes, I usually emerge from my session breathing great and with a clear head. When I was in my twenties, I used to get sinus and throat infections all the time. I’m sure the cocaine wasn’t helping matters.”
I think I’m following you, but I may I need an object lesson here—perhaps one from the world of hip-hop?
“The example I’ll share in detail is that of Rev Run (of Run-DMC)...The realization that he had almost consumed himself finally hit him one day, appropriately enough, while he was sitting in a hot tub...He had a plate of pancakes in one hand and a joint in the other while simultaneously getting his hair trimmed by his personal barber...(The phone rang and) in his haste, he accidentally ashed his joint onto his pancakes. He tried to brush the ashes off the pancakes, but only succeeded in knocking bits of his hair into the syrup.”
Wow. That’s multitasking.
“Run’s story, and the stories of so many artists like him, hopefully will make you pause if you still think you’re going to find happiness in those toys.”
I get it. Financial gain is dangerous without having the spirituality to back it up.
“This is because like a ho, money itself is insecure. Never forget that money is more like the ho and happiness is like the nun.”
“The pimp will lie and act like he doesn’t love his ho, that he could walk away from her without a second thought. As a result, the ho is perversely attracted to the pimp...Yet while the pimp may start off with flashy cars and outlandish outfits, whatever success he experiences will always be fleeting.”
Guess I’d better scratch “pimp” off my career list. OK, so I’m ready to meditate. What do I need to do?
“After sitting down and getting comfortable, the next step is to simply begin repeating your mantra...Let me share a mantra that I’ve been taught and have found works well for novices: Rum.”
Oh hell yes. Now you’re talking.
“Try not to think of it as a word, but rather as a vibration. ‘Ruuuuuuuuuuum.’ ”
Super Rich, Russell Simmons’ thoughtful guide to self-fulfillment, which really doesn’t have anything to do with pimps, pancakes or mojitos, is in bookstores this week.
Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All
Russell Simmons with Chris Morrow
Gotham / Jan. 4, 2011 / 9781592405879 / $22.50