The book really isn’t really supposed to be about himself. It is supposed to be a guide to the entrepreneur that lies within all of us to be …. just like Gene Simmons.
“Me, Inc: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business, ” is Gene Simmons new book, part memoir, part guide, which seems filled with entertainment value.
Ryan Torok of Jewish Journal reviewed the book which begins with Chaim Witz who sold sabras on the street to help out his mother in Haifa, his emigration to America, rock aspirations and name change. “I didn’t take it personally. I recognized the facts. I realized that Robert Zimmerman had turned himself into Bob Dylan. That Marc T. Bolan from T Rex has been Mark Feld. That Leslie West from Mountain had been Leslie Weinstein. They all reinvented themselves, changing their names and their images along the way.”
And boy did he change his image. Along with Paul Stanley, also Jewish, the group donned the crazy demonic face painting and outrageous costumes that made them iconic. They were so closely associated with their KISS appearances, that, until the late 70s, people still didn’t know what they looked like without the makeup.
Steady relationships were not a big priority early in his career. He once bragged on Fresh Air about having slept with thousands of women. Simmons said his first girlfriend was Cher, and he dated Diana Ross, but eventually settled down and married Shannon Tweed. He has two kids in their 20s, and his advice is aimed at their generation, but hey, anyone can read it.
He recommends an almost maniacal self-confidence, a radical looking out for number one. He urges people to cultivate friendships only with people who are more successful, not less, than they are and warns against vacations and downtime.
“Have a killer instinct, ” he said. “I do, and I don’t have to.” Well the 65 year old has certainly built up a killer KISS business, with 100 million CDs and DVDs sold worldwide and 3, 000 merchandised items. According to some sources, Simmons is worth $300 million.
While he doesn’t exactly impress people with his humility (who can impress with humility anyway), his sometimes arrogant sounding rough edges can seem kind of charming and well-intended, “I’m a champion. I pride myself not only on what I’ve achieved but on what I dream of achieving. I refuse to sit on my thumb all day and talk about yesterday. That’s for wimps. I’m a today and tomorrow person … YOU first. Everyone else second.’
Well, I’ll give him this. There may be some similarities in their philosophies but I can bet he’s a lot more fun than Ayn Rand.