I didn’t know much about Gene Simmons prior to reading his book, Me, Inc. Simmons is a relentless entrepreneur, with an incredible amount of enthusiasm for life and business. He is constantly looking for ways to make more money by satisfying his customer’s demands for more Kiss and more of him. He’s even patented his face with all that makeup. Reading his book, I truly felt that he wanted to impart some of his knowledge and enthusiasm for life and business to the reader.
A Humble Begining
Simmons grew up extremely poor in Israel. As a six-year-old, while walking to school, he and his friend had an idea to make some money. They wandered into the desert to collect as many cactus flowers as they could and sold them to those passing by. When he came home, his mom asked him why he wasn’t in school. He simply dumped his pocketful of change on the table and told his mom that he made money selling flowers. To a single mother with little money for food, she was elated. That set him on his journey to learning how to make money by giving customers what they wanted.
Simmons and his mother moved to the US when was a child. He couldn’t believe the riches that were available in huge quantities in America. His aunt had a refrigerator full of food! The bathroom was indoors and included toilet paper! He had never seen such things. In Israel, he had to wipe his butt with a reusable cloth that they washed. He had an icebox to store a few precious food items. The only time he’d seen a refrigerator was in a restaurant.
Coming from his humble beginnings it is understandable why Simmons was so focused on making money. He wanted to make a better life for himself and his mother. He was constantly coming up new ideas to make money. In highschool, he took a stenographer class in which he was the only boy. Stenography was considered a job for women at the time. But Simmons practiced typing and became extremely fast. He marketed himself to his classmates. He’d type up their reports for a fee. After class, he’d head to a job where he turned dictations into written words.
As a kid Simmons hated school. He said there was no imagination in it. Most of what he learned as kid came from watching television non-stop in his free time. He’d watch TV until it went dark at 11pm. Then he’d get up early on the weekends and watch more TV. He wrote that TV taught him that there are no limits to the imagination.
Simmons gives tons of practical advice in book. Most of it has to do with taking charge of your life and not making excuses. For example, he reinvented himself twice, giving himself a new name each time. He shed his old skin, getting rid of his Jewish sounding name, taking on new names that he felt would sell more music. For Simmons, this was just common sense.
Simmons works extremely hard and has no patience for those who have dreams but won’t go after them. He can’t stand people who take vacations. He says that most people could use that time to learn a new skill, or create a new business. Instead, people complain that they don’t have time to pursue their dreams. He adds up all the time that a typical person has at night, weekends, and vacations, and admonishes the reader for wasting it on stupid things.
He extols his readers to grind it out until they can find something that they can excel at. He says that it’s never too late to start thinking of ways to gain more freedom in life through business.
Me, Inc. is an inspiring book that gives the reader much food for thought.