When I found out that Russell Simmons was going to be at a book signing for his new book, Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple, I jumped at the chance to be there. Simmons is not only a hip-hop mogul but he’s also an entrepreneur and a New York Times bestselling author! He’s been so influential in various media and business ventures including Def Jam Recordings, Baby Phat, Run Athletics, and many more.
What My First Book Signing Was Like
The book signing took place on March 5th at 6 p.m. at a Barnes & Noble in Tribeca, NYC, and thankfully, it wasn’t snowing that day. I got to the bookstore about half an hour before the event started, and I decided to buy Simmons’ book while I was waiting. The first thing I noticed about the book was the size of it. I liked the fact that it fit comfortably in my hand, and I would have no problem taking it everywhere if I wanted to. Before I even started flipping through the pages later that night, I knew it would be the type of book I would probably want to read over and over.
After I bought the book I headed to the area near the children’s section, which was where the book signing was going to be. I was happy to see THZ Reporter Khadeen Ellis there, and I was also happy to see the spot where Simmons would be signing people’s books. As I was waiting there I saw more and more people getting into line, and you could tell they were all happy to not only own the book but to also see him appear a little while later. I had a good view of not only the people waiting in line but also the place where he would walk through the door into a sea of smiles and flashing cameras.
When he did appear I was taking some photos of him (you never think you have the perfect shot, so you take like three or four photos in the span of a few seconds), but then when I realized he was talking, I put the camera down and made some notes about what he was saying.
He talked about how an awakened state is one that we strive for. We look for it on the outside but it’s on the inside. All the noise on the outside causes sickness and sadness, and what’s on the inside is bliss. He also said that he wants to have every kid in this country meditating in schools. Another thing that I wrote down was that he said this book is about demystifying meditation; it’s a simple guide to meditate and it talks about what the physical benefits are. He ended things by saying that Oprah called him and she said she likes the book a lot. In other words, this book is Oprah approved!
After he spoke, he sat down in a chair and started signing people’s books. He also took photos with everyone, and I thought that was really sweet. You could tell people couldn’t wait to meet him in person. After he signed everyone’s books he signed some more books, which I guess were for people who bought the book at some point after the signing. I had never been to a book signing before, so it was pretty cool to see it from start to finish.
Interview With Russell Simmons
Ellis had a chance to interview Simmons after the book signing was over, and I really enjoyed hearing his answers to her questions. You could tell how strongly he believed in what he was saying, and he just gave off a really positive vibe in general. He talked about how simple meditation is, how schools can benefit from meditation, why it’s important that we fit meditation into our day, and more.
He started the interview by talking about how he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. and he starts his day with mediation. Mediation is a supplement to some degree to his sleep. It’s amazing to think that not only does he get up so early, but he also never misses a beat when it comes to meditating every day.
Simmons also touched on what meditation is, and how all of us actually do have the capability to do it. He uses one of his daughters as an example.
“This book is about giving meditation to everyone, and I feel like I needed to demystify it. People think mediation is something that it’s not or too many things that they can’t deliver on. It’s really simple; it’s about patience and sitting still [and] I think that everybody has the capability. I get up every morning; I go to my kids house and meditate with them, and take them to school. One was eight when she started. She’s now 11 and the other one is now 14. But three years ago my eight year old daughter sat still for 20 minutes and it’s become a routine for her. And she has a very expansive mind because of it. She goes to the school for the gifted.”
Before he signed the books earlier in the night he talked about how he wants every kid in this country meditating in school, and in the interview with Ellis he talked about how students would benefit from meditating.
“Especially in the hood we see dramatic results. Where violence occurs there is less violence, and when people are not learning well they have a more expansive mind because [of] what we call ‘quiet time’ [in meditation]. And they are better able to learn. That’s why I wrote the book; I want to give that experience to others. I don’t keep the royalties; I give the royalties to charity anyway.”
On the first page of his book he asks “Why would you mediate?” and the line below that says “The answer is very simple: to be happy.” He shared some nice thoughts about the correlation between happiness and meditation with Ellis.
“You have flickering in the mind…fluctuation in the mind…lots of thoughts. The fluctuation is the cause of sickness and sadness…As you let the mind settle you have less and less thoughts, and it calms the nervous system to let the mind have that kind of rest. And that really helps to reboot you and it has everything to do with happiness because noise is the cause of suffering and when you relieve the noise it’s bliss.”
You might be thinking “All of that is great, but I’m so busy. How do you expect me to fit meditation into my daily schedule?” Simmons said working out and meditating are two very important things, and he didn’t only meditate after he got up at 5:30 that morning, but he also took time out of his day to do yoga at 4 p.m.
“I worked all day, and I’m gonna work [a] late night. But I stopped because I’m more productive. I do twice as much in half the time when I meditate and I work out. I do physical yoga practice… [it’s an] aggressive, heavy class. And I do my meditation twice a day, every day.”
The interview finished with Ellis asking Simmons what advice he has for parents in terms of how they can help their kids become more productive.
“The first thing we should do is teach them to meditate. We should make them sit in stillness and we should do everything we can to give them access to what they imagine or dream about. But it’s really important that we allow kids to dream and mediating is a very helpful and important part of it.”
My Thoughts On The Book
I had a chance to read through some of the book, because I thought it was important for you to get my take on it. Before I start I’d like to say that I absolutely loved what I read in the book. It was written in such a way that was easy for me to understand, and that’s why it made it to my infamous “books I will read more than once” list.
I don’t want to spoil too much of the book for you, but I will say that I loved how he talked about how his life changed after he started meditating, and I loved the part of the book where he talked about the misconceptions that people have about meditation. By the way, there’s a nice passage on Ellen DeGeneres in that section. If you love DeGeneres (who doesn’t?) I think you will really enjoy what he had to say about her. Not only does he talk about her, but he talks about other successful people in the book and how mediation has positively impacted their lives.
As a final thought, I’d just like to say that you shouldn’t hesitate to pick up this book if you are a fan of Russell Simmons and/or want to have a much more enjoyable life. For example, if you want to be more energized and less stressed, I highly recommend this book.