Book Review: Me, Inc., Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Business and Life
224 pages Faux Leather Cover $26.99, ebook $8.89
In a Nutshell – If you are looking for politically incorrect but no-nonsense business advice, this book may be for you.
Who’s it for? – Teenage boys seeking a business-oriented career path? An aspiring entrepreneur looking for an alternative point of view? It’s hard to tell.
Quote from author – “The problem you ultimately want to have, as an entrepreneur, is deciding who to help, not deciding who can help you.”
Career experts predict that students graduating from college today will likely work for seven to eight different employers in the course of their lives. Gone are the days of being a company lifer and getting that gold watch after 40 years of service.
What’s become important is the ability to manage one’s career as a company of one, strategizing a career path the way one builds a successful small company. Enter Me, Inc. written by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gene Simmons.
It’s safe to say that if you’re seeking a business book with opinionated, cut to the chase advice, then Simmons has written it. The creator and lead singer of the 70s rock group Kiss is committed to the idea that his success is a pattern for others to follow.
Simmons has also successfully run a restaurant chain, a pro sports team, and produced an incredibly lucrative record label. Less known as a writer, Simmons is seldom at a loss for something to say.
Me, Inc. is cleverly divided into two sections. The first aptly called “Me,” with Simmons recounting his humble beginnings and his methodically planned rise to stardom.
His story begins in Israel as a young boy with few conveniences raised by a single mother. Simmons worked hard in school and at home and followed his mother’s strong work ethic. One day young Gene hauls melons down from a hillside in his village to a tourist stop, selling them all and making $10 that he brings home. For his struggling family, his earnings provide a significant amount of new income. The experience helps Simmons discover the leverage money provides for himself and his struggling household.
Eventually Simmons and his mother move to New York City. The value of hard work and delayed gratification continue as Simmons grows up and becomes interested in music. After saving money and living frugally, Simmons fronts the money for his assembled musicians to build the ingenious persona that becomes the phenomena known as Kiss.
The book’s other section, “You,”, centers on Simmons taking his life experience and breaking it down into advice for others to follow. Simmons bangs home with a sledge hammer the point that each of us is the dominant creative force in our own lives. There are certain rules that are imperative to positioning one to be individually successful, running our own self-driven companies. Hence the title, Me Inc.
It’s difficult at times to understand who Simmons is writing for. In addition to his practical advice of saving and reinvesting one’s money, Simmons suggests other saving tips such as delaying marriage and having children late in life while staying away from booze and drugs. Simmons will likely make waves with female readers when he recommends that women building a successful career should limit themselves to only one, maybe two children.
Simmons seems aware when his gathered wisdom is going a bit too far, but is never apologetic. While it’s hard to argue with him for understanding the sacrifices needed in order to succeed, Simmons preaches from a perspective of absolutes which will be difficult for many readers. Me, Inc. tells entertaining stories and does a good job of presenting Simmons path to stardom, but to be classified as a must-read business book is a bit of a stretch.
Chris Wendel is an author, commercial lender, and business consultant living Traverse City. He can be reached at email@example.com.