Secret to Russell Simmons’ success: meditation 

Hip-hop mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons is a busy man — and he starts his day by sitting still.

Simmons is coming to Book Passage in San Francisco next week to promote his new book, “Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple.” It’s an easy-to-read guide that explains why meditation is such a powerful tool for success and happiness.

“When the mind is noisy, we miss the beauty in the world,” Simmons says. “When the mind is settled we see nothing but beauty. It’s pretty simple.”

Simmons recommends meditating for 20 minutes, twice a day. He’s been doing it for more than 15 years (and now meditates with his two daughters).

The benefits are numerous: lower stress, better health, better eating habits, sharper focus and improvement in your career. Simmons should know: besides being co-founder of Def Jam Recordings and creating Phat Farm and other clothing lines, he’s a best-selling author. His net worth is estimated at more than $300 million.

The San Francisco Unified School District uses “quiet time” with middle school students and is reaping the benefits. Simmons wants to see programs in every school across the nation to help kids deal with the challenges they face.

“I want to make it mandatory in schools,” he says. “I want every kid to sit in silence.”

The book — with sales proceeds going to charity — speaks directly to people who insist they are too busy to meditate or don’t have the right place. It can happen anywhere, in a car or even in a bathroom. And yes, you can use your smartphone to set the timer to let you know when you’re done.

Simmons says one reason he wrote the book is because so many people told him that the chapter on meditation in his book “Super Rich” had changed their lives — and they wanted more information. Meditation is more mainstream than people realize, he says, pointing out that Oprah Winfrey, Jerry Seinfeld and other well-known figures do it.

One thing meditation does require, he says, is patience.

Think about doing pushups, Simmons explains. Doing just one doesn’t build any muscle, but doing pushups for several weeks or months will.

“I promise you that after a few months of consistent practice, instead of thinking, ‘Man, how am I going to find time to meditate today?’ It’s going to be a given that you’re going to meditate. You might wonder how you’ll find time to fit some other activities into your day, but meditation is always going to be at the top of your priority list.”


Russell Simmons

Where: Book Passage, 1 Ferry Building, S.F.

When: 5 p.m. Monday

Tickets: Free

Contact: (415) 835-1020,

Book notes

Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple

By Russell Simmons with Chris Morrow

Published by Gotham

Pages 224

Price $20

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Cathy Bowman

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