With an estimated net worth of $380 million, KISS’ Gene Simmons is the epitome of a music entrepreneur.
Making connections, seeking opportunities, setting goals, cutting deals, and most importantly taking actions on his plans, even at 70 years old, Simmons is a force to reckon with.
Name a venture, project idea or merchandising opportunity, and he’s probably tried his hand at it. Many of his projects have ended as spectacular failures. Just enough have become runaway successes for him to amass a fortune.
(This horse alone is worth beating to a pulp, as most of us seem to have an invisible threshold for rejection and failure.)
Anyway, it shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that Simmons has even jumped headlong into the writing and publishing game and has done quite well at it besides (the Kisstory series of books stand as a monumental achievement all their own).
This brings us to the topic of this post – Sex Money Kiss (affiliate link) – not the only book Simmons has penned, but a good one, to be sure.
The Writing – Tone, Voice, Quality
From the opening paragraphs, it’s clear that this was not a highly polished, slick, ghostwritten book (like the ones I produce), but rather a tome developed from the ground up emphasizing the perspective of the author, in his own voice. To that extent, some minor typos (I always find them) are forgivable, too.
Surprisingly, I found Simmons’ voice to be matter of fact and fatherly – someone willingly dispensing important life lessons he’s learned on his journey as if to a child. Of course, this could be my bias about fathers as much as anything else.
Perhaps you might expect a harsher tone from someone with such a steely gaze, but no, author and marketing guru Dan Kennedy has far harsher words to say about “common folk” in his marketing books (which I delight in like a little schoolgirl – “dialog with the dead”, I laughed my ass off).
Speaking of Kennedy, it was because of his Speak To Sell (affiliate link) book that I even learned about this seminal work by KISS’ tongue-wiggling Demon.
Getting back to that writing piece, the reader would be well-advised that in Sex Money Kiss, Simmons dedicates entire chapters to his philosophy regarding relationships and marriage, and even goes off on numerous tangents about his various side projects at will (especially in the afterword section, which isn’t coherently organized).
For the most part, the reader isn’t worse off for this, however, as it just means more time in the mind of one of the most successful rockers of all time.
Pros – Powerful Discoveries You Can Make Reading This Book
A classroom full of kids could read the same book and come away with 30 distinct opinions and thoughts on what they just read.
So, what you’re going to get from reading it (should you choose to), is probably going to be different from what I got out of it.
Still, I thought I would share the key things I found most beneficial. Let’s get into it.
His Mindset Around Money & How He Made His Fortune
If you don’t know how Simmons amassed his fortune, then this book will likely make it clear. And, should you choose to follow the principles outlined, I have no doubt you’d also be able to make more than you’re making now.
Having gone into this reading with an open mind, I discovered a great deal for myself around money.
And, just last night, I must have stayed up until 5:30 AM tossing and turning, reading the book, writing down project ideas I’d either abandoned or had yet to finish (along with new ideas I wanted to give a try), until finally I finished reading the book.
I couldn’t get to sleep anyway, but truth be told, the book was that good.
If you can’t seem to generate enough ideas, this book should get you pointed in the right direction.
His Beliefs Around Failure
Simmons has been described as “delusional”, and I think he’s even referred to himself in that manner.
But his mindset towards failure is something we can all learn from. And, the way he talks about his projects (e.g. this hasn’t happened yet, but it will – just you watch), is how we should all talk about our projects as musicians – with confidence and sureness.
I don’t know if Simmons is fearless, but he certainly appears that way. He chooses not to use assistants, makes his own phone calls, and in practically every way possible, cuts out the middlemen so he can extract the greatest profit and value possible from every project launch. And, he sets himself up not to lose, something the best entrepreneurs and investors do.
When something fails, it fails. It doesn’t stop him.
It shouldn’t stop us either, even though the results can appear catastrophic and heartbreaking, especially when we’re new to failure.
Dust yourself off. Pick up. Move on. Take another chance. You won’t hit a homerun every time. Simmons doesn’t either.
His Philosophy Around Relationships & Marriage
This content is probably a “take it or leave it” scenario, but Simmons is a truth teller of the highest order, and, no one is going to stop him from enlightening you on how men and women are different, or how marriage is a financial transaction first and foremost.
Truth be told, it’s nothing you haven’t heard before if you’ve watched Gene Simmons Family Jewels (of which I mostly have fond memories), but it certainly challenges the status quo, and the way most people were brought up to think about relationships and marriage.
Either way, I still came away feeling like I discovered something important while reading.
Cons – Minor Nitpicks
Overall, I think the book is great. It’s not perfect, and most books aren’t.
Whether you agree or disagree with Simmons’ philosophy is kind of moot, assuming you get something for yourself out of the reading.
As a reviewer, however, if I painted the rosiest of pictures about the book, merely because I wanted to extract your money, would be to do you, the potential reader, a major disservice.
So, I’ll offer a few nitpicks here:
It’s Kind of Long
The book has a total of 264 pages. I’m not sure exactly how many words that amounts to (it can vary based on font size and formatting), but I would guess it’s probably in the 80,000 range. Translation – this is not a short read.
And, while I do believe in staying with ideas for longer, as a book prompts you to do (there’s immense benefit to this), there’s a bit of an enough already factor at work here.
Again, this is just one man’s opinion, and you may feel otherwise, should you explore the resource for yourself. But you shouldn’t expect any less when you leave Gene at a typewriter.
Again, I think most of his tangents are fine and even entertaining.
The only trouble is that he kind of ends up repeating in the main text what he has already established in sidebars.
Who said writing was easy, anyway? It’s not. I make mistakes all the time.
But if nothing else, the tangents are often accompanied by photos and images, so that keeps the book moving along.
His Philosophy Around Relationships & Marriage
I guess you could say this is a double-edged sword.
If you’ve got an open mind, you’re bound to learn something from Simmons’ perspective. At the same time, some readers are probably going to get their panties in a bunch and aren’t going to get passed these early chapters (which, to be honest, is unfortunate, because he brought the goods here).
Let me put it this way – he stated his opinion clearly, but he didn’t necessarily need to spend so much time on it.
Final Thoughts on Sex Money Kiss
In all, I probably got through Sex Money Kiss in a matter of three or four days. Considering its length, that’s impressive. It means it held me captive for longer stretches of time.
The last book that had that kind of effect on me was Tim Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Workweek (affiliate link).
Likely, you’re not going to love everything about the fire-breathing, bass-slinging Demon’s book. It offers several counterintuitive ways of looking at the world.
Arguably, entrepreneurs necessarily need to look at the world a little differently to effectively insert themselves into their chosen market, but that doesn’t mean you need Gene’s lean, mean, paradigm shifting machine.
Still, if you need a serious kick in the butt, as we all do from time to time, then I would posit that Sex Money Kiss (affiliate link) is the next book you need to put on your night stand, crack open, and only come up for air as required.