Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons

When I initially threw my hat in the ring for a bid at winning Russell Simmons Success Through Stillness: Meditation Made Simple I didn't think I'd be picked. Honestly, I wasn't hoping to be picked either. Not because I didn't want to read his book, but because I only requested entered into the giveaway off of name recognition. I'm too young to really have lived the impact RunDMC had on the hip-hop community, yet young enough to know the profound mark Russell Simmons has made on, not only music, but business in general. I've always known him to be a mogul who yells at the top of his lungs in that adorable lisp that some may find a reason not to take him serious. I knew better.

Suffice it to say, once I got the notification that I'd won a copy, I was beyond ecstatic. Although I allowed some time to pass before devoting time to this self help book, I feel that I've read it at the perfect time in my life. I'm working more than 50 hours at my job some weeks, and trying to maintain going to school part time. If anyone was in need of a few moments of stillness I would be that perfect candidate. Sure I'm not running a multi-million dollar company, in charge of a team that caters to my every need, nor am I a pop culture icon that has a huge platform to change the minds of the mass. I'm just me. An average person who's problem are just as important to me as Simmons are to him. Enough about me. I step off my soap box now.

Success Through Stillness is Russell Simmons plea to the world that meditation can solve many problems. He hails meditation as being the Holy Grail and that everyone should get in on the action. This self-help book is written with an excitement that is often lacking in other books in this genre. I felt as excited about beginning meditating as Simmons sounds encouraging me.

What is most appealing about this novel is that it's not just 200+ pages of "Uncle Rush" repeating and drilling the success of meditation into the heads of readers, although that does happen, he offers proof. It's clear and apparent that he researched the benefits of meditation and presented his findings in the most approachable terms as possible. In the beginning chapters, he mentions the science of the art of meditation by revealing how it changes the corpus colloseum and allows each hemisphere of the brain to communicate in a more productive manner with each other. I'm currently taking a Psychology class so these revelations made so much sense. Yet, if I had no knowledge of the brain and it's parts such as the Amygdala, or Frontal Lobe and their functions, the language is approachable and engaging.

Besides using a scientific approach, Simmons provides studies conducted on the brain of one who practices meditation and one who doesn't. Simmons provides articles naming some of the top psychologists and their proof of the meditating's benefits. I love that he doesn't think that readers aren't smart enough to know that his opinion alone isn't enough to drastically change their daily lives. Who really wants to devote 20 minutes twice a day to something that may or may not actually work? I know I don't. Free or not. Between work, school, my reviews, and life that seems like a huge undertaking.

If the scientific benefits of meditating was not enough, Russell Simmons does not waste an opportunity to name drop. I'm not mad at him. I would too if I had friends such as Deepak Chopra, Ellen Degeneres, and Oprah. He says they too accredit their ability to balance their lives in a productive manner is due to meditating. 

Because Success Through Stillness is so engaging and inspiring, I almost forgot to read it objectively. Once I came back down from cloud 9, after reading more than 85% of the book, I realized I was no closer to knowing how to meditate than when I open the book. I bet you're saying there's nothing to it. Just sit in a lotus position and mumble some mumbo-jumbo. I'm a little more technical and in need of direction than others. And I only came to this conclusion when one of my co-workers passed my cube and asked me if the book I was reading was good. I answered "Yes!" Without hesitation. And then I said aloud "but I'm no closer to knowing how to meditate than when I began the book."

Ultimately, all concerns were rectified and I'm confident in having the tools needed to begin meditating. I appreciate Russell Simmons for writing this book along with Chris Morrow. Meditation was never on my list of things to try until reading Success Through Stillness. Meditation is worth the try. Essentially, it's just like Simmons says, I risk nothing in trying it except an enlightenment I've never experienced before. ****

Copy provided through Penguin Group via a Goodreads Giveaway

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