Gene Simmons wears a lot of hats. As a founding member of Rock and Roll Hall of Famers KISS, the God of Thunder has been rocking the world for the past 40 years, and has held lucrative side gigs in TV, film, investing and publishing. With over 100 million CDs and DVDs sold, KISS is also one of the biggest brands in music history, with over 3,000 licensed merchandised items.
Out today (Oct. 21) is his latest book, Me, Inc.: Build an Army of One, Unleash Your Inner Rock God, Win in Life and Business, in which Simmons— a Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award winner who emigrated to America from Israel when he was eight years old—shares his manifesto for business success. Inspired byThe Art of War, Me, Inc. is organized around thirteen specific, easy-to-understand principles for prosperity, drawn from Simmons’s own triumphs and failures to help you attain the freedom and wealth of your dreams. (And if you’d like to meet the author himself, check out our slideshow for upcoming dates of his book tour.)
In this exclusive interview, Simmons phoned me from his Beverly Hills home (where he was eagerly awaiting his advance copies of the book) to give his candid opinions on why young men shouldn’t get married, how his love for his mother cemented his work ethic, and what his wife Shannon Tweed really thinks about KISS.
What was the inspiration for this book?
Life, really. I’ll ask you this question and see if you can answer it. You went to high school, I presume.
What was the name of the class that prepared you for what you do now for a living?
I don’t believe there was one.
How about that? Because I didn’t have a class that prepared me for this or the restaurant business or the football business or being in a rock band or branding or the television business or the movie business or the corporate speaking things—none of it. There is no class for that. In essence, it whittles down to—although I didn’t understand it in those days—you have an inferred fiduciary duty to yourself, to learn people skills, language skills, have the right thing, be at the right place, and at the right time. And surround yourself with people who are smarter, not stupider, than you are. And get rid of all losers in your life and make smart life decisions.
Like, don’t get married, guys. Different rules for girls. Don’t get married in your early twenties—you’re an idiot; you’re still full of c—. You haven’t made your fortune, and why would you want to take on mortgages, kids, and, well, divorce—because statistics say you will get divorced—and in certain households of certain ethnic and/or racial groups, 80% of households don’t have a father; they run out. And if you’re of a certain religious belief, you might have ten kids. Why would you do that? When each child could cost a million dollars by the time they graduate college. A million dollars! That’s pretax; that means two million dollars per child at the highest tax rate—the highest tax rate just earn more than 250,000 dollars.
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