Monday, August 22, 2016

Classic Book Review: Gene Simmons - Sex, Money, Kiss

13 years ago, Gene Simmons released his second book, Sex Money Kiss. It was the follow up to his best-selling autobiography, Kiss and Make Up. While his first book was a pure autobiography, for book number two, Simmons went in a bit of a different direction, combining biographical elements, with personal finance advice, lifestyle advice, and even relationship advice.

Sex Money Kiss is an enjoyable read filled with tongue-in-cheek humor and interesting behind the scenes looks at the business side of the music industry. Gene takes us on his personal finance/business/music career journey that started at a very young age when he would buy comics in bulk and weed out the valuable ones for resale. His entrepreneurial mind was working at an early age and never stopped.

Simmons goes into detail about projects he’s worked on over the years, both successes and failures and explains how each takes the same amount of time and commitment. The same amount of energy will be put into failures as successes. In order to succeed, one must possess the “never give up” mentality, knowing that eventually one of the ideas is going to strike gold. Simmons also spends a lot of time discussing work ethic and work habits. He provides sound advice about dedicating oneself to their work for the agreed upon time that one is working. He also preaches that if overtime is available, take it. If there is an opportunity to work weekends, seize it. The nights will still be free to do whatever you want, but while there is a chance to earn money during the day, do it.

The years of KISS are covered throughout Sex Money Kiss as well. From their humble beginnings to their mega farewell tour, Simmons discusses what was happening in the background to make the career of KISS such a success. He details how he was involved in a lot of the business side of things in order to get a better understanding on where the money was going and who was actually pocketing it. From dealing with promoters, to distributors, to record executives, Simmons tried to be involved with as much as possible. As he states several times throughout the book, “No one knows YOU better than you.” It is important to be involved in these aspects of your life. And while he was discussing it from a music industry perspective, the advice is applicable in all of our daily lives. How much involvement do we really have in our own investments?

Failed ventures are well documented in Sex Money Kiss also. From a KISS sneaker line, to unmade movies, Simmons discusses all of the projects that he is or was working on and their various stages of success and while ultimately some of them never came to market. He also discusses his own personal involvement in negotiating the terms for all of these projects, which ultimately led to more money into the band’s (and his) pocket. And while a lot of it may appear that Simmons is bragging about all of his successes, there is much more that can be read into these stories. It is an inspirational read meant to fire the reader up to take charge in their own lives. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Work and work hard, while pursuing a fun hobby that may eventually turn into a career. And always pursue a way to get paid for what you are doing. And make sure that you are paid well for it.

Overall, Sex Money Kiss is an enjoyable read filled with solid advice on relationships, work, and money. And while most of it may be taken with a grain of salt and admired from a far perspective, Sex Money Kiss has plenty of good advice throughout. It also serves as a companion to Kiss and Make Up, giving more details to certain stories that happened throughout the career of Gene Simmons. If you are a fan of KISS, the music industry, or if you are looking for a light read on saving and investing money, I highly recommend that you seek out the classic gem, Sex Money Kiss.

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