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Surprising Science

Russell Simmons: Serial Entrepreneur

What makes Russell Simmons so successful in business and philanthropy? The serial entrepreneur shares his strategy on turning an idea into a successful enterprise.

What’s the Latest Development?


Russell Simmons, co-founder of Def Jam recordings, is a quintessential serial entrepreneur. Currently he is pushing hard to buy a television network which would augment his already impressive line of businesses and charitable organizations. Among them is a health foods company and financial services bank meant to benefit poor communities. He says a little madness accompanies his method: “I start a business and no one understands it. I work the hardest and then somebody else comes along and they start to get it.”

What’s the Big Idea?

How does Russell manage to do so well with so many distinct enterprises? There is a strong spiritual element running through his personal philosophy which emphasizes self-respect and community service. “Everyday, no matter what, I leave and go to yoga. I take care of my first shakra. You take care of yourself so you can serve others. … As you evolve you learn that you are more connected to the eye behind the eyes, as much as you can, than the stuff on the outside. The things on the outside have nothing to do with happiness.”


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