Brief Book Review: Success through Stillness

By Russell Simmons

Think of your mind as like one of those snow globes you used to play with as a kid. When you’d shake them up, the snow would be everywhere and it would kind of obscure what was inside the globe. But when you just let the globe be still, eventually all the snow would settle down to the bottom and you could clearly see what was inside it. When you use meditation to allow your mind to be still, it’s the same thing. Eventually all the distractions are going to settle down and you’ll be able to see clearly what’s inside of you.

I reserve a healthy scepticism for books that sport a beaming author on the cover promising success. So it was with bated breath that I picked up Success through Stillness by Russell Simmons.

While Success through Stillness does have undertones of icky American commercialism, Simmons skilfully rattles off the myriad benefits of meditation while deconstructing the personal barriers that prevent one starting.

For those looking for a how-to guide to meditation, let me save you some time:

The practice of meditation is about as simple and effortless as it gets. All it involves is sitting for twenty minutes twice a day with your eyes closed.

However it’s often not a lack of knowing that prevents us from forming a new habit (no matter how much we like to think it is). It’s the voice of resistance that throws up excuses for inaction, such as ‘I’m too busy’ and ‘I’m no good at it’. Simmons rightly focusses on these excuses in his book, and addresses the question ‘why meditate’ before ‘how to meditate’.

For me, reading Success through Stillness was a meditative experience in itself, and became the first book I would reach to in many a spare moment. Simmons’ thought-provoking and accessible writing style weaves personal stories of struggle and conflict with insightful lessons gleaned from a simple practise.

I approached Success through Stillness already familiar with meditation and its benefits. This makes it hard to judge how the book’s core arguments would be received by a more sceptical audience: there might be a few raised eyebrows at passages praising meditation for fostering world peace. Nonetheless, Success through Stillness is a great starting point for those looking to understand the value found in meditation.

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