Russell Simmons, author of 'Do You!'

Called the CEO of hip-hop, Russell Simmons co-founded the influential Def Jam records in the 1980s in a dorm room. Through that label and his various businesses—Phat Farm and Baby Phat clothing, jewelry, fragrance, television, movies and Broadway productions—Russell has helped transform hip-hop from a New York City subculture into a billion-dollar international lifestyle. His tycoon pal, Donald Trump, says he's one of the greatest entrepreneurs around.

Yet despite his lavish lifestyle, the 48-year-old yoga devotee and vegan says it's not the money that matters. Russell's book, Do You!: 12 Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success, seeks to impart his beliefs to the "hip-hop generation."

"It's the practice of listening to your inner voice," Russell says. "I think that all of us know that there's a source that connects all of us. You can call it God if you want, or whatever you call it, the idea is that there's a voice inside you. There's something that connects us all and when you're in touch with that, it allows you access to anything in the universe."
Oprah advised Russell Simmons to change the title of his book.

Do You! is full of Russell's spiritual beliefs in what it means to be successful and how one can attain that success. For instance, he explains that being a good leader means that you need to be, at heart, a servant. "When you're leading, you're making other people better. And when you're serving, your job is to play a role as a key player," he says. "To know that allows you the freedom to be a good leader and inspire people. That's what you're here for."

Being a good leader also means knowing when to take advice.

When Russell sent Oprah an advance copy of his book, it was titled Twelve Laws to Access the Power in You to Achieve Happiness and Success. "Do You!" was just the name of one of the chapters.

Oprah says she read about a hundred pages of it before making a phone call. "I said, 'Russell, I'm really digging your book. I think it's really good and it's going to reach a whole other generation of people who want to be successful. But it's inappropriately titled.' And he's like, 'What? Really?' And I said, 'I'm just telling you. You asked me for what my comments were. My comments are you need to change the title to Do You!'"

Russell says when he got off the phone with Oprah he realized that a title change was exactly what his book needed. "Your advice rang a bell, the minute you said it. Of course it's about that. It speaks better to my audience. It's really about the inner voice, so this is the perfect title," Russell says. "I called the publisher, … [and he] changed the title."
Russell Simmons says hip-hop is a spiritual community.

While some may think it's odd that a hip-hop mogul credits his success to spiritual connection achieved through yoga and meditation, Russell says it makes perfect sense.

"I think [hip-hop artists] are expressing things that sometimes we don't like to listen to. They're expressions are mirrors, sometimes, of what we do but then overlook. They bring it out," he says. "I think rappers are very spiritual people. I think the hip-hop community is a very spiritual community."

Russell says the international hip-hop community holds values that show they're "conscious of things that adults overlook. They're less sexist than their parents, they're less racist, they're less homophobic. They're less violent, believe it or not."

"The poets always get the fingers pointed at [them], because they express things that make people uncomfortable about their own nature or their own experience."
Russell Simmons practices yoga to stay centered.

Russell says that yoga, which he has practiced for 14 years, is how he stays spiritually connected. While many people think of yoga as getting into challenging pretzel-like positions, he says that's only a small part of it. In getting in those poses, Russell says, the most important thing is to remember to smile and breathe. "The grace that you get from smiling and breathing in every pose, if you take it off the mat and if you can remember to be connected to your breath, and to move gracefully through life, then that alone is a process that will bring you to enlightenment."

Yoga and meditation also keep Russell from focusing on material possessions. "Things sometimes clutter up your mind and separate you from what's important," he says. "I think that people think of happiness in terms of toys and success. … Success is really about a connection to that source."

"Let go of the noise," he says. "And when you let go there's only God."
Diane Warren is the most successful female songwriter of all time.

When Diane Warren was a child, her music teacher said she shouldn't sing and called her tone deaf. Her own mother begged her to give up her dreams and become a secretary. Thankfully, Diane didn't listen…and became the most successful female songwriter in history.

Diane has been nominated for six Oscars®, four Golden Globes® and nine Grammys®. She has written hits for almost every major modern pop singer—Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Barbra Streisand, Cher, Christina Aguilera, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Aerosmith, Mary J. Blige and Carrie Underwood!

In all, she has penned more than 90 top-10 hits. Her songs have been sold on more albums than the Beatles, Elton John and Elvis Presley combined—and her catalog of songs is worth $500 million!

Writing songs is no chore, Diane says. "It's breathing to me. I would die without doing it."
Songwriter Diane Warren gets inspiration from all over.

While many of her famous songs are love songs, Diane says inspiration comes from all sorts of sources. "I don't even know how it happens. It's kind of magical, the inspiration part. But then you have to work at it. It's like your antennas are up. It's like you're receiving information, ideas."

For "Because You Loved Me," written for Celine Dion, Diane tapped into inspiration that may surprise you.

"That song was actually thanking my dad. My mom didn't believe in me and wanted me to be a secretary. My dad believed," Diane says. "He's the one who took me to publishers. He's the one who got me a subscription to Billboard magazine when I was 14. He just never stopped believing in my dream, so I wrote 'Because You Loved Me'—it was my way to thank my dad."
Maternity clothing designer Liz Lange

In 1996, after listening to her pregnant friends' frequent complaints about frumpy maternity clothes, Liz Lange had an aha! moment. "I thought, there's something wrong here," she says. "I've got all these friends. They all want to shop, they need to shop. Obviously the clothing that's out there isn't working for them. So I had this idea that I could make fashionable maternity clothing."

She'd found an untapped market waiting to explode, but Liz—a former Vogue editor—had no real knowledge of how to make clothes. "I guess that's like 'Life Lesson Number One.' Don't feel like you need to be bogged down by the skill sets that you do or don't have," Liz says. "I couldn't sketch. I couldn't draw. But I think that the one talent, in my mind, was I feel like I had taste. Not to sound too immodest, [but] I felt I was good at knowing what would make people look good."

Though Liz says everyone told her a line of fashionable maternity clothes was a bad idea, she went ahead with her dream, and Liz Lange Maternity was born. Hollywood moms jumped on the bandwagon and showed off their beautiful bellies in her clothes. And with the Liz Lange for Target line, stylish pregnant moms are everywhere.

That's good news around Harpo because there's always someone who's pregnant. "We have a baby boom all the time," Oprah says.

Six Harpo staffers model Liz Lange's fashions.

Jonathan Adler has managed to single-handedly turn his passion for a humble craft into a multimillion dollar home furnishings empire. From the time he was 13, there was nothing Jonathan liked better than working with clay. But as he got older, Jonathan says he was discouraged from making pottery his career. "Most notably, I was discouraged by my pottery teacher in college," he says. "I went to her and I said, 'You know, do you think I have any talent? Could I do it?' And she was, like, 'No, I'm sorry. No talent.'"

Instead, Jonathan took a job as a talent agent after graduation. "I felt like an imposter because the true me was a potter," he says. Finally, 14 years ago, Jonathan summoned the courage to quit his job and make pottery full time. "Forget about that stupid teacher," he says. "I'm going to make the stuff I want to make and make it just for me."

Today, Jonathan has eight stores across the country and his products are also sold in department stores like Barney's. Did Jonathan ever imagine this kind of success? "I think my idea of success at the time would have just been hawking my wares at a rain-soaked craft fair," he says. "I wanted to just say something with pots. It never occurred to me in a ba-gillion years that I would get to do all this stuff."
Oprah and Jonathan Adler sit among some of his design creations.

Jonathan says he has one overall intention behind everything he designs. "I feel your home should make you happy," he says. "The real intention is to make stuff that's very personal, very idiosyncratic, and very uplifting."

When Jonathan started making pottery for a living, he made every single piece. "It was very, like, 'time to make the doughnuts,' if you remember that. I had to just make pot after pot," he says. Today, Jonathan still designs every single piece in his collection and makes the prototypes, but he hires artisans in developing countries to bring his creations to life through an organization called Aid to Artisans.

So is pottery still a calming activity for Jonathan? "Not really," he says. "People always ask me if it's calming and I say, you know, maybe when you're sort of doing it as a hobbyist, but when you're a production potter, not so calming."
Jonathan Adler shows Oprah how to work a pottery wheel.

Jonathan and Oprah share a Ghost-like moment when he shows her how to throw a pot. "I can understand why you like this," Oprah says. "It's very soothing."

Jonathan says the secret behind his success is simple—passion. "I think that the key is having an authentic passion and not having, like, a business plan and a whole, you know, grand scheme behind the whole thing," he says. "For me, it was just doing what I wanted to do."
FROM: The Secrets of My Big Success
Published on January 01, 2006


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