I must confess to taking receipt of The Kernel’s copy of Success… Or Your Money Back with a degree of scepticism – a reasonable position to adopt when presented with a self-help book enveloped in a cover design that looks like it came from the fevered mind of Donald Trump and written by Shed Simove, a man with, as Google images will quickly reveal, an unsettling penchant for very shiny suits.
My dubiety was tempered, however, by the aureola of notoriety Mr Simove has gained following his successful forays into the novelty gift market. If it was ever worth paying attention to someone’s secrets to success, the inventor of the Martin Loofah King Exfoliating Glove (Slogan: “I have a clean”) and bestselling author of What Every Man Thinks About Apart From Sex (a 200-page blank book that reached #44 on the Amazon charts) seemed like a better bet than most.
The book itself is a collection of thirty bite-sized chapters, or, in self-help book speak, “secrets”, which range from the obligatory “Two neat tricks for motivating yourself” to the intriguing “Why you’ll soon find other people’s sweat wildly attractive”. The chapters themselves are concise and written with wit, a quality that many of the books sharing a shelf with this book in Waterstones lack.
If you can take the salubrious lashings of Zig Ziglarisms that are strewn in bold throughout the text such as ALL HUMAN ACHIEVEMENT HAS COME FROM AN IDEA IN SOMEONE’S HEAD and IT’S CALLED A ‘MISTAKE’ BECAUSE YOU ALWAYS ‘TAKE’ SOMETHING FROM IT in the same spirit as the gold foil lettering on the cover, it in fact makes for an enjoyable read.
The book is stuffed, as I believe to be obligatory in this genre, with caffeine-fuelled, bouncing-off-the-walls type optimism, but its prescriptions are grounded in experience. Less positive thinking, more realistic thinking. Simove deconstructs the process of assessing and accepting risk, while neatly demonstrating the advantages this brings to the aspiring entrepreneur.
Or, in shiny-suited motivational speaker parlance: “Everything might not be all right, but as long as you’ve considered how things might not go as planned, and decided that you could deal with those outcomes, then the way ahead in wonderfully clear for you to start making your new target happen.”
There is no doubting that Mr Simove is a master at getting himself noticed. After all, you don’t get a blank book onto the bestseller lists without a certain aptitude for generating publicity. Talking loudly about yourself is an essential skill for an entrepeneur, possessed naturally by a few but lacking in most, particularly in self-effacing Europe.
As a step-by-step guide to releasing your inner Kardashian, this book is a revelation, with Simove doing a sterling job of convincing even the most reticent of wallflowers that self-promotion is an essential art that can be successfully cultivated. Or, as the title suggests, you can have your money back.
In a world full of entrepreneurs wondering where the funding for their new social experience app is going to come from, it is cheering to have the noble art of coming up with a truly original idea, making it a reality then selling it championed. You might groan at Simove’s packets of Clitoris Allsorts gobstoppers, but he’s sold more of them than some social networks have active users.
Simove’s aim is to convince you that turning an idea into reality is as simple as just doing it. On that count, he is himself alarmingly successful. Indeed, he’s inspired me to finally start writing my own magnum opus: What Every Woman Thinks About Apart from Shopping.