Most helpful critical review
58 of 74 people found the following review helpful
Great Laws, Poor Justifications
on September 5, 2007
I can't argue much with Russell's 12 Laws (if you can even call them Russell's, since he readily admits that most of them originate in the various religious traditions and writings of the world). They are all tight and worth applying in your personal and professional life. What I can argue with are some of the anecdotes that go along with his laws.
For example, when he talks about not allowing money to influence your decisions, he tells the story of how Pepsi pulled out of distributing his drink, DefCon3, because he criticized KFC's treatment of chicken. It is easy for a multimillionaire to turn down more millions, but how can you compare that to some of the difficult decisions that regular people are faced with each day? I bet he wasn't so high and mighty when he was trying to break into the business. He also preaches against eating meat and certain foods and eating more organic products because it is cruel to eat animals (ignoring the fact that human biology is designed for the consumption of vegetables AND meat). Unfortunately, many of his readers are probably young hip-hop kids who can't afford to shop at Whole Foods for the higher priced, healthier foods on his menu.
The other glaring issue is how he continues to give rappers a free pass to put out crappy music that degrades women and Black people as a whole. As one of the first promoters and producers of commercial hip-hop music, Russ is uniquely qualified to support artists while simultaneously challenging them to make more thoughtful and creative music, but he seems to be to afraid to lose his credibility with them. Unfortunately for him, since hip-hop's origins are so rooted in being open and honest in the face of the American power structure, he has already lost credibility with many fans for his failure to keep it real.
Russell's book is good, but it would have been great if he remembered his audience and gave advice that was more applicable to their circumstances.