Series: "Business Leaders"

Russell Simmons CoverWith covers that feature photos of their subjects set against a background of dollar bills, these books are strong resources for reports and may catch the eye of entrepreneurial-minded students. Baughan describes Simmonsís childhood in Queens, NY, his college days as a rap promoter, his teen years when he was involved with drugs, his early efforts as a music producer, business collaborations, and media empire (Def Jam Records, film production, Phat Farm clothing, etc.). Related events and personalities (e.g., the murders of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur) round out the depiction of the ěMogul of Rapísî influence and the general cultural climate. The narrative ends with his creation of the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network and 2006 appointment as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador. The second title takes a similar approach, addressing Jobsís California childhood, early collaborations with Steve Wozniak (especially their 1976 founding of Apple Computer), 1985 resignation from Apple and return a decade later, and 1986 purchase of Pixar. Personal details include his tyrannical management style, his search for his biological parents, and his remarkable recovery from pancreatic cancer. The text concludes with the successful debut of the iPhone in 2007. Both volumes contain full-color photos that add visual appeal, sidebars about related topics, and helpful time lines. These are not tabloid-style pop biographies, but serious and balanced overviews of the sometimes-troubled lives of empire builders.

-School Library Journal Review, on Business Leaders : Russell Simmons and Business Leaders : Steve Jobs part of the Business Leaders series. (August 2008)