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Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

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"Oh, screw it, let's do it." That's the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal "Oh, screw it, let's do it." That's the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none. Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that "since we're complete virgins at business, let's call it just that: Virgin." Since then, Branson has written his own "rules" for success, creating a group of companies with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy. Many of Richard Branson's companies--airlines, retailing, and cola are good examples--were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, "Don't do it." But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent. And in this stressed-out, overworked age, Richard Branson gives us a new model: a dynamic, hardworking, successful entrepreneur who lives life to the fullest. Family, friends, fun, and adventure are equally important as business in Branson's life. Losing My Virginity is a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories: Crash-landing his hot-air balloon in the Algerian desert, yet remaining determined to have another go at being the first to circle the globe Signing the Sex Pistols, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Boy George, and Phil Collins Fighting back when British Airways took on Virgin Atlantic and successfully suing this pillar of the British business establishment Swimming two miles to safety during a violent storm off the coast of Mexico Selling Virgin Records to save Virgin Atlantic Staging a rescue flight into Baghdad before the start of the Gulf War . . . And much more. Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P. T. Barnum.


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"Oh, screw it, let's do it." That's the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal "Oh, screw it, let's do it." That's the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none. Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that "since we're complete virgins at business, let's call it just that: Virgin." Since then, Branson has written his own "rules" for success, creating a group of companies with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy. Many of Richard Branson's companies--airlines, retailing, and cola are good examples--were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, "Don't do it." But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent. And in this stressed-out, overworked age, Richard Branson gives us a new model: a dynamic, hardworking, successful entrepreneur who lives life to the fullest. Family, friends, fun, and adventure are equally important as business in Branson's life. Losing My Virginity is a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories: Crash-landing his hot-air balloon in the Algerian desert, yet remaining determined to have another go at being the first to circle the globe Signing the Sex Pistols, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Boy George, and Phil Collins Fighting back when British Airways took on Virgin Atlantic and successfully suing this pillar of the British business establishment Swimming two miles to safety during a violent storm off the coast of Mexico Selling Virgin Records to save Virgin Atlantic Staging a rescue flight into Baghdad before the start of the Gulf War . . . And much more. Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P. T. Barnum.

30 review for Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

  1. 4 out of 5

    Otis Chandler

    I learned two major things from this book: the power of branding, and the fact that Richard Branson has balls of solid steel. Branson is one of the great entrepreneurs of our era, and it was truly inspiring to hear his story in his own words. A kid who skipped college and dove straight into business, and time and time again proved he can succeed with a lot of will, determination, and his maverick ability to take big bets and win. Bransons' success is nothing short of inspirational. I had no idea I learned two major things from this book: the power of branding, and the fact that Richard Branson has balls of solid steel. Branson is one of the great entrepreneurs of our era, and it was truly inspiring to hear his story in his own words. A kid who skipped college and dove straight into business, and time and time again proved he can succeed with a lot of will, determination, and his maverick ability to take big bets and win. Bransons' success is nothing short of inspirational. I had no idea until reading this how powerful the Virgin brand is, or how many businesses they have gone into. They effectively function like a VC, except they also lend their brand (and perhaps some infrastructure too). Each business is a subsidiary, given its leaders the freedom to move fast and achieve their goals without being slown down by needing permission from the mother ship. This is brilliant. Many of the businesses also complement each other in profitable ways - such as how Virgin Travel and Virgin Atlantic complemented each other. Branson is a risk-taker. When Virgin Records was about to run out of cash, instead of scraping what he had left to limp on, he scraped it together to make a big bet. It's kind of like going all-in in poker when your chips are getting low - better than losing slowly! "I have always believed that the only way to cope with a cash crisis is not to contract but to try to expand out of it." But the difference with Branson is that he didn't take the risks blindly. When he started the airlines he spent considerable effort leasing the airline for 1 year and limiting his downside. It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside." One thing I loved about Branson, is he was not afraid to bluff. This was first illustrated early in the book when, learning about a plot to force him out of Student, he acted pre-emptively and told the leader that he had already switched the teams mind - when instead he had no idea how far along the plot actually was. We see this time and time again - Branson is able to divine where things are going, and negotiate on points he isn't even wholly sure about. Branson detailed a lot of his crazy ballooning adventures, which I wasn't so into. I wanted to hear how he built Virgin. Although I did appreciate that his passion for ballooning did lead to several advances in airplane technology. The end of the book went into a lot of detail of how Branson is giving back to the world - which I respect a lot - any billionaire worth their salt should do that, but it was great to see him embrace the challenges with the same zeal he embrace business. From climate change to Virgin Fuel to Virgin Galactic, Branson is thinking hard about our planet and where its going and how to get us there. And of course, if Virgin Fuel does well it will only help his airline business - so not a bad bet.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arup

    "I am yet to read an autobiography of an entrepreneur, which has been written so magnetically. It feels like that I was very much a part of Sir Richard Branson's journey from his boyhood to being one of century's most successful and chic business man, who happens to be having his feet firmly entrenched on the ground. Richard's humble beginning and the numerous sticky situations that he got into during the initial period of his entrepreneurial endeavors, did not deter him from reaching the awesom "I am yet to read an autobiography of an entrepreneur, which has been written so magnetically. It feels like that I was very much a part of Sir Richard Branson's journey from his boyhood to being one of century's most successful and chic business man, who happens to be having his feet firmly entrenched on the ground. Richard's humble beginning and the numerous sticky situations that he got into during the initial period of his entrepreneurial endeavors, did not deter him from reaching the awesome heights that he has reached today. A must read for all entrepreneurs, students, executives, bureaucrats and politicians. "

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jason Navallo

    One of the best autobiographies I've ever read! Liked it so much that I actually used it as a source in my book, Thrive: 30 Inspirational Rags-to-Riches Stories. One of the best autobiographies I've ever read! Liked it so much that I actually used it as a source in my book, Thrive: 30 Inspirational Rags-to-Riches Stories.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vitalijus Sostak

    I was disappointed by this book, probably because my expectations about it heavily differed from the actual delivery that was intentional, by design. This book is about personal journey through life, reminiscences about author's businesses, partners and major victories/battles. A significant part of the book is comprised of author's dangerous grand travels on sea and in the air; the last third of the book is devoted solely to personal travel diary. Disappointingly for me, this book is NOT about I was disappointed by this book, probably because my expectations about it heavily differed from the actual delivery that was intentional, by design. This book is about personal journey through life, reminiscences about author's businesses, partners and major victories/battles. A significant part of the book is comprised of author's dangerous grand travels on sea and in the air; the last third of the book is devoted solely to personal travel diary. Disappointingly for me, this book is NOT about how exactly Branson arrived at his strategic decisions, what were the reasons for his biggest failures/lessons, what are his recommendations about starting up and running businesses. Almost no concrete insight into practical side of the business, in other words - a strange result of writing a businessman's biography! This book should has been titled "Mr R. Branson's extreme travel adventures with some other memories thrown in" with subtitle "No insight into his tremendous entrepreneurial skills whatsoever."

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erwin

    Loosing My Virginity Excellent autobiography. Mr. Branson has a lot in common with Sam Walton and Ray Crock, except Mr. Branson has a more magnetic personality that he's used to his advantage in the age of mass media. Like all great men, he is a man of his time, and used his adventurous rebellious persona to promote himself and his brand. His story is insightful, motivational, and more importantly - useful. Like Walton and Crock, Branson's growth always was happening with bankers in the background Loosing My Virginity Excellent autobiography. Mr. Branson has a lot in common with Sam Walton and Ray Crock, except Mr. Branson has a more magnetic personality that he's used to his advantage in the age of mass media. Like all great men, he is a man of his time, and used his adventurous rebellious persona to promote himself and his brand. His story is insightful, motivational, and more importantly - useful. Like Walton and Crock, Branson's growth always was happening with bankers in the background knocking at his door - up until he sold Virgin records for over $1B USD (mostly cash) and therefore had the solid collateral to borrow and do whatever he wanted. There aren't many lessons for an entrepreneur to learn from Branson's post "Virgin Records" sale, and he admits that --- few are ever fortunate enough to make it to that scale. However, he points out many practical, no nonsense management ideas. Most importantly, Branson always focused on his employees, on working hard and having fun, and on living up to high business standards - even when British Airways actually hired private investigators and PR teams to destroy his image, creditability and ultimately his ability to finance Virgin Airlines. If you need another reminder to: SCREW IT, LET'S DO IT - then give Branson's autobiography a read. I'll definitely re-read this one some day.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Usman Hickmath

    How a dyslexic boy who did not perform well in school went onto become one of the most successful businessmen ever? In his autobiography, Branson takes us through his adventurous, flamboyant life and shows us nothing is impossible. Even with over 600 pages, it never felt boring or slow. Definitely one of the most interesting autobiographies to read. It is full of exciting events, adventures and fun written in a very exciting manner.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ankur

    I hv long admired branson, so in 2000, when i saw this book at a footpath wala in CP in Delhi, i immediately latched on to it! The book is an immensely enjoyable, almost no holds barred autobiography of Branson's mercurial rise from a school drop out to the owner of Virgin Atlantic and many other companies, n how he kept building n rebuilding his businesses despite all odds. Branson has spared nobody, including himself, nor has he let go of any chance to remember those who stood by him! However, i I hv long admired branson, so in 2000, when i saw this book at a footpath wala in CP in Delhi, i immediately latched on to it! The book is an immensely enjoyable, almost no holds barred autobiography of Branson's mercurial rise from a school drop out to the owner of Virgin Atlantic and many other companies, n how he kept building n rebuilding his businesses despite all odds. Branson has spared nobody, including himself, nor has he let go of any chance to remember those who stood by him! However, i was fascinated by the open accounts of drugs and free love that he mention - for a 20 yr old small town (i am from allahabad, which is as conservative as the best of 'em) male, this was an eye opener. here was this chap who quit school (we cant even miss extra tuition, and then by his efforts had now become known as 1 of the poster boys of entrepreneurship, and look at the fun he has had all the time! by god, this was the life to be lived! Again, a recommended textbook for all the constipated (do i mean conservative?) frogs in the well that a lot of my generation (and all of our parents' i ges)remain! For the rest, just go read it - its roaring fun! :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

    What struck me most in the book is 'Virgin is not a big group - it's a big brand made up of lots of small companies. Our priorities are the opposite of our large competitors'. Convention dictates that a company should look after its shareholders first, its customers next, and last of all worry about its employees. Virgin does the opposite. For us, our employees matter most. It just seems common sense to me that, if you start off with a happy, well-motivated workforce, you are much more likely to What struck me most in the book is 'Virgin is not a big group - it's a big brand made up of lots of small companies. Our priorities are the opposite of our large competitors'. Convention dictates that a company should look after its shareholders first, its customers next, and last of all worry about its employees. Virgin does the opposite. For us, our employees matter most. It just seems common sense to me that, if you start off with a happy, well-motivated workforce, you are much more likely to have happy customers. And in due course, the resulting profits will make your shareholders happy.' Nothing more to add. I share this axiom to the utmost! А вообще... Читала в переводе, притом, в любительском, сокращенном и весьма посредственном... Так что переводчика на мыло, а Р. Брэнсону за его "философию" готова пожать руку )

  9. 5 out of 5

    BookOfCinz

    WOW. Richard Branson rocked my world with this book. I've learned so much about entrepreneurship, branding, risk and what it takes to succeed just from reading this book. Its amazing to read a story of a drop out who went on to change the world. This is a must read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    What type of person would you imagine Richard Branson to be? That's exactly how he came across in his auto-biography. Cheeky and sensationalist. It was interesting to read how his businesses developed and how he sought to take on the big dogs, namely British Airways and GTech lottery. The hot air balloon adventures were also fascinating. Branson is dyslexic, which gives insight into his business success. His brain had to develop ways to 'get around the system' to function properly in life and scho What type of person would you imagine Richard Branson to be? That's exactly how he came across in his auto-biography. Cheeky and sensationalist. It was interesting to read how his businesses developed and how he sought to take on the big dogs, namely British Airways and GTech lottery. The hot air balloon adventures were also fascinating. Branson is dyslexic, which gives insight into his business success. His brain had to develop ways to 'get around the system' to function properly in life and school. This system of innovative thought is second nature or instinct to Branson. He oftentimes referred to the fact that he can size up a business proposal or person in the first 30 seconds. I attribute this to how his brain developed ways to cope with dyslexia. The last 100 pages were rambling and boring. A semi-interesting read that makes me want to give Virgin Airways a try at least once.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Hazel

    I thought this book was good. Although he's probably sensationalising quite a lot of it, there's no doubt the book left me feeling inspired - feeling like anything was possible, whatever your background. Definitely a motivational book: great if you're slightly doubting your ability to be an entrepreneur. The message of the book is certainly reach for the stars, no matter how cloudy the sky - the stars are much closer than you think.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Salzer

    Review: Entertaining and interesting read where Branson shares his and Virgins story to stardom as well as sharing how he survived everything from drowning, freezing and falling to his death during his many grand adventures around the world. I admire what Branson has accomplished through hard work, wit, and vision, yet his formula for success might not be one to live by since chances are that you simply won't live very long following it. Joking aside, the world could do well having more business Review: Entertaining and interesting read where Branson shares his and Virgins story to stardom as well as sharing how he survived everything from drowning, freezing and falling to his death during his many grand adventures around the world. I admire what Branson has accomplished through hard work, wit, and vision, yet his formula for success might not be one to live by since chances are that you simply won't live very long following it. Joking aside, the world could do well having more business leaders like Sir Richard Branson and I recommend any young entrepreneur to read this book. Big thought: Branson writes that "if you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside.” He gives examples of this time and time again, from his eventually successful Virgin Airlines venture to his not so successful Virgin Cola. With protected downside risk much can still be gained, but little will be lost. Favorite quote: “Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I've done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin's success. I am aware that the ideas of business as being fun and creative goes right against the grain of convention, and it's certainly not how they teach it at some of those business schools, where business means hard grind and lots of 'discounted cash flows' and net' present values'.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cheese

    Surprisingly a very interesting and informative biography of Branson. This was the audio book and Richard narrated it thank god. The battle between BA and Virgin Atlantic is very juicy and his life in general was non-stop interesting.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Just too boring to waste my time reading. I kept waiting for something inspirational - lost me around page 75. There are just so many other books out there from which I can actually learn something.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stefani

    Possibly the best autobiography I've ever read.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Greg Hopper

    More of a narrative of his life than anything useful for other people. What worked for Richard Branson probably ONLY works for Richard Branson. Entertaining.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Saurabh Hooda

    Richard Branson - the name itself invokes a vivid figure of liveliness, merriment and live life like king size attitude. His autobiography takes you through his entrepreneurial student life, his heady cash strapped days of Virgin Music expansion, his love life, his decision making process, his cross roads in life, his struggles, his failures, his mega successes, his battles and much more. The book presents Richard'��s candor, anecdotes and his attitude on platter to relish. I was surprised to kn Richard Branson - the name itself invokes a vivid figure of liveliness, merriment and live life like king size attitude. His autobiography takes you through his entrepreneurial student life, his heady cash strapped days of Virgin Music expansion, his love life, his decision making process, his cross roads in life, his struggles, his failures, his mega successes, his battles and much more. The book presents Richard'��s candor, anecdotes and his attitude on platter to relish. I was surprised to know that Richard is Dyslexic. Despite this limitation he never succumbed to anything. He played from his strengths to strengths and emerges victorious in game called life. He started his business rendezvous with a student magazine and then further moved on to various other things as new opportunities presented themselves in front of him. His attitude of speaking to so called big guys directly without any getting intimidated by their stature is commendable. For his student magazine he called all big advertisers and played all sorts of tricks to get them advertise in their student magazine. Similarly when he had to start his airlines he just dialed out Boeing and was able to cut out a win-win deal with them. Whenever a business opportunity came across he did very basic calculation on whether they will be profitable or not. He says that every business has to be fun to become profitable. Whenever he couldn't decide on something he went ahead with his gut feel and 'Screw it, let's do it' attitude. Many a times he has to part from his friends because of difference of opinion but he did all that so amicably that you feel awed. Couple of times he was in huge debt and was on the verge of financial breakdown but he sailed through everything with his shrewdness, people judgment, tough bargaining skills and sheer perseverance. Despite being a non entity in airlines business he took behemoth British Airways heads on and beaten them on their own game. He was maligned, threatened, bribed, shenanigan-ed however he took all the onslaughts head on and succeeded. Book also depicts his adventurous sports streak where many a times he survived near fatal accidents. His around the world balloon trip or flight to space demonstrate his zeal to enjoy life. Richard is also doing great social work in Africa to eradicate poverty and spreading awareness about HIV. Grab the book and savor.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Dalan

    My first autobiography perhaps, The book provides a really enjoyable account of Richard Branson's journey from a wonderfully talented albeit rebellious kid to being the driving force behind a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. Synonymous with his reputation, the book is filled with stories of his daredevil exploits not only in the upper reaches of the atmosphere as a hot-air ballooning enthusiast but also on the business front where Branson defies conventional wisdom to emerge on top. Though one ma My first autobiography perhaps, The book provides a really enjoyable account of Richard Branson's journey from a wonderfully talented albeit rebellious kid to being the driving force behind a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. Synonymous with his reputation, the book is filled with stories of his daredevil exploits not only in the upper reaches of the atmosphere as a hot-air ballooning enthusiast but also on the business front where Branson defies conventional wisdom to emerge on top. Though one may expect this book to be a fun-filled tale of Branson's wonderful(as we see it) life ,the book maintains a rather down to earth tone even when discussing huge business deals or celebrity encounters,you are never offered an outsiders view but instead every emotion and thought experienced by Branson along his journey. His totally unique take on life which overflows into his business about only doing things that are fun(or injecting fun into otherwise staid affairs) resonates throughout the book. The book also showcases his bold risk-taking nature which he attributes to his parents. Throughout the entire book you live every moment of the Richard Branson's first 20 years of the Virgin business,savouring every win and surviving every crisis.Branson draws the reader in with his magnetic persona which emanates from his book too!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ripudaman

    I stayed enthralled and read the entire book in almost two days.Richard Branson,founder of the Virgin business empire, is a father of risk taker,a paragon of entrepreneurship, and a genius who has inspired English culture and lifestyles. This book includes the birth of Virgin records, Virgin Atlantic Airways,Virgin Music and many more such astounding ventures. He's life filled with challenges, interesting adventures, dreadful crises and stupendous money. The splendid lessons I conned from this bo I stayed enthralled and read the entire book in almost two days.Richard Branson,founder of the Virgin business empire, is a father of risk taker,a paragon of entrepreneurship, and a genius who has inspired English culture and lifestyles. This book includes the birth of Virgin records, Virgin Atlantic Airways,Virgin Music and many more such astounding ventures. He's life filled with challenges, interesting adventures, dreadful crises and stupendous money. The splendid lessons I conned from this book are : . No venture,No gained. · Never give up. · Push your self beyond limits· . Think of possibilities. . Do exactly inverse as practiced by present companies. . Don’t ever go into a business with motive to earn Money. . Don’t tell yourself you can not do something. ask yourself how you can do it. . If you blow out once or twice , get up, adjust your plot and try again. I recommend to read this book to those people who love today's most productive entrepreneurs life histories., who want exciting life and want to start thier own business.if you like challenges, adventures, business, this book is for you. Go buy it or snatch it nonetheless read it. SCREW IT, LET'S DO IT! Excel.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Naddy

    This is not the first autobiography which i have read, there are other too Steve Jobs, Malala, Wolf of wall street, but this stands apart. It is enthralling,adventurous experience. Great insight to person rather extraordinary person with extraordinary thinking. This book is quite magical and can inspire and motivate anyone, and especially those who have zeal for entrepreneurship. If i look from reader prospective this is one of the book with finest story telling and riveting to the core. I have This is not the first autobiography which i have read, there are other too Steve Jobs, Malala, Wolf of wall street, but this stands apart. It is enthralling,adventurous experience. Great insight to person rather extraordinary person with extraordinary thinking. This book is quite magical and can inspire and motivate anyone, and especially those who have zeal for entrepreneurship. If i look from reader prospective this is one of the book with finest story telling and riveting to the core. I have enjoyed the every bit of it. The book is very fast paced and honesty which is little trivial at times. Most amazing part of the book is Richard Branson's love for ballooning, which he calls the most exhilarating of all sports, got him an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, a real tribute to his daredevilry and the fight against British airways again libel case and shared all the compensation with the Virgin Atlantic employee. Richard branson's vision is unrivaled, adeptness at branding is unquestionable, iconoclastic, risk-taker, family centered, courageous to follow his heart, instincts, biggest risk taker :) I would recommend earnestly to everyone.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jack Chapman

    A lot of CEOs have written, or had written for them, biographies extolling their extraordinary lives, their struggles to reach the top, the secrets of their incredible business acumen. Very few of them ever made as much money as Richard Branson, and none of them ever had so much fun with it. Branson is the most amazing character, highly focussed but with a vast range of interests, a James Bond in a jumper. But what really makes him unique among the captains of stratospheric enterprise is that he A lot of CEOs have written, or had written for them, biographies extolling their extraordinary lives, their struggles to reach the top, the secrets of their incredible business acumen. Very few of them ever made as much money as Richard Branson, and none of them ever had so much fun with it. Branson is the most amazing character, highly focussed but with a vast range of interests, a James Bond in a jumper. But what really makes him unique among the captains of stratospheric enterprise is that he seems to have remained a genuinely likeable human being. Am I jealous of his money, luck, success and adventures? Damn right. I should declare I once had a publishing contact with Virgin Books from which, after far too much effort, I made not a cent thanks to creative differences with a clueless control freak of a Virgin editor. Branson would have forged on and against-the-odds quickly turned the experience into an triumph. I forged on. But I still think he's a hero.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Louise Fry

    This is a very interesting read since I have to do a Project on Richard Branson for my university work - I didn’t expect him to be an interesting and well thought of person however his leadership skills and qualities along with his motivation to constantly help people and to make everything better including the world and also his constant ideas of business makes him an entirely fascinating man and someone the media doesn’t portray as

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joey Marcus

    Richard Branson is my hero. He has done everything his way and continues to do so. Hes done well and poorly but always could see that things would eventually get better. This Bio is more of an reflection of the trials and tribulations of his happiness, sadness and adventures of life and how playing by your own rules can pay off big time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diganta Sarkar

    Balls + Hard work + Some serendipity + A lot more balls = Richard Branson

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dane Cobain

    I’ve had this book lying around for a good few years now, but I’ve been putting off picking it up for whatever reason. It’s kind of strange really, because I remember giving the prologue a read back when I picked it up and quite enjoying it, I just never had the momentum to keep going. But that all changed when I had to travel back to Tamworth for a family engagement because it’s something of a tradition of mine for me to pick up my longest unread book. One of the good things is that it’s actuall I’ve had this book lying around for a good few years now, but I’ve been putting off picking it up for whatever reason. It’s kind of strange really, because I remember giving the prologue a read back when I picked it up and quite enjoying it, I just never had the momentum to keep going. But that all changed when I had to travel back to Tamworth for a family engagement because it’s something of a tradition of mine for me to pick up my longest unread book. One of the good things is that it’s actually misleading, because while this is quite long in terms of page count, it has pretty big text and a bunch of photographs in it too. It’s also just generally quite interesting, whether you’re a Branson fan or not. I can’t say that I knew too much about him going into it, but I had heard good things about this book and I knew that he was an interesting chap. I guess the noteworthy thing here is the market that Branson was aiming for. It’s got a lot to offer just because he had an interesting, action-packed life, especially when it comes to some of his ballooning adventures. It also has a lot to teach you about what it takes to be successful in business, but they’re the kind of insights that you can apply at any kind of job, from a corporate role to self-employment. I still haven’t made my mind up on what I think about Branson as a person, but I am glad that I know a little more about him. I think I pitched this book just about right because there’s no need to go out of your way to get to it in a rush. If you do see it lying around though, it’s not bad and worth your time. I’d definitely say it’s in the upper half of the “celebrity” autobiographies that I’ve read throughout the years, at least in terms of quality. It was also just a genuinely pleasurable reading experience, something that was nice and easy to absorb while still giving me a few little bits of food for thought. In fact, it basically set my expectations pretty well and then delivered exactly what I was hoping for from it. For a non-fiction memoir, I think that’s almost the best that you can hope for, and this really would have had to have been something quite special for it to stand out to me above all of the other great stuff that I’ve been reading. This brings us on to the final question that I try to answer in my reviews, which is whether or not I’d recommend it. Honestly, I’d have to say yes, even if you have no particular reason for reading it. There’s a little something for everyone and while it’s not exactly going to hold up to a re-read, it was alright for a one time thing. Check it out, I guess.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jacques Bezuidenhout

    Quite enjoyed this book. This book is only about the start of Richard's career, till about the age of 40. Having read other biographies like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, Richard is a very different person from what I've seen in the others. He actually seems like a very nice person. If you are expecting a book telling you how to get rich, what strategies to follow in business, recommendations on running a startup. This is not it. This is about his journey. The emotions around it. The risks he took, and Quite enjoyed this book. This book is only about the start of Richard's career, till about the age of 40. Having read other biographies like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, Richard is a very different person from what I've seen in the others. He actually seems like a very nice person. If you are expecting a book telling you how to get rich, what strategies to follow in business, recommendations on running a startup. This is not it. This is about his journey. The emotions around it. The risks he took, and how he lives in the moment. Having done some other books like The Dictator's Handbook: Why Bad Behavior is Almost Always Good Politics and Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice about the extends governments go through to get their way and how they bulldoze everyone. It was quite an eye opener seeing this kind of monopoly and deceit happening in business with the whole British Airways scenario. Because the book was written by himself, one can never be sure that it is totally objective. I am however curious to read the book about the second half of his career.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Keerthan

    What an extraordinary life he's led! In my opinion, he's the foremost icon of entrepreneurial spirit, as well as the personification of his own words "Screw it, let's do it!". Richard Branson built his first business at the age of 15. He gradually went on to build the globally renowned Virgin group. His unrelenting enthusiasm to step into new waters is utterly inspiring - from stepping into the airlines industry after the success in music industry, to building carbon-composite reusable spacecraft What an extraordinary life he's led! In my opinion, he's the foremost icon of entrepreneurial spirit, as well as the personification of his own words "Screw it, let's do it!". Richard Branson built his first business at the age of 15. He gradually went on to build the globally renowned Virgin group. His unrelenting enthusiasm to step into new waters is utterly inspiring - from stepping into the airlines industry after the success in music industry, to building carbon-composite reusable spacecraft, setting up Virgin Cola, and building the world's safest train. His iconoclastic management philosophy repeatedly stands the test of recessions and global disasters. His enthusiasm spills over to his adventurous spirit as well - He provides riveting accounts of his attempts to fly in a hot air balloon across the Atlantic, Pacific and finally, the world. His charitable work in Africa is remarkable, as well his fight against climate change. His daring rescue of refugees in Baghdad after personally corresponding with Saddam Hussein is unforgettable. The world needs more people like him! After reading this, I was left in deep introspection with an inspired sense of energy. We often get stuck in habit loops and comfortable patterns, but by exploring relentlessly, there's SO MUCH we can do and achieve! We only need to stop giving excuses, get up and do it!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    I read this autobiography because I heard Branson interviewed on the Freakonomics podcast. He had made a comment that he was dyslexic and dropped out of school. He seemed to suggest that struggling students don't really need school to succeed as he did. This raised a question for me: So how do you start a company with a reading disability? The question really wasn't answered but he did surround himself in the early days with smart friends who helped first with the publication Student and then st I read this autobiography because I heard Branson interviewed on the Freakonomics podcast. He had made a comment that he was dyslexic and dropped out of school. He seemed to suggest that struggling students don't really need school to succeed as he did. This raised a question for me: So how do you start a company with a reading disability? The question really wasn't answered but he did surround himself in the early days with smart friends who helped first with the publication Student and then starting Virgin Records. It is an entertaining, sometimes enlightening read but got repetitive.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nistha Tripathi

    What's best about this book? - It is not a typical businessman autobiography. Branson is not like anyone else after all. His charisma, his 'not-give-a-fuck' attitude, doing what he feels right (and not just in your tiny private life) but taking it to the hyper-competitive businesses and standing against the stalwarts like BA and News Corp might sound too good to be true. How many men have the balls to delve into adventure as Branson does? Even reading about it gives you thrills. Coming to the boo What's best about this book? - It is not a typical businessman autobiography. Branson is not like anyone else after all. His charisma, his 'not-give-a-fuck' attitude, doing what he feels right (and not just in your tiny private life) but taking it to the hyper-competitive businesses and standing against the stalwarts like BA and News Corp might sound too good to be true. How many men have the balls to delve into adventure as Branson does? Even reading about it gives you thrills. Coming to the book itself, first 40% is a breeze to read with every chapter making me go 'wow, what a man'. The story of Virgin Music, Mike OldField gave me goosebumps. And then, oh how wonderful were Branson's lovestories? His living in that houseboat, marrying Joan - seriously, better than a fiction novel! I skipped a lot of pages in last 40% though because it was just more of the same which if you look at it is pretty incredible. Most of the men would be honored to have done 30% of what Sir Richard Branson did! So, no wonder, the book seems long but that is only telling of the mammoth ride of Virgin brand. He came with no background or legacy and he changed the world in a way. How can you not love this man? Yeah perhaps if you are Lord King or Murdoch, you would snicker but who cares? My takeaway - I wish to buy an island now!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kiren

    4.5 stars This book was intriguing from start to finish. Couldn't really put it down. I didn't realise what an interesting life Branson has lived. I would recommend this to anyone as there is something in here for everyone from business, philanthropy all the way through to adventure. Definitely a great book. Only downside was the slightly rambling ending that could have been slightly more concise on nature. Will be on the look out for any talks/speeches he gives in the future.

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