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Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won't Teach You at Business School Paperback – September 25, 2012
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About the Author
Sir Richard Branson is an international entrepreneur, adventurer, icon, and the founder of the Virgin Group. His autobiography, Losing My Virginity, and his books on business, Screw It, Let's Do It and Business Stripped Bare, are all international bestsellers. He is also the author of Reach for the Skies and most recently, Screw Business As Usual.
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Top customer reviews
Richard Branson is the Leonardo da Vinci of business. His unquenchable curiosity combined with contagious extroversion is the alchemy behind the 400+ successful businesses he has created. This book, consisting of 76 short essays and articles, documents the lessons he has learned. Numerous examples, most drawn from real-life experiences with people at his Virgin Group companies, are a roadmap for others in business to turbocharge their own success.
Branson's "Like a Virgin" reveals just what a huge gap exists in modern business school curriculum. Do they teach these things like this?
- A CEO needs "a certain generosity of spirit."
- "You have to protect your people."
- "You must be fearless."
- "Business favors people who, when they see a problem or injustice, try to do something about it."
- "Leaders have empathy ... for people who are affected by the business's operations."
- Show generous praise for employees caught doing something right: amp it up!
- Think big. Build small.
- "The sky is no longer the limit."
- Be very tolerant of mistakes. Move on. Give employees second chances (he did so even with a thief!)
Business should be fun. Employees are co-entrepreneurs and enthusiastic brand ambassadors. Challenge. Celebrate. Keep splitting the company into smaller businesses as it grows to avoid bureaucracy and empower employees.
There is no identifiable progression of thought to the sequence of these articles. Although each is excellent in its own right, it is difficult to identify the article's subject from the table of contents. The articles are not numbered making it a bit troublesome to reference any particlar one or to build a concordance (cross-reference) to include in, say, an Amazon review. If it were possible to deduct a half-star from the rating, this would be the reason to do so.
Some articles are thoughtful essays and others are extended responses to questions he has received from people via email and social media. Topics include how to plan a startup to maximize chances for success; how to write a compelling business plan; perfecting your pitch; raising money; dealing with customer complaints; motivating employees; dealing with partners; failure; the art of delegation; when to step aside; environmental stewardship; the war on drugs; earning customer trust; and marketing, sales and advertising.
Branson's writing style is conversational, succinct, personal and tempered by real world situations involving employees, partners, vendors and customers. His charisma seeps out of the page. His advice is very practical and for the most part consists of ideas that anyone can immediately put into practice with some modification for circumstances.
Imagine, a business book that is a "page turner." Enjoy! Five stars!
PS. Read the Foreword to the book to better understand the title of this review :)
If you have read his other books, this one is the one to skip. While the advice in this book is solid, it's repetitive after having read the other books. And while the other books had a great connection and good flow, these "short stories" do not.
Richard Branson seems like a really nice guy and his approach to business and life are simply awesome. So, buy his other books and skip this one. It is much more fun to enjoy his stories that way.
I may never be as wealthy as Richard but there's more to business than money.
One of his principles is keep it simple and this is reflected how he has put this book together.
The extensive series of short chapters are succinctly written in plain easy to understand language without flowery waffle and unnecessary embellishment. The chapters are bite sized and you have read and digested his points long before you mind has the chance to drift off onto something else.
His emphasis on how the Virgin business's have been and continue to be successful and the reasons why many have not been successful is enlightening. The vast majority of business could learn more than a lesson or two on how to manage, engage with and empower their staff to create a culture where people want be part of a thriving business and will put in that discretionary effort which delivers such fabulous results. This is one of the key messages for me.
This is essential reading for anyone who wants to pick up the basic principles. Or indeed for so called experienced competent managers who want or need to reflect on their own performance and either improve or at the very least polish their act - there is something in this book for everyone.