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Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way Paperback – June 7, 2011
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“Richard is good-looking and very smart, which is sexy to start with. He also makes a billion dollars before breakfast—and still knows how to have fun."
-- Ivana Trump
“Few people in contemporary business are as colorful, shrewd, and irreverent, and probably no one’s nearly as much fun to be around. . . . Branson embodies America’s cherished mythology of the iconoclastic, swashbuckling entrepreneur."
“Branson wears his fame and money exceedingly well: no necktie, no chauffeur, no snooty clubs. . . . What continues to set Branson apart is the unique -- and, to some, baffling -- nature of his ambition. . . . He isn’t interested in power in the usual sense of influencing other people. . . . Boiled down to its singular essence, Richard Branson just wants to have fun.”
“Branson, a self-described ‘adventure capitalist,’ is a business-creation engine who was clearly born in the wrong place. . . . Those business instincts are matched by an ability to motivate people who work for him. And who wouldn’t want to -- Branson seems hell-bent on making sure that everybody, but everybody, is having as much fun as he is.”
“Richard Branson . . . is dressed to the nines: in a $10,000 white silk bridal gown with a traditional veil and train and acres of lace. . . . Branson is expected to do the unexpected, even the bizarre -- anything to publicize his latest venture. . . . The fact is, Branson’s widely reported stunts seem almost staid compared to the unconventional way he manages his burgeoning empire.”
-- Forbes ASAP
About the Author
Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies, was born in 1950 and started his first business, a magazine called Student, when he was sixteen. Virgin began in 1970 as a mail-order record company and has since expanded into over a hundred businesses in areas as diverse as travel, entertainment, retailing, media, financial services, and publishing. He lives in London and Oxfordshire with his wife, Joan, and their children, Holly and Sam.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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Well, I've never cruised past Necker Island (one of the homes owned by the author), but I appreciate Richard Branson's candid answers to these old, nagging questions that we would all ask.
Branson has provided a simple, mostly chronological narrative about his spectacular failures in business - at age 14 and 15 - as well as his first success in starting a school newspaper at age 16.
His transition from the newspaper to Virgin Records HAS to be a business school classic, and his pattern of parlaying the earnings of one business to launch another has been repeated throughout his life. Now it would seem that he cannot go out for coffee without accidentally starting another Virgin brand subsidiary.
Branson writes much like he conducts business: he just dives right in and holds nothing back. He tells us all about his life and loves as well as his adrenaline-junkie airborne adventures.
The reader will have to forgive him for all the bragging. After all, "It ain't bragging if you really done it." It is, after all, an autobiography. And we DID ask the questions, or we would have if our boat went past Necker Island.
This is a journey about a man who has taken his power and wealth to give back to the communities. He also teaches his employees how to think outside the box, to lead and survive on their own. Most employers try to keep their staff "trained".
Highly recommended book!
This book offers a fascinating look into Branson's world. Branson did not do well in secondary school, never went to college, started a small student magazine, and several years later runs the Virgin empire and becoming a billionaire. Branson starts off saying that this book is not a how-to book, however I gleaned enough from his autobiography to have an idea of how he runs his businesses. Near the end of the book, he seems to describe how he thinks and how he approaches new business ventures.
Branson admits his is mildly dyslexia, hence is bad with numbers and statistics. Despite his dyslexia, he relies on his gut for his business decisions. This reminds me of Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink which is about thought without thinking, similar to gut thinking.
Of the things I noticed, Branson seems to be very resourceful. If he needed to get in touch with somebody, such as a world leader, he would just call or write a letter to them. He had an uncanny ability to find people to help start and run his businesses.
This book exemplifies that a person does not need a college degree or an MBA degree in order to be a successful entrepreneur. Much of what he knows seems to come from practical experience, much like an empiricist, and not tainted by the noise of academia or intellectualism that a person might get from universities. I don't think Branson is a fluke or a result of pure luck. He seems to repeat his success across several markets using the knowledge he learn from experience. There is a lot to come away with.