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Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography [Hardcover]

Sir Richard Branson
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)

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Book Description

23 Oct 1998
"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.

Also available in the UK from Virgin Publishing, and in Canada from General Publishing,

From the Hardcover edition.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Australia; 1998 First Edition edition (23 Oct 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1852276843
  • ISBN-13: 978-1852276843
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 5.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Richard Branson was born in 1950 and educated at Stowe School. It was here that he began to set up Student Magazine when he was just 16. By 17 he'd also set up Student Advisory Centre, which was a charity to help young people. In 1970 he founded Virgin as a mail order record retailer, and not long after he opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London. During 1972 a recording studio was built in Oxfordshire, and the first Virgin artist, Mike Oldfield, recorded "Tubular Bells" which was released in 1973. This album went on to sell over 5 million copies. Since then many household names, including Belinda Carlisle, Genesis, Phil Collins, Janet Jackson and The Rolling Stones have helped to make Virgin Music one of the top six record companies in the world. The equity of Virgin Music Group - record labels, music publishing, and recording studios was sold to THORN EMI in 1992 in a US$1billion deal. The Virgin Group has now expanded into international music Megastores, air travel, mobile, financial, retail, music, internet, drinks, rail, hotels and leisure, with around 200 companies in over 30 countries. Richard is married with two children and spends most of his time at his home on Necker Island.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Love him or loathe him, you've got to admit it, Richard Branson has drive. And guts. And enough ambition to sink a battleship--or perhaps that should be a jumbo jet--or even a whole company of jumbos if the Virgin Atlantic/British Airways debacle (which takes up a huge chunk of this already huge tome) is anything to go by.

Branson's autobiography makes immensely fascinating reading. Whatever you think of Britain's most famous entrepreneur, the odds are that you will enjoy reading his autobiography. You may snort at descriptions of his "poor" childhood--spent eating bread and dripping while living in a house the majority of us visit on Bank Holidays and attending a "minor" public school. You may groan at memories of early initiative tests: how about being ejected from the family car and told by his mother to find his way home--at the age of four? You may flinch at accounts of his early business days as an unwashed, unshod, hippy magazine publisher living en famille with his staff in the crypt of a West London church. But, all in all, you'll get to understand where the guy's coming from--man.

And, like the man himself, there's no holds barred here. Richard bares his soul, from childhood, school days (cheating at exams), loves and losses (lost one wife when a spot of wife-swapping went drastically wrong--for him), death-defying adventures (yes, the balloons are all there), to the rise and rise of the Virgin empire. His interviews for Student magazine and the early days of Virgin Music read like a chronicle of popular music and culture in the late 20th century. Famous names bounce off every page. Prepare to be enthralled by the life and times of a walking publicity machine. --Carey Green


‘Have no fear, Branson is here! He grabs you on page one and never lets go. His story is compelling reading and would be a classic
‘how to’
lesson for life, if you had the will to follow his example. He’s larger than life, and it shows on every page. Hurry, hurry, read all about it’
Lord Hanson – The Spectator

‘A remarkable story of business success against the financial odds – having created one of the world’s most admired brand names, Branson
is entitled to tell it all’
- Evening Standard

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
The way Branson invented Virgin and then re-invented the products and the image is an inspiration to us all, entrepreneurs or not. If you're not in business, you'll want to be after reading these 500 pages which whistle by as fast as a Virgin Atlantic jumbo. He's honest to a fault and that makes the book all the more readable - I never want to fly BA again! The tales of adventure on sea and by balloon are fascinating insights into how close Branson came to death - in fact you could say he's had a charmed life which inspired me to make my next 40 years as worthwhile and fulfilling as his first 40. Sorry to gush, but it's a top read whatever age.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
The book was, to my delight, a very interesting read. "Losing My Virginty" reads like a novel and I would say that it was as interesting as both "Memoirs of a Geisha" and the "Harry Potter" series. Yet the book was full of lessons in a variety of business fields; entrepreneurship and risk-taking being at the forefront of those fields. In its value as a business book, I would compare it to "Lessons from the Top" and "The Millionnaire Next Door", both of which were a much less gripping read. However, "Losing my Virginity" is different from those two books in that it is primarily about "World Class Entrepreneurship". Branson takes the reader on a trip back to the 60's and 70's when Virgin took off and gradually leads you into the "jetstream" of his turbulant life. You will enjoy the ride.
This is definitely a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and earnestly recommend to anyone, not necessarily to businessmen, just to anyone who wants to make the most of his/her life.
Richard Branson used the book well on many occasions to tell his side of the story and to clarify to the public certain events that may have not been fully disclosed in that way during the time of their occurance.
He also talks freely about matters, which a conventionial bussinessman would find out of place, beyong the point or even downright embarrassing. Those "personal" moments are actually the essence of what this book is all about. The book is about Branson's life and Virgin Group is just that, a very large chunk of Branson's life.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Screw it. Let's do it" 25 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Who hasn't at sometime thought about going into business for oneself, being a great success and having the satisfaction of manning the helm of your own future? Who hasn't then come back to 'reality' and continued to get on with it? Read "Loosing my Virginity" by Richard Branson, and you will find yourself burning with enthusiasm once again and racking your brain to think of some venture into which you can fling your energy. That is the great attraction of this book, it is about business from the point of view that you spend most of your life working, so why not make it enjoyable. Richard Branson points out that he has "never gone into any business purely to make money" and although most people would probably cringe at such a comment out of context, read the book and you will surely believe him! Mr Branson explains how he hopped from editing a student magazine to each of his subsequent ventures because it appeared the most interesting thing to do at the time. Fortunately, he knew the right people at the right time and had quite a bit of luck along the way, but the underlying theme is that if you have the urge to go your own way, then do it (and you may even make a fortune!).
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent read - full of energy. 9 July 2000
By A Customer
Fact is often stranger than fiction - never more magnificently illustrated than in this autobiography by Richard Branson, undeniably the foremost entrepreneur in the UK today. His autobiography candidly details the past 40 years of his life; from the humble beginnings of "Student" magazine, through the establishment and subsequent sale of Virgin Music and concluding with the compelling battle with British Airways. Also, aside from his business interests, Branson's maverick attempts to set new nautical and ballooning world records are described. "Losing my Vriginity" leaves you motivated to fulfill that ambition you have for far too long harboured in a far corner of your imagination. Top marks!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Goon in the Balloon! 24 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Alright so Branson is a wally, but he is also a fantastic businessman. This book is very well written and easy to read. Some of what Mr. Branson tells us must be taken with a pinch of salt. As a Virgin employee I have had the pleasure of Richards' company and he has a nasty habit of telling the same story over and over again each time differently (He told me how he lost his Virginity to a girl at his school, then 12 months later commented to managers at a finance meeting how his father took him to see a prostitute when he was in his early teens). Richard Branson is in business for Richard Bransons' benefit, he is utterly ruthless (despite his outward appearance) and god help anyone who gets in his way. Having got that off my chest I think this is a great book and should help Richard accumulate his next million.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This book is amazing, adictive and seemed honest.. YES HONEST.. if you read this book you will know what I am talking about, Richard Branson included many very personal details in this book and admits his faults and is open about them, Tom Bower has written the un-authorised bio of called "Branson" which did not impress me at all because of a non-objective biased tone. however this book, although written by Branson himself, seems to be an objective, first person reflection on his life.. all I can say is that I look forward to richard branson giving us the story of his life since the sale of virgin records and the expansion of the brand with virgin cola, the railways and the airline...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Interesting story which takes you trough a roller coaster ride of Brandson's life!
Published 1 month ago by Thomash
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down!
I just love this book and can't put it down every time I read it (this is the fourth time now!). It's a great insight into how somebody from a normal middle class background made... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alana P
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Richard is down to earth and this book is very easy to read. His optimisim is very uplifting and he is testament to the fact that anyone can achieve anything if they put their... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Blackberry
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the better autobiographies
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. I got a real sense of seeing things in Bransons perspective and a good idea of the boy and the man. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mad Saint Uden
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Decently written and a definite eye opener in regards to the way large Businesses like BA act. I read this through not wanting to put it down.
Published 6 months ago by mckenzie
5.0 out of 5 stars Great quality and reasonable price
The book is really nice considering its quality and price. It just looks like a new one and the package is really great.
Published 15 months ago by Li Chenxiao
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent used copy
Great read and well worth the money in tip top condition and came through quickly, seller kept me informed about the delay in delivery.

Overall excellent

Published on 17 Mar 2011 by G
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesomazing!
Richard Branson's autobiography, Losing My Virginity, is an addictive, compelling, seemingly honest presentation of Sir Richard Branson's journey to success. Read more
Published on 25 April 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thoroughly Enjoyable Read
An incredible book on an incredible, highly eventful and exciting life. This book gives you an insight into how hard Branson had to work to achieve this great empire of his as well... Read more
Published on 13 July 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Anyone intrested in the business world should read or listen
to this is fantasic insight into the birth and survival of one of englands favourite companies , Branston tells it as it is in a very enjoyable honest and gripping story , charting... Read more
Published on 4 May 2001 by
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