I came to this book thinking it was purely a business primer, which does the book an injustice. Partly a collection of maxims, part autobiography, with a helping of ecological manifesto thrown in for good measure, the book is surprisingly expansive in its overall view, in terms of subject matter, and timeframe.
Branson details the building of his Virgin empire from his first humble business ventures running a student magazine through to his position at the helm of a multibillion corporation and does so in an engaging and informal conversational style.
While I've read other reviews which have been slightly negative and some claiming that the book is nothing more than Branson lauding his achievements to the world, this is unfair. In the book he sets forth maxims which have proved themselves in his entrepreneurial career as well as life and gives anecdotes to show how each have been beneficial. The fact that a lot of the anecdotes are outside the realm of normality for most people merely attests to his adventurous spirit and the success he has accrued. Far from singing his own praises, he expresses his gratitude for his family, business partners, employees, and other influential people in his life.
He is also quite forthcoming in pointing out his own shortcomings and mistakes from the past. However, as he states in one of his maxims, he prefers not to dwell on past mistakes and the overall tone of the book is one of self-confidence, fun and enthusiasm for life in all of his various pursuits, and passion for both ecology and giving back to others.
While I felt the book to be an entertaining and enlightening read, if I were to have any disappointment in it I would have to say it would be with Branson's use of jaded business terms such as "thinking outside the box" and "walking the talk". That said, considering when it was first written, even this could be easily excused.
If you're looking for a book which will lay out a blueprint for building a business empire and becoming incredibly wealthy then this is probably not the book for you, I would instead recommend How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis
, however if you were looking for a book which will give you a glimpse into the mindset of a successful entrepreneur who believes there's more to life than just business then I would completely recommend you read this book.