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4.6 out of 5 stars281
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 14 October 2000
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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on 24 June 2006
A very enjoyable read, charting the highs and lows of Richard Branson's business and personal life from his beginnings at Student magazine to the hugely successful Virgin Group of today.

Those expecting his philosophy on successful entrepreneurship to be covered in detail may be disappointed, however it still makes very interesting reading - leaving the reader with a good understanding of his business style and his true passions in life.

One of the better autobiographies!
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on 5 July 1999
This latest book from Richard Branson is just quite simply amazing, much better than the Virgin King. It covers all aspects of Richard Branson's life and allows you inside his most private thoughts, both personal and professional. If you are suffering from sleep deprivation then don't buy this book it will only make things worse ! The style of writing flows in a simple way yet carries you on a journey at the speed of light where every twist and turn is exhilerating. Anybody who is a budding or would be entrepreneur then this is a great book, anybody who enjoys reading about success then this is a great book. Quite simply put this is the best book I have read for a very long time. I dare you not too buy this book, after all why should you deprive yourself ? Definitely a MUST.
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on 4 January 2008
A very pleasant read with loads of funny stories and inside of the man behind Virgin. It is clear that he came from a priviledged background! not money wise but having wonderful, loving, supportive and warm parents. It's sometimes hard to believe the stories of his parents but it would account for his success in personal and business endeavors. His parents gave him unconditional love and support and that is what "gave" him a great foundation to start with. It gave me another boost to believe that anything is possible for anybody in this world, you do have to work for it! Most people are too lazy and not do what he has done to get where he is now. Again a brilliant book from a great person! very inspiring, very motivating and funny!
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on 19 October 1998
This, rather than the more subtle "Loosing my Virginity" was a contender for the title of Richard Bransons new book. To be quite honest, it's probably more sutiable. Fast paced and exciting, with little or no time for reflection, bransons story reflects thae character of the man himself. From the early rock n roll days of student magazine, through debt, dirty tricks and death defying ballon rides, the book shows the real branson; a man driven by dreams and constantly in search of adventure. Suprisingly idealistic, branson seems to view risk as simply part of the fun and his views provide a refreshing break from the accepted rules of business. But the tale is more than a simple biography, it could be a guide to life or a collection of facinating stories in itself. An essential read, then, not only for entrepeneurs, but for anyone with the slightest interest in Branson or an appetite for adventure.
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on 17 February 2004
I work for an airline and so could see what Richard Branson was saying later on in the book. This man is a genius. This book could almost be a medical book for anyone going out into business or already in business. After reading this book I was left totally inspired.
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on 12 September 2011
Iam not into reading autobiographies, however wanted to know more about Richard Branson experience in business.

One third of the book is really enjoyable to the point of BA dirty tacticts.
Writing so much about war with British Airways he lost contact with who he was.
It took too much energy out of him.
Those chapters are so boring to read, just annoying.
This book would be so much more better if he cut 200 pages out of 600 total.
His memories up to end of 80's are really entertaining, however after that is so boring, not much fun.

End of the book is dreadful.
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on 29 August 2015
In this book Branson tells you his life story, talks you through this thought processes and tells you how Virgin did/do business.

There are a lot of hilarious moments, serious moments, deep thought and innovative business thinking. Its an easy read - Branson communicates effortlessly, and despite being 500 pages it doesn't feel like it takes long to get through. You can almost imagine Branson himself narrating!

There is quite a lot of talk about Virgin and how they built as a company, a lot more about the ins and outs than you'll find on the web. It provides a good insight to start a business and the sort of challenges you may face, arguments with bankers abound and a 'new startup' culture is prominent. Bransons bouncy abrasive attitude comes through strong, including his joy at shaking up established 2/3 player markets. It's good inspiration for anyone wanting to challenge their thought processes. A great example is where rather than trying to get credit for TV screens in the back of 747 seats Branson realises it might be easier to get a credit line for 18 new jets! (which is what happens!) This sort of enterprising thinking abounds.

The one negative I found, and which felt a bit off about the book, is you do get a feeling there are things which aren't talked about. There are only a few mentions of serious conflicts within the Virgin group, there are only a few short mentions of when things completely failed (like Virgin Cola; the telling of the Virgin Cola tale here starts and ends with it being a successful startup, not the years when it fails). I feel this is a lost opportunity as great depth and insight is given to so many other things. There is also an element to which you wonder how much the prose 'sticks to the story' - there are a few places where a phrase placing the blame on another company is repeated; it's not to say the blame wasn't on the other company, it just feels the point is being worked a bit hard.

All in all though really good book, really good fun, smacks with personality, it comes across exactly like you'd imagine a chilled conversatoin with the man would be!
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on 11 December 2014
Richard Branson is one of those public figures that you can't help but hear a lot about. Whether it's from an expansion of the Virgin group in some form or in his explorative endeavours, he's someone that you would have heard of. What is less heard of, or rather what I hadn't known about him, was his early life and the early life of Virgin from the days of Student onwards. For me, the first half of the book was incredibly fascinating as he charmingly charted his rise from the basement of his friend's parents' London house into a tomb where he briefly parted ways with his partner. It seems as though Branson became successful by sheer force of his magpie mind that leapt from one venture to the next and it's easy to see why his partners were hesitant about certain steps - such as creating Virgin Atlantic.

He comes across as funny, clever, incredibly hard working but, most of all, joyful. If I only had one word to describe Branson, it would be joyful. He takes great pleasure in life and in doing what hasn't been done before and the book, particularly the first half, reflects that.

The second half takes a different tone but that reflects his change in age, his children growing up and his businesses maturing. It takes a more political bent that I found quite interesting but none more so than his discussion on the environment and the efforts that he is making to help make Virgin more environmentally friendly. There is, occasionally, the odd bit of name dropping that feels a bit jarring whilst reading but, overall, this is a really interesting book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in underdog stories.
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2013
It's quite a daunting autobiography, over 550 pages long, but this shouldn't be a surprise given how much Branson has packed in over the years. There are recollections of his boating and ballooning trips, which are just as much about the relationships with the crew as the adventure itself, but it all starts with a Student Magazine at school.

The early Virgin Music years are fascinating, as the young founders try and pick their way through the bizarre world of popular music. Trying to be diverse is at the core of his strategy, and it doesn't get more diverse than Mike Oldfield and The Sex Pistols.

Things go a bit crazy as he sells Virgin Music for £500 odd million, and all of a sudden he is a jet setting millionaire. He doesn't sit still for long though, and soon he tells the tail of BA vs Virgin in the battle for the skies. It has all the makings of a business thriller.

On reflection, it is clear that Branson has been updating this volume over the years. The original ended in 1998, just as the BA story was closing down, and Virgin Trains was starting up. As stories go, this is the perfect place to end, and everything that comes after seems wildly out of place in comparison.

We move from fighting BA in the boardroom to global warming, space travel, and saving the world with the help of Nelson Mandela. This is all very noble, but the cut from swashbuckling business man to benevolent philanthopist happens in a blink of an eye. There is almost enough for another volume there, but it feels out of place in the same book.

Overall though, I really enjoyed the tone of the book, and it makes me feel a little more sympathetic towards his business practices, even if I still don't want to use any of them!
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