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Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur Paperback – 2 Jul 2009
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"A timely book on business" (Daily Mail)
"An interesting read" (The Economist)
Global entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson reveals the secrets to success in businessSee all Product description
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Top customer reviews
Branson does not claim to be an academic businessman. What comes across in this book is his ethos and belief in the power of entrepreneurship. He covers such themes as Leadership, Brand and Social Responsiblity.
The book has of number of strengths. Throughout he uses stories to illustrate his points. My particular favourites were his tales regarding BA, Coco Cola and his initial set up of Virgin Money. So Branson avoids the situation that other business books fall into - using big words and leaving the reader none the wiser to what they are actually talking about.
A second strength of this book is that Branson portrays business not as an entity detached from his or our everyday lives. If used properly and ethically - it can be a source of great change. I reckon Branson and Adam Smith would have gotten on like a house on fire.
A third strength is Branson's ideas about self empowerment. We may think of Virgin as a monster sized company - whereas in fact it is made up of lots of smaller companies (aside from Virgin Atlantic which Branson readily admits is big). Branson states that the smaller companies avoid the problem of stagnation and each employee can stay energised and involved. Staying with this small scale approach - Branson illustrates how it can be used to tackle such problems as climate change. Correctly he states that large scale solutions often become bogged down.
However the book does have one issue. Branson is much more engaging when talking about the individuals that makes up his company and his relationship with them. The sections where he talks about the high profile individuals such as Al Gore, Clinton and Mandela - tend to get bogged down and I found my attention drifting. I got it that he thinks these guys are great - I just didnt need to read about it for the next 10 pages. Bit rich coming from me since I have just read 328 pages about my hero Branson!
Overall - a great book and with great messages.
The best message being "the brave may not live forever - but the cautious do not live at all".
Richard comes across very well and the way the audio is recorded doesn't feel too clinical and is far more relaxed and laid back. This audio collection has left me with a great deal of respect and interest in Richard and the Virgin group which i will follow up on especially when it comes to his new ventures. He recounts both the ups and the downs of his personal ventures (or adventures) and doesn't shy away from saying it as it is. There is an element of self promotion of some areas of his business but that is fine with me when many of them are concerned with major world-wide affairs. An interesting and highly entertaining listen.
The book is divided into clear sections/chapters providing 8 success factors for every business to model: People; Brand; Delivery; Learning from Mistakes and Setbacks; Innovation; Entrepreneurs and Leadership; Social Responsibility. All these factors are essential elements required to build any successful business.
This is definitely not dry theory saying that this is the only way to succeed. The sub-title of the book really says it all "Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur" - so it was never going to be another how-to business guide. The presentation is in the form of a series of stories, one of the ways people learn best.
There are many `warts and all' anecdotal examples throughout, explaining and validating each of the key principles. You also see tantalising glimpses of the intuitive decisions that undoubtedly also helped to build Virgin into a global empire!
It's hard to know when Richard Branson finds the time to be with his family and enjoy the fruits of his success, because he obviously still enjoys being involved with his companies. Another message from the book is that business can be fun, should be fun, and is as much fun as you make it! If you're not enjoying it, perhaps it's time to do something else?
I think start-up business owners might find it a bit daunting to think in terms of a global empire. It has, after all, taken over 30 years to build both the Virgin brand and group of companies to where it is now. Experienced business people looking for the next big challenge or opportunity will enjoy reading about this journey.
There are some great business and life lessons contained in this book and I will be reading through it again to make sure I didn't miss any.
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