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Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography Mass Market Paperback – 9 Jun 2005
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"Grabs you on page one and never lets go... a rollercoaster ride...read what makes this brilliant and hardworking man tick." (Spectator)
"Candid and humerous." (The Times)
"An incredible man, and this is an incredible autobiography... a great read - sex, balloons, intrigue and money." (Sunday Business)
"Branson bares his soul - and everything else - in a non-fiction blockbuster... a must read." (Business Age)
'Candid and humerous' The Times 'Branson has a list of achievements unmatched by any other UK buisnessman.For anyone burning with entrepreneurial zeal,his reminiscences areakin to a sacred text' MAIL ON SUNDAY 'A remarkable story of buisness success against the finacial odds, against all precepts of conventional management.Having defied everyonewho has ever predicted his downfall and having created one of the worlds most admired brand names,Branson is entitled to tell all. 'EVENING STANDARD' 'Richard Branson is an incredible man,and this is and incredible autobiography,a great read-sex,balloons,intrigue and money'SUNDAY BUISNESS' 'Branson bares his soul-and everything else-in a non-fiction blockbuster,a must read'BUISNESS AGESee all Product description
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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!
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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