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Customer reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 27 August 2015
Well written and superbly researched. I'd like to have seen more on the Little Red fiasco which was completely omitted. I am a self confessed airline geek of the highest order. I have worked with and for many high level company leaders and always knew Branson could not have got where he is without leaving wreckage behind him. However the scale of his ability to create smoke and mirrors is extraordinary. Yet he seems now almost a hollow cut out sailing into the sunset.

If you doubt how real these truth are just look at the Little Red saga at Virgin Atlantic - everyone knew from day one it would fail for all the reasons Virgin were warned about. Branson appearing with the usual blonds and in underpants saying "stiff competition" over his privates for photos at the press launch, it was all too fake. Then the recent TV series about the airline. He couldn't even remember staff he worked with for 30 years. He seemed disconnected. Young staff had never even seem him never mind met him. At the 787 route launch to Atlanta he made the most embarrassingly unscripted and impromptu speech I've ever seen. The audience looked shocked, disappointed, even dumbfounded. In 2012 there was a huge Virgin Galactic stand at Farnborough Airshow. In 2014 it wasn't even there.

So, read this book, look at what you can see for yourself - the adoration of a workforce - 500 of whom were made redundant just as the TV Show finished airing and yet it went almost unreported. Then look into the book again and it becomes sad, for Virgin and for Britain. We were all conned by the image makers and Branson's bluster. So while I may not like Branson or his modus operandi, will it stop me flying Virgin? No! An excellent book that deserves a wider audience.
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on 16 August 2015
Wow, only read three pages so far, but enough to see his company is owned by other companies, a dozen deep, before you find the final one is registered in the Virgin Islands, one of which islands belongs to Branson and is his home, and that his companies are owned by trustees which are secret as the Virgin Islands are tax havens and allow this. The trustees run the businesses for the benefit of the Branson Family.

We also learn that Branson has his Virgin HQ now in Switzerland. He avoids living and working in the EU like the plague, but tells us all we must stay in. "cui bono" (in whose benefit) !!!

Must end now, can't wait to get to page four!
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on 25 October 2017
A slow,brutal further annihilation of the Branson brand and the beard.
Tom Bower is scientific and analytical, there inst much in the way of prose, but this is not what this book is about.
Reading this should make us all feel incandescent or at the very least perturbed how Branson has got away with his BS for decades.
Virgin Galactic (still not launched to consumers) is the ultimate example of the Virgin style over substance branding.

Brilliant read.
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on 5 December 2016
Ok the author may be anti Branson but this biography reads more true than the auto biographies by the man himself. Clearly Branson uses his charm to manipulate and cheat people for his own self gain
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on 4 April 2016
"Nickel and dime" is Bernie Ecclestone's opinion of the "so-called billionaire" Branson. On reading Bower's expose, it's difficult to come to any other conclusion. Branson's a snake-oil salesman who got lucky.
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on 5 June 2014
Tom Bower is always thorough detailed and interesting and this most recent work retains and maintains these qualities. It looks behind the superficial veneer and displays some of the less pleasing aspects of the Capitalist System and it is not a pretty sight They occur and recur and successive governments are incapable or unwilling to take remedial action in case it disturbs the Geese that lays the Golden Eggs. Recent history displays how wrong they can be. However I found it a cracking good read
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on 9 November 2017
As ever, an excellent portrayal by Tom Bower unmasking Branson for what her really is - a criminal.
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on 24 March 2014
I read Bower's previous book "Branson" some time ago, and on seeing this new book was interested to read it.

Whilst it's worth reading, it really just catalogues a whole load of new things which are frankly the sort of shenanigans any business would get up to - the only real point being that Branson has a public persona totally at odds with his practical business ethos, and he's about as much a billionaire as Mr Trump. I personally think Branson is awful, and I'm baffled as to how many people fall for some of the seemingly idiotic things he gets them to do, but hey - he does manage it - so fair play to him.

Worth a read though. If only to keep your deposit money away from Virgin Galactic...
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on 12 June 2016
Supplier was great, however Tom Bower has lost his edge. With this book and the Ecclestone book he seems more interested in accepting their entertainment and taking their version of events rather than investing independently as he did with Maxwell and others. Shame as I alway enjoyed his books.
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on 3 September 2017
This is a strong factual account with little gloss and few assumptions. It reveals the aura of innovation and environmentalism around Branson is a little brittle and like many wealthy and
successful businessmen he is fantastic at taking credit but less adept at taking responsibility for what he has done.
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