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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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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 15 March 2016
An excellent expose of a snake oil selling parasite...a close friend of bliar...and all the other parasitical worms which infest the system.
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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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on 18 September 2015
Expertly written and an absorbing read, an eye opener to how this publicity seeking man actually carries out his business dealings. I doubt Mr Branson will be sending Tom Bower a Christmas gift...must read
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on 18 July 2017
Good quality
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on 8 April 2014
Or maybe he has (I bought it a long time ago, only just got round to writing a review). If, like me, you'd always thought there was something dodgy about Richard Branson, this book will confirm your suspicions. Tom Bower did a nice hatchet job on Robert Maxwell, and he's done another one on Branson. If you just want to know the dirt, you can Google Branson and get the full SP in a few pages. But Tom Bower has a good writing style, and a book is a book.
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on 25 March 2014
If you've ever been sucked in by the Branson myth like I have, then this is essential reading. I still hugely admire Branson and what he's achieved and I think he's done more to encourage and inspire entrepreneurship than most successful business people - however, what's important is to get the truth about how he's done it, what really goes on behind the scenes and what makes the man tick.

As a business owner myself, I often looked a Branson in awe wondering how on earth he's managed to create so many different hugely 'successful' businesses while I'm so busy trying to build just the one! Tom Bower has done the world a great favour by unveiling the smoke and mirrors that surround Branson and as a result has perhaps saved many entrepreneurs from losing everything they've worked for by trying to clone an empire building strategy and persona portrayed by Branson, that isn't actually correct.
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on 15 August 2015
This reads like the CV of almost any successful venture capitalist. Branson is different in that he likes the personal publicity, the knockabout and his Virgin brand name. He was foolish to take on Murdoch or his son; they don't take prisoners and are very focussed on their industry where Branson is all over the place.
My guess is that as soon as his new Galactic rocket is made he will be looking to exit the space business, probably by 'merging' with a space company that actually knows what it is doing. He will probably franchise the Virgin Galactic brand name to the new owner in order to maintain the illusion of Virgin going in to space. I think this whole venture was the ultimate ego driven mistake.
This book certainly dismantles the 'frivolous' image, and there is something deeply unpleasant about the man.
The book is interesting and full of detail, but a bit repetitive, i.e. describing several similar situations in great detail, and can be boring.
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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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