Top positive review
31 people found this helpful
on 1 November 2008
Regardless of who you are - one thing you have to admit is that Richard Branson oozes charisma, energy and vitality. Even looking at the front cover of the book he is given an exotic yet accessible quality. But enough of this hero worship on my part - what are my thoughts on the contents of the book?
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".