Review of Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

This man is a living legend.

Apart from being a high profile character his origins are a true story of how a positive attitude and unwavering grit can build the life you want. Richard doesn’t see obstacles, he sees opportunities. He sees white space where others see black space, and he paints this white space with a core set of principles:

  • Having fun. If it’s not fun he’s not into it. Every business he’s built was because he thought it would be fun or was something he was passionate about.
  • He surrounds himself with great people. A large part of his success was by building businesses around great people. One of his top priorities in his companies is taking care of the employees. He believes that a great brand is fostered from within. So, if you take care of your employees by treating them well with respect, this gets passed down to the customers who are also taken care of. His approach to people placement is by where their hearts and interests lay. When he chooses a CEO for one of the companies it’s based on drive, attitude and aptitude.
  • “I’ll try anything at least once”. A chapter of the book and a guiding principle. He’s a true adventurer at heart and throws himself into the unknowns of industry and business with great curiosity. Richard was not an expert in music, he was not an expert in aviation, he was not an expert on trains, he was not an expert in mobile industry, and he certainly wasn’t an expert in space flight. But that didn’t stop him from wanting to explore and provide great products and services to well established industries. To him, this was the fun part, and even though he endured massive setbacks, he always viewed them as opportunities.
  • Do the right thing. Richard, at least in the business sense, believes deeply in doing the right thing for his customers and employees. His business decisions are largely based on this principle and he’ll fight to the teeth to hold this principle true as best he can. During one of his toughest years when British Airways was trying to undermine Virgin Atlantic, he sold Virgin Records (basically his baby) to ensure Virgin Atlantic and it’s thousands of employees had jobs. Thus, keeping two business up instead of one flat lining and tanking.

This book comes with high regard, and was a fascinating read. Just when you think things are going well for Richard another massive setback is on the rise. It’s amazing to read about his insights and the decision making process he has. His spirit to endure, to carry on, and to have fun doing it is an inspiration to many.