The Book That Changed Richard Branson’s Life

The Virgin Group founder on what gives him energy and his secret life hack.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Richard Branson: Play tennis and if the wind is up go kite-surfing. Then spend time with my family — this puts me in a great mind frame for the rest of the day.

TG: What gives you energy?
RB: Keeping really fit, drinking loads of tea and challenging myself every minute of the day.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
RB: Write it down! I can’t tell you where I’d be if I hadn’t had a pen on hand to write down my ideas as soon as they came to me.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
RB: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie — ever since reading it as a child, Peter Pan has been my favourite character, and I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from the book. I’ve never really wanted to grow up and I’ve always wanted to fly!

TG: How do you deal with email?
RB: I’ll do the urgent things early in the morning or late in the afternoon and the rest I’ll do on long flights which I seem to have many of!

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
RB: What I’d like to do with it would be far more interesting!

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
RB: As long as I get my exercise in I very rarely feel burnt out. I’ve always managed to get a pretty good balance in my life with things like working from home with the family and having wonderful breaks with them. Recently I’ve swapped a few glasses of alcohol in the evenings for sparking water and lemon and have found that makes an even greater difference. I’ve also found it’s been much easier to do than I thought it would be with all of the socialising that goes on at Necker Island!

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
RB: “Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” — Victor Kiam


Tie-loathing adventurer, philanthropist & troublemaker, who believes in turning ideas into reality. Otherwise known as Dr Yes at Virgin!