Richard Branson wrote several books during his entrepreneurial journey and we recently reviewed one of them, which was “Like A Virgin“; however one of the most remarkable books he wrote was “Losing My Virginity“. In this book, which we have deeply read, he writes down his own biography. This is a biography of an Entrpreneur, a person who doesn’t want to have any limits.
In fact this continuous challenge has brought him in front of world records and oustanding expeditions around the world. He has always tried to do more, with the result of facing death in many situations; but this emphasis was the key to his success. He became who he was thanks to his own mentality and way of behaving. Before leaving school, his last school headmaster told him that “he would have probably ended up in prison or become a millionaire”.
This book starts from telling us his first days at school. With the aim to succeed in what he studied, he was always in trouble due to his dyslexia that didn’t help him in his studies. For this reason, he decided to leave school at the age of 16, with the aim to do what he loved, business. The first years of Richard Branson’s career are crucial to what he later learned and applied in the Virgin Group.
Student Magazine was his first venture, which at the end was just a non profitable business that was left behind after the launch of Virgin. Yes, Virgin. The simplicity of its own name, turned this company in a multi billion dollar company, which nowadays works on several different markets from mobile to airlines. The way Richard Branson understood branding was fundamental to what he wanted to achieve.
After funding Virgin Music and Virgin Recors, there was a huge opportunity on the market that would have shifted the entire Virgin group in a new ecosystem, that was the born of Virgin Atlantic, an airline company. This was the first step towards many other Virgin companies.
Richard Branson, while expanding the Virgin Group, overtook many successful and unsuccessful challenges such as crossing the atlantic with a hot air balloon. While these challenges were seen as crazy attempts, they were the best way to promote the Virgin brand. Richard Branson stood up as the founder and CEO of the company who let his own chief executive officer fly in a mission with poor possibilities of coming back. This was the early spirit that kept Virgin going forward.
However one of the most interesting and relavant parts of this book is when Richard tells about the acquisition of Necker Island. Necker was part of the Virgin Island and the initial offer was up to 3M£, but after a few months the owner called Branson and offered it for less than 180k£. With this deal, Richard Branson had managed to acquire and Island at the same price of a common and small house.
It almost feels awkard reading what Branson has achieved. In some cases, it seems he has lived two lives. He run a marathon at the age of 62, he still plays kite surf on Necker Island, he loves travelling and he has the best connections of the world. In particular he is very touching the strong relationship that he currently has with Nelson Mandela, the man who changed the way black people were considered in South Africa.
As many other capitlists have done during their life time, Richard Branson is continuosly involved in humanitarian causes. Thanks to Virgin Unite and other groups, he has been able to perform remarkable deeds in Africa. This strong feeling to humanitarian causes led to the foundation of the Global Elders. The Elders are the most spiritual and the wisest people in the world, who speak in favor of human rights and great ideas to support new cultures and countries.
This book is a must read for every entrepreneur, not because Richard’s life is inspiring, but because it can give us the strenght to keep going forward and never give up in front of advertisities and problems. Richard Branson has always believed in his projects, showing a great personality and human spirit; these are the qualities that we should get and improve by reading this book, because if you give up you will never succeed.