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Leadership & Management Reviews

Book Review: Finding My Virginity by Richard Branson

Another glimpse into the thoughts, feelings and experiences of one of Britain’s most successful businessmen, through 44 true stories.

The Fortune Book Club Book Review: Finding My Virginity

Summary

Title: Finding My Virginity
Author: Richard Branson
Publisher: Virgin Books
Publication date: 5 July 2018
Pages: 544
ISBN-10:  9780753556139
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

There are very few things Richard Branson hasn’t done and after building numerous companies and breaking dozens of world records, he faces his ultimate challenge – the final frontier. Finding My Virginity is the next in the series of autobiographies that has further exposed the lifestyle and mentality behind one of the world’s most successful businessmen.

Review

I just do things because I love them and I want to do more new things that I love.

Finding My Virginity is the latest autobiography from British serial entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and it doesn’t fail to highlight the business acumen and rock-star lifestyle of one of the world’s wealthiest men.

A true man of many talents, Finding My Virginity emphasises the breadth of Richard’s capabilities across the spheres of politics, business, social justice, sport and family, and the book is comprised of 44 chapters that each focus on a key moment in either Richard’s personal or business life.

The book shows that he completely embodies the quote “It’s not breadth of life but depth of life” in every way possible. He’s a holder of seven world records, been influential in over 400 companies, is an advocate for drug reform and human rights and is the successful author of numerous books. There is very little this man can’t do.

While the chapters do seem to jump from topic to topic, country to country and forwards and backwards in time, they do help provide a sense of how erratic the life of a billionaire businessman truly is. You could be cross dressing as an AirAsia hostess one moment, to flying out to the Mojave desert to watch the launch of Virgin Galactic the next. The book reiterates that you never know what life has in store for you around the corner (or even in the next chapter).

Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Branson also provides the reader with a balanced insight into his lifestyle, by commenting on the lows as well as the highs. Chapters on 9/11, his house fire and the total desolation of the British Virgin Isles in 2017, bring an overwhelming contrast to the happy-go-lucky nature often portrayed online and in the press.

Furthermore, the revelation of social justice endeavours such as trying to provide asylum for Saddam Hussein in order to prevent the Iraq war, being a crucial figure in the creation of The Elders and a strong advocate of pedagogy and raising awareness of HIV in Africa, just goes to show that there is more to Branson than just business and charisma.

This is further supported by his ‘Circles’ methodology, that he brings to the heart of each of Virgin’s companies. The purpose of the method is to demonstrate how each company can make a wider social difference. ‘Circles’ is outlined as followed:

First of all draw a small imaginary circle around yourself. Before you can do anything for others make sure you have the right balance and health in your own life. Only then can you draw a slightly larger circle around your home that incorporates family, friends and neighbours and even the street outside your home. If you have a bit of money or a small company, draw a circle around the whole street or as much of the local community as you feel you and your team can help. If you are a national company, draw a circle around your country and set about tackling some of the bigger issues and helping government get on top of them. If you are an international company, like Virgin, use your entrepreneurial skills to look at really big global problems and set out to address them.

Richard Branson – Finding My Virginity

Finally in true Branson fashion, he outlines all 76 of his near death experiences to exhibit his ‘live life to the full’ mentality, showing just how important risk-taking is to living a wholesome and fulfilling life.

Overall Finding My Virginity is an entertaining and inspiring read, with a clever mix of wisdom, humour and humility to make it both accessible and thought-provoking. It’s hard to fault and you can’t help but feel motivated when reading and as such, it thoroughly deserves a perfect 5/5 rating.

Mentioned Reading

  • The Right Stuff – Tom Wolfe
  • The Skeptical Environmentalist – Bjorn Lomborg
  • WEconomy – Holly Branson

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By Jake Doran

Masters in Advanced Computer Science student at Keele University, interested in all things tech and business, with aspirations to undertake an MBA in the future.

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