Wednesday, January 21

Book Review : Losing my Virginity – Richard Branson - World's greatest Entreprenuer

I am glad I picked up this book some days back from the library. What way to end the year. The only thing I knew about Richard Branson was that he was associated with the Virgin Group.  I remember I had read about it way back in 2008 when I had just been a fresher out of college and hunting job. I had come for an interview and the owner had Richard Branson’s book in his book shelf.
The book’s subtitle – “World’s greatest Entrepreneur” – is indeed applicable to Richard. The book itself is a roller coasters ride and I was fascinated by the life and works of Sir Richard Branson. The book starts with a Ballooning expedition that Richard B. took up as a hobby. This shows that he was not at all afraid to plunge himself in risk, he liked adventures and later in the book I learned that it was all true. Because the way Virgin Group expanded leaps and bounds introducing great products to the consumers and making Virgin a brand, only Richard Branson could do that.
This book, like no other book gets into details wherever required and keeps the reader intrigued. We get to learn the early yesteryears of Sir Richard Branson, how he started “Student” a magazine for the students and how he expanded on the business by introducing new products down the line. How he formed a team and started the Virgin Group.  Things that I learned from this book were that Richard Branson was a risk taking man, he wanted to try new things and was always ready to push himself an extra mile if required.  To establish such a large empire, one has to be calm and at the same time also make rigid decisions.
I really enjoyed reading about Virgin music, however the best part was in Virgin Atlantic. One can really learn a lot from this entrepreneur.
Below are some of the notes I took down directly from the book. I am posting it here just for my future reference.
·         Parents Supportive.
·         Incubated an idea to start a magazine “Student” with a friend at Stowe – a big public school at Buckinghamshire.
·         Headmaster’s parting words, “Congratulations, Branson. I predict that you will either go to prison or become a millionaire”.
·         Throughout my life, I’ve always needed somebody as a counterbalance, to compensate for my weakness and to work of my Strengths.
·         Business could be a creative enterprise in itself. Create something that is original and stand out in the crowd, Something that will last and serve some useful purpose. Above all, you want to create something that you are proud of.
·         A business has to be involving, it has to be fun and above all it has to exercise your creative instincts.
·         Music was tremendously exciting, it was political, it was anarchic, it summed up the young generations dream of changing the world.
·         It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk taker, then the art of a good risk is to protect the downside.
·         “Do you realize what you are getting into?” McLaren asked me. “I do”, I assured hm. “The question is, do you?”
·         “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” – Oscar wilde.
·         “When you are invited for dinner, you’re not meant to walk away with cutlery.
·         I am always trying to broaden the group so that we are not dependent upon a narrow source of income, but I suspect that this is due more to inquisitiveness and restlessness that sound financial sense.
·         I resigned myself to fate and forced myself to make the best of it.
·         I have always believed that personal relationships are vital in business and that people should be directly accountable for their actions.
·         I told him that I just wanted the chance to compete with British Airways and that I wasn’t going to let them walk all over me.
·         If you put your mind to something you can attempt anything.
·         I not only find the work both inspiring and relaxing but also enjoy the brief solitude.
·         I suppose that he called on a Saturday night to impress upon me how urgent our financial crises was and once again he wanted to go over the figures.
·         I felt a wave of indignation (anger caused by something that is unfair or wrong)
·         It’s like having to kill something to prove that it was alive.
·         It’s so easy to pull something to pieces. It’s so much more difficult to build it up.
·         We had $500 million in the bank. At this point I could have retired and concentrated my energies on learning how to paint watercolors or how to beat my mum at golf. It wasn’t in my nature to do so. People asked me, “Why don’t you have some fun now?”, but they were missing the point. As far as I am concerned, this was fun. Fun is at the core of how I like to do business.
·         For anyone who starts without financial backing a very thin line exists between success and failure. Survival is the key priority.

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