6 min read ⌚
The New Autobiography
In 1998, Richard Branson – oh, sorry, that’s actually Sir Richard Branson – published his debut book titled “Losing My Virginity,” a 600-page autobiography which was lauded by both critics and general readers.
Twenty years and six books later – he’s back with the rest of the story: “Finding My Virginity” is the iconic sequel to an iconic memoir of an iconoclastic showman.
Who Should Read “Finding My Virginity”? And Why?
Oh, come on – it’s Richard Branson! If anybody has a life story to tell – it’s him! While we would probably struggle to pen an exciting chapter or two, Branson’s autobiography, across his two memoirs, is over 1,000 pages long!
You thought you’ve read everything once you finished “Losing My Virginity”?
Well, you thought wrong!
Delve even deeper into the story of Branson and “Virgin” with “Finding My Virginity.” And you don’t need to be an entrepreneur or a would-be business magnate. You just need to be interested in remarkable life stories.
About Richard Branson
A high-school dropout, he started a magazine called “Student” at the age of 16, before setting up a mail-order record business four years later. In 1972, at the age of 22, Branson opened his first record store, “Virgin Records,” a brand which will grow rapidly during the next few decades, allowing Branson’s empire to expand in many different areas.
In 2000, Branson was knighted for his services to entrepreneurship, and two years later, he was voted the 85th Greatest Briton in history.
“Finding My Virginity PDF Summary”
If you know anything about Richard Branson – you know, other than that he’s quite mad, bad, and… well, quite entertaining to know – you certainly know that he founded Virgin Group Ltd., a multi-billion multinational corporation which needs a separate Wikipedia article to list all of its subsidiaries and investments.
“Finding My Virginity” is about them. And how Branson made them what they are.
We start off with Virgin Atlantic, the seventh-largest UK airline. However, it didn’t get there without a fight. And, of course, the sassiness and chutzpah which make Richard Branson such a showman.
And the story goes like this.
Branson didn’t like British Airways – and British Airways didn’t like Branson. And in business – being a sort of a regulated war – everything is allowed. BA’s method: printing tedious libelous remarks about Virgin Atlantic. The oldest trick in the book.
Branson’s way (and he always does things his way): in-flight massages. And a Heathrow sign that read: “BA Don’t Give a Shiatsu.”
Wait till you hear the next one!
You know the London Eye, the 400-feet high Ferris Wheel on the South Bank of the Thames? Well, its raising was sponsored by BA. Unfortunately, due to a technical problem, the engineers weren’t able to put it up, leaving it stranded sideways close to opening day.
Branson knew that the press is on its way to report on this – and he felt it was his duty to make their reports a bit more interesting. So, he scrambled a message and put it on a blimp which flew from an airship company just outside of London.
The result: a blimp flying over the London Eye while bearing the slogan “BA Can’t Get It Up.”
Now, how’s this for a marketing strategy?
Now, here’s one picture-perfect example of what competitive advantage and disruptive innovation mean.
Virgin Mobile UK launched in 1999, and by the end of the next year, it had half a million subscribers and was estimated to be worth over 1 billion dollars.
How did that happen?
Well, you see, Virgin Mobile UK was the world’s first mobile virtual network operator. Meaning: instead of building a network of its own, it partnered with Deutsche Telecom (the parent company of T-Mobile) and used theirs instead.
This reduced costs and gave “Virgin Mobile UK” the chance of offering pay-as-you-go plans, another first in the world.
No wonder that, in the meantime, Virgin Mobile expanded to over 15 countries, with its USA subsidiary – one of the fastest-growing mobile companies in the world.
Now, we can go on!
Corbyn’s “Traingate” aside, Virgin Trains is probably one of the companies responsible for improving the previously government-owned rail service. Before being sold for over 4 billion dollars, Virgin America was considered one of the best airline companies on the other side of the Atlantic.
Now, that would be a great way to cap Richard Branson’s flamboyant career, wouldn’t it?
Key Lessons from “Finding My Virginity”
1. Boldly Go Where Many Men Have Been Screwed Before
2. Build a Great Team – and Step Aside
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Your Mind – Especially If It Gets You in Trouble
Boldly Go Where Many Men Have Been Screwed Before
Many people think that entrepreneurship is about doing something that nobody has done before. Richard Branson’s career is a proof that you don’t always need to be original. Just offer people a better service – and that will do the trick.
Virgin Trains wouldn’t have existed if the nationalized railway service had done its job well before them. Virgin Atlantic wouldn’t have had a beef with British Airways if the latter had bothered to give shiatsu. And the gym chain Virgin Active was established once Richard Branson realized that everybody had something against their gym.
So, do that: see what’s wrong with a service, and build a company which will improve it. If you’ve learned anything from “Field of Dreams,” you already know the drill: if you build it, they will come.
Build a Great Team – and Step Aside
It’s always a good idea to only go into a business you understand beforehand. However, if you really want to venture somewhere else, please, don’t be a smartass. And leave the job to those who know how to do it.
That’s why, when Richard Branson wanted to found a charity, he gave a call to a friend of his. And what a friend, indeed!
Fortunately to Branson, Nelson Mandela agreed to become the first Elder of Virgin Unite. Even more, he agreed to pick 12 more Elders to run the charity and make the world a better place. And when Mandela calls you – you come.
So, soon enough, the Elders included more Nobel Prize winners than your history book. Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Muhammad Yunus, Kofi Annan…
Now, that’s what you call a team, ha?
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Your Mind – Especially If It Gets You in Trouble
Many have noted that “Finding My Virginity” is much more political than “Losing My Virginity” – and not few have criticized Branson for this.
He, however, couldn’t care less.
Whether it is about South Africa’s HIV issue, climate change, or the decriminalization of drugs, whether it is about Trump, Hillary Clinton, or Jeremy Corbyn – Branson has a word or two to say (or, in this case, write).
Sometimes, he’s right; sometimes he’s probably not. Either way, the only way we’ll ever find out which one of the two is it – is if he speaks his mind.
You know – the beautiful and dying art of disagreement.
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“Finding My Virginity” Quotes‘Remember, it’s not material things that matter in life,’ I told them. ‘Things aren’t important, people are. All that matters is that everyone is safe. Click To Tweet Developing mental toughness isn’t just about being resilient – it’s about accessing your reserve tank when you think you just can’t go any further. Click To Tweet We owe our freedom to extraordinary people,’ he told the assembled crowd. ‘The bad, the evil, doesn’t have the last word. It is ultimately goodness and laughter and joy and caring and compassion.’ Click To Tweet Whenever you are setting up a new project, the most important thing is to surround yourself with people who are better than yourself, have different skills and a healthy combination of enthusiasm and experience. Click To Tweet
Our Critical Review
“Finding My Virginity” is not as interesting as “Losing My Virginity.” After all, even Richard Branson doesn’t have 1,000-page-long stories to tell.
But it’s still a must-read. Especially if you’re an entrepreneur. Or someone who likes to think differently.