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Losing My Virginity : How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
Read all about Chairman Richard Branson's story of building the Virgin Empire which includes Virgin Airlines, the airline famous for service innovation. Available in Hardcover (U.S.) and now also Hardcover (Europe).
Branson's empire--now encompassing interests in Virgin Airlines, pop music, soda pop, e-commerce, and financial services--began when the dyslexic 16-year-old dropped out of school in 1968 to found the British magazine Student. His headmaster said, "I predict that you will either go to prison or become a millionaire." Briefly imprisoned for dodging customs selling records, Branson got his first million by releasing Tubular Bells, a maverick recording all the stuffy executives rejected. (1998's Tubular Bells III puts the series' sales over 20 million.)
Despite wild tales of Branson's wife-swapping and Keith Richards fleeing naked from Branson's studio at gunpoint with another man's woman, the most shocking parts of the memoir concern British Airways' James Bond-like "dirty tricks" campaign against Virgin Airlines, resulting in the biggest award for damages in English history.
Though it's filled with famous names, witty quotes, and pulse-pounding accounts of lunatic balloon adventures, it is as a business thriller that the book really scores. His instinctive bet-the-ranch tactics could cost him all, or earn another billion. Either way, Branson will likely remain the most entertaining entrepreneur in Europe while running Virgin Airlines. --Tim Appelo
"Oh, screw it, let's do it."
That's the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Airlines), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none.
Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that "since we're complete virgins at business, let's call it just that: Virgin." Since then, Branson has written his own "rules" for success, creating a group of companies including Virgin Airlines with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy.
Many of Richard Branson's companies--Virgin Airlines, retailing, and cola are good examples--were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, "Don't do it." But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent.
And in this stressed-out, overworked age, Richard Branson gives us a new model: a dynamic, hardworking, successful entrepreneur who lives life to the fullest. Family, friends, fun, and adventure are equally important as business in Branson's life. Losing My Virginity is a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories including those of Virgin Airlines:
Crash-landing his hot-air balloon in the Algerian desert, yet remaining determined to have another go at being the first to circle the globe. Signing the Sex Pistols, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Boy George, and Phil Collins Fighting back when British Airways took on Virgin Airlines and successfully suing this pillar of the British business establishment. Swimming two miles to safety during a violent storm off the coast of Mexico
Selling Virgin Records to save Virgin Airlines
Staging a rescue flight on Virgin Airlines into Baghdad before the start of the Gulf War . . .
And much more. Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P. T. Barnum. About the Author Richard Branson, the founder and chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies, was born in 1950 and started his first business, a magazine called Student, when he was sixteen. Virgin began in 1970 as a mail-order record company and has since expanded into over a hundred businesses in areas as diverse as travel (Virgin Airlines), entertainment, retailing, media, financial services, and publishing. He lives in London and Oxfordshire with his wife, Joan, and their children, Holly and Sam.
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