I remember the first time I heard about Virgin airlines and spent a minute thinking if there’s a different meaning to this word besides the one I knew, because it did not make any sense to name a company Virgin. More than a decade and two autobiography’s later it totally makes the point.
As I’m finishing reading the final chapter “Seventy-five Close Shaves” in which Richard Branson almost died during his life (75!!! I mean cat with 9 lives has nothing on him..) I feel a bit sad I won’t have anymore pages to read. It’s like a finale of a serial. You had a ritual watching it and now that part of your life is over. Hopefully he keeps his word on writing the final book in his late nineties.
Did I like it? I give it strong 5 stars out of 5.
There’s something very special about the unbiased way he looks at things. Heart wide open, high in spirits but also very logical. His commitment to Virgin and the core of it even in hard situations adds two of the most valuable feelings you can provide as an entrepreneur – safety and a vision. There are a lot of things people can fake, but caring is not one of them. It just shows. He doesn’t mind looking stupid for a moment if the outcome is beneficial for the long run.
His way of life, to constantly being the new guy (a virgin) in an industry and then flipping the whole damn thing around and calling it out to be better, not by going through it, by destroying it, but with an example how it should be is the way how it should be. We should all aim to make the whole industry better, to pick a problem and solve it, not just competing for the price and reach.
I laughed, I almost cried, I was captivated and entertained by his language and love for the people, planet and potential of humankind. Before this book I did not really give a second thought about space travel, but now I’m sure in a few decades it will be very possible and ongoing.
Here are a few quotes that really caught my eye:
- Throwing money at a problem without having a clearly defined purpose will never solve anything.
- Asking for support is a strength, not a weakness. If you try to do everything yourself, you won’t succeed and will make yourself miserable along the way.
- If it can’t fit onto the back of an envelope, it’s probably a bad idea. Keep it short, sharp and picture-perfect.
- What I am good at is coming up with interesting ideas and then finding amazing people to turn them into reality.
- Some people are religious, some people are spiritual and some are neither. But a hug is something that everybody can appreciate.
- The more you support your staff, the healthier and happier your business will be.
- “We don’t build services to make money; we make money to build better services.”
- The President of Malawi, Joyce Banda said ‘A leader is someone who falls in love with the people they serve and allows the people to fall in love with them.’