Srinivas's Reviews > Losing My Virginity

Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson
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Oct 06, 09

Read in January, 2007

Branson is one of the very few people, about whom I started with a low opinion and ended up admiring greatly.
I think I first noticed Branson when he came to Mumbai (in 2003?) to promote VirginAir; Well he was all over the place, on top of the plane posing with models, in the Mumbai local with 'Dabbawalahs'; obvious marketing stunts; According to my worldview at that time, those public stunts were reason enough to not take him seriously.

I think it was Atanu's admiration of him that tipped me to the great personality of Branson; It all starts with Atanu spotting a VirginAtlantic's plane named 'Tubular Belle' in an airport. He admires Branson's 'zany' sense of humor, and goes onto explain where that name comes from, the album 'Tubular Bells' that made a lot of money for Virgin Music. He goes onto talk about Branson's book 'Screw it, let's do it'.

Branson presents his story pretty honestly in this book. He candidly mentions how he duped customs to evade taxes on few truckloads of records during the early days of his record business. He eventually gets caught, and that experience teaches him a great lesson never to play with law.

His adventures traveling around the world in a hot air balloon are really amazing. 'Virgin Galactic' speaks of the great vision, and audacity of the man.

The story of how he had become the owner of Necker Island has several gems:
He gets stranded in an airport in the caribbean(?); it was the initial days of Virgin Music, and he doesn't have a lot of money. He hires a charter plane to go to his destination, sells the seats on the plane to other stranded passengers.
The asking price for Necker was around £5 million (?), he doesn't have money even remotely close to that range. He offers £150,000(?) :). The estate agent almost throws him out of that place. Eventually, the owner of the Necker sells it off to Branson for around £200,000(?).
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