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Losing My Virginity: How I've Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  53,593 ratings  ·  1,308 reviews
"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 Atlantic Airways), 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
Paperback, 416 pages
Published October 19th 1999 by Crown Business (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  53,593 ratings  ·  1,308 reviews

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Otis Chandler
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Otis by: Darius
I learned two major things from this book: the power of branding, and the fact that Richard Branson has balls of solid steel.

Branson is one of the great entrepreneurs of our era, and it was truly inspiring to hear his story in his own words. A kid who skipped college and dove straight into business, and time and time again proved he can succeed with a lot of will, determination, and his maverick ability to take big bets and win. Bransons' success is nothing short of inspirational.

I had no idea
Dec 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"I am yet to read an autobiography of an entrepreneur, which has been written so magnetically. It feels like that I was very much a part of Sir Richard Branson's journey from his boyhood to being one of century's most successful and chic business man, who happens to be having his feet firmly entrenched on the ground. Richard's humble beginning and the numerous sticky situations that he got into during the initial period of his entrepreneurial endeavors, did not deter him from reaching the awesom ...more
Jason Navallo
Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
One of the best autobiographies I've ever read!

Liked it so much that I actually used it as a source in my book, Thrive: 30 Inspirational Rags-to-Riches Stories.
Vitalijus Sostak
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed by this book, probably because my expectations about it heavily differed from the actual delivery that was intentional, by design.
This book is about personal journey through life, reminiscences about author's businesses, partners and major victories/battles. A significant part of the book is comprised of author's dangerous grand travels on sea and in the air; the last third of the book is devoted solely to personal travel diary.
Disappointingly for me, this book is NOT about
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
Loosing My Virginity

Excellent autobiography. Mr. Branson has a lot in common with Sam Walton and Ray Crock, except Mr. Branson has a more magnetic personality that he's used to his advantage in the age of mass media. Like all great men, he is a man of his time, and used his adventurous rebellious persona to promote himself and his brand.

His story is insightful, motivational, and more importantly - useful.

Like Walton and Crock, Branson's growth always was happening with bankers in the background
Usman Hickmath
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
How a dyslexic boy who did not perform well in school went onto become one of the most successful businessmen ever?

In his autobiography, Branson takes us through his adventurous, flamboyant life and shows us nothing is impossible. Even with over 600 pages, it never felt boring or slow. Definitely one of the most interesting autobiographies to read. It is full of exciting events, adventures and fun written in a very exciting manner.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I hv long admired branson, so in 2000, when i saw this book at a footpath wala in CP in Delhi, i immediately latched on to it!

The book is an immensely enjoyable, almost no holds barred autobiography of Branson's mercurial rise from a school drop out to the owner of Virgin Atlantic and many other companies, n how he kept building n rebuilding his businesses despite all odds.

Branson has spared nobody, including himself, nor has he let go of any chance to remember those who stood by him!

However, i
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
What struck me most in the book is 'Virgin is not a big group - it's a big brand made up of lots of small companies. Our priorities are the opposite of our large competitors'. Convention dictates that a company should look after its shareholders first, its customers next, and last of all worry about its employees. Virgin does the opposite. For us, our employees matter most. It just seems common sense to me that, if you start off with a happy, well-motivated workforce, you are much more likely to ...more
WOW. Richard Branson rocked my world with this book. I've learned so much about entrepreneurship, branding, risk and what it takes to succeed just from reading this book. Its amazing to read a story of a drop out who went on to change the world.

This is a must read.
Jul 08, 2015 rated it liked it
What type of person would you imagine Richard Branson to be? That's exactly how he came across in his auto-biography. Cheeky and sensationalist.

It was interesting to read how his businesses developed and how he sought to take on the big dogs, namely British Airways and GTech lottery. The hot air balloon adventures were also fascinating.

Branson is dyslexic, which gives insight into his business success. His brain had to develop ways to 'get around the system' to function properly in life and scho
Aug 24, 2011 rated it did not like it
When I reviewed this in 2011, I was young and naive, still believing the capitalist myth that becoming ridiculously wealthy was just a case of "trying your best". I'm quite embarrassed by this now, but here's my original review:

I thought this book was good. Although he's probably sensationalising quite a lot of it, there's no doubt the book left me feeling inspired - feeling like anything was possible, whatever your background. Definitely a motivational book: great if you're slightly doubting yo
Samuel Salzer
Jan 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Review: Entertaining and interesting read where Branson shares his and Virgins story to stardom as well as sharing how he survived everything from drowning, freezing and falling to his death during his many grand adventures around the world. I admire what Branson has accomplished through hard work, wit, and vision, yet his formula for success might not be one to live by since chances are that you simply won't live very long following it. Joking aside, the world could do well having more business ...more
Henrik Haapala

“My mother was determined to make us independent. When I was four years old, she stopped the car a few miles from our house, and made me find my own way home across the fields. P.15

I was trouble - and always in trouble. Aged eight I still couldn’t read. In fact, I was dyslexic and short-sighted. Despite sitting in front of the class, I couldn’t read the blackboard.

My dyslexia was a problem throughout my school life. Now, although my spelling is still sometimes poor, I have managed to overcome th
Jun 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly a very interesting and informative biography of Branson. This was the audio book and Richard narrated it thank god.

The battle between BA and Virgin Atlantic is very juicy and his life in general was non-stop interesting.
Patricia Makatsaria
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
Just too boring to waste my time reading. I kept waiting for something inspirational - lost me around page 75. There are just so many other books out there from which I can actually learn something.
Aug 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Possibly the best autobiography I've ever read. ...more
Greg Hopper
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business
More of a narrative of his life than anything useful for other people. What worked for Richard Branson probably ONLY works for Richard Branson. Entertaining.
Saurabh Hooda
Jan 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Richard Branson - the name itself invokes a vivid figure of liveliness, merriment and live life like king size attitude. His autobiography takes you through his entrepreneurial student life, his heady cash strapped days of Virgin Music expansion, his love life, his decision making process, his cross roads in life, his struggles, his failures, his mega successes, his battles and much more. The book presents Richard'��s candor, anecdotes and his attitude on platter to relish. I was surprised to kn ...more
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My first autobiography perhaps,
The book provides a really enjoyable account of Richard Branson's journey from a wonderfully talented albeit rebellious kid to being the driving force behind a multi-billion dollar conglomerate.
Synonymous with his reputation, the book is filled with stories of his daredevil exploits not only in the upper reaches of the atmosphere as a hot-air ballooning enthusiast but also on the business front where Branson defies conventional wisdom to emerge on top.
Though one ma
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I stayed enthralled and read the entire book in almost two days.Richard Branson,founder of the Virgin business empire, is a father of risk taker,a paragon of entrepreneurship, and a genius who has inspired English culture and lifestyles.
This book includes the birth of Virgin records, Virgin Atlantic Airways,Virgin Music and many more such astounding ventures.
He's life filled with challenges, interesting adventures, dreadful crises and stupendous money.
The splendid lessons I conned from this bo
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, memoir
This is not the first autobiography which i have read, there are other too Steve Jobs, Malala, Wolf of wall street, but this stands apart. It is enthralling,adventurous experience. Great insight to person rather extraordinary person with extraordinary thinking. This book is quite magical and can inspire and motivate anyone, and especially those who have zeal for entrepreneurship.

If i look from reader prospective this is one of the book with finest story telling and riveting to the core. I have
Jack Chapman
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A lot of CEOs have written, or had written for them, biographies extolling their extraordinary lives, their struggles to reach the top, the secrets of their incredible business acumen. Very few of them ever made as much money as Richard Branson, and none of them ever had so much fun with it.

Branson is the most amazing character, highly focussed but with a vast range of interests, a James Bond in a jumper. But what really makes him unique among the captains of stratospheric enterprise is that he
Louise Fry
Jan 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting read since I have to do a Project on Richard Branson for my university work - I didn’t expect him to be an interesting and well thought of person however his leadership skills and qualities along with his motivation to constantly help people and to make everything better including the world and also his constant ideas of business makes him an entirely fascinating man and someone the media doesn’t portray as
Joey Marcus
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies
Richard Branson is my hero. He has done everything his way and continues to do so. Hes done well and poorly but always could see that things would eventually get better. This Bio is more of an reflection of the trials and tribulations of his happiness, sadness and adventures of life and how playing by your own rules can pay off big time.
Diganta Sarkar
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Balls + Hard work + Some serendipity + A lot more balls = Richard Branson
Dane Cobain
Jul 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
I’ve had this book lying around for a good few years now, but I’ve been putting off picking it up for whatever reason. It’s kind of strange really, because I remember giving the prologue a read back when I picked it up and quite enjoying it, I just never had the momentum to keep going. But that all changed when I had to travel back to Tamworth for a family engagement because it’s something of a tradition of mine for me to pick up my longest unread book.

One of the good things is that it’s actuall
Jacques Bezuidenhout
Quite enjoyed this book. This book is only about the start of Richard's career, till about the age of 40.

Having read other biographies like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk, Richard is a very different person from what I've seen in the others.
He actually seems like a very nice person.

If you are expecting a book telling you how to get rich, what strategies to follow in business, recommendations on running a startup. This is not it.
This is about his journey. The emotions around it. The risks he took, and
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
What an extraordinary life he's led! In my opinion, he's the foremost icon of entrepreneurial spirit, as well as the personification of his own words "Screw it, let's do it!".

Richard Branson built his first business at the age of 15. He gradually went on to build the globally renowned Virgin group. His unrelenting enthusiasm to step into new waters is utterly inspiring - from stepping into the airlines industry after the success in music industry, to building carbon-composite reusable spacecraft
May 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I gave this five stars because biographies are the best way to learn the intricacies on multiple business factors and how people handle it when it came to Richard Branson his way of doing business is spectacular and mind opening it discusses his PR how he Became his marketing essentially ,why his businesses under the virgin brand are instantly credible and honest even in the financial industry 😅 ,every major challenge hes faced and how he overcame them are in the book and this is why biographies ...more
Mar 26, 2018 rated it liked it
I read this autobiography because I heard Branson interviewed on the Freakonomics podcast. He had made a comment that he was dyslexic and dropped out of school. He seemed to suggest that struggling students don't really need school to succeed as he did. This raised a question for me: So how do you start a company with a reading disability? The question really wasn't answered but he did surround himself in the early days with smart friends who helped first with the publication Student and then st ...more
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Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English business magnate, best known for his Virgin brand of over 360 companies. Branson's first successful business venture was at age 16, when he published a magazine called Student. He then set up a record mail-order business in 1970. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores and rebranded as zavvi in ...more

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