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Michael O'Leary: A Life In Full Flight

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  109 ratings  ·  9 reviews
Michael O'Leary is a business giant. He transformed Ryanair from a loss-making joke of an Irish carrier into one of the most valuable airlines in the world, and in the process he has revolutionized the very nature of commercial aviation. In this, the first biography of O'Leary, Alan Ruddock portrays the man in three dimensions and examines the business miracle - often talk ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 27th 2008 by Penguin (first published July 27th 2007)
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Jun 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well researched and well written account of O’Leary’s transformation of Ryanair from basket case to behemoth.

It shows how a hungry, opportunistic and ruthless individual will rise to the top in any circumstances. If O’Leary had applied for a job at Ryanair he would have been rejected. But by offering to work for Ryan for free he got his foot in the door, and once it was in, nothing would stand in his way.

Interesting read.
Alan Fisher
Sep 06, 2017 rated it liked it
No matter how you may feel about the airline's policies and way of doing business, he has done a remarkable job turning this unknown leasing company into a market leader and helped make air travel accessible to the average person.
Alessandro Orlandi
Feb 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
Interesting to know how Ryanair started and how a small failing company ended up being leader in Europe.
Jun 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
i was browsing the shelves at a bookstore in ireland, looking to pick up some literature that was more manageable than joyce's Odyssey. ran across this book, about michael o'leary, the irish fellow who took ryanair from a small, regional money-losing airline to what, in 2011, will be the biggest in europe. even since reading richard branson's losing my virginity, i've found the airline biz fascinating. so that was a hook... these two o'leary quotes on the book jacket sold me:

"there's no point in
Nov 25, 2010 rated it liked it
This became rather dry, and I soon yearned for more quotations from the man himself – you only learn at the end that he’d no interest in helping the author write the book. It is thought provoking for a business book, and makes you wonder if you could survive the burning intensity and obsession that drives this man. Working with Lactalis, you’d give your eye teeth to see someone in our business operate with one hundredth of the vision and direction this guy built Ryanair with. It’s quite obvious ...more
Mar 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
O'Leary has been badly let down by Ruddock. The early chapters dealing with o'Learys upbringing, his schooling and time at university were very poorly crafted. This is what happens when you go for the cheap no frills option.
The early days, the time of influences, cried out for a Wilbur Smith to paint the picture of the small, unattractive yet plucky country boy, so we could later see past the public image of the deranged gurning knacker of a culchie and somehow see a man we could love.
David Griffin
Nov 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read however it is very similar to the Ryanair book and focuses a lot more on the development of Ryanair than MO'L himself. I suppose this is understandable as his life is pretty much consumed by Ryanair. There are many humorous parts to the book which perfectly highlight his personality. Undoubtedly he is a fantastic businessman and has revolutionized the European Airline industry.
Willi Braun
Jan 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Entertaining to read, but after hundreds of pages only about Ryanair it gets a little bit boring. I expected more information about O'Leary's life. I think it's a great book to read only if you are a really big fan of Ryanair and the whole aviation business. Otherwise kinda boring.
Jessica Staines
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting story - yes O'Leary can come across as a bit of a twat but I think he's a legend! Great businessman, did amazing things for Ireland & aviation in general! ...more
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