Life lessons from the Virgin entrepreneur

Richard Branson needs no introduction, his now-famous adventurous spirit supersedes him, not to mention his numerous successes as an entrepreneur. Born into modesty, to parents who encouraged him to challenge himself, Branson has lived on the belief that anything is possible. His life is one that is filled with lessons, adventures, trying times and miracles and he has chosen to share some of these in the 106 pages of Screw It, Let’s Do It. After all, this book is a part of the ‘Quick Read’ series that is published by his label Virgin Books.

Screw It, Let’s Do It, is no literary marvel. The writing is fast paced and makes for effortless reading, all while being insightful. It intends to motivate without being condescending and Branson achieves this by not preaching his mottos in life, but, by taking the readers through the journey that led to these principles becoming a part of his and his company’s characteristics. He is in essence a story teller here and the conversational tone through the book gives one that very feeling.

Pages from his life

The book is dotted with anecdotes from his life and the reader can almost experience how he learnt these lessons himself. His evolution as a human being and as a businessman is illustrated by carefully chosen stories. The power of saying yes, the challenge of life, giving back and the value of family and friends are some of the life lessons that Branson imparts to his reader. He speaks of fighting to keep Virgin Airlines up in the air, while having to let go of Virgin Music, the company that made him. Also, why he chose to reverse Virgin’s public company status and make it a private undertaking once again and how he went about it. The lessons in business are aplenty, but, the lessons in life are as significant in this book.

Here is one stand-out anecdote – Branson’s thirst for travel and adventure were always insatiable, even when he was struggling to establish his music label. But, being broke never meant the denial of an adventure. After exhausting all his funds on a band signing mission in Jamaica, Branson came upon the chance to rekindle the flame with his now wife Joan. With no cash to spend, he chose to contact estate agents in the British Virgin Islands and pose as a potential buyer. Royal treatment ensued and it was on this trip that he discovered Necker Island. It would be some time before he bought this little paradise, but, his spirit is evident as he narrates the journey. More significantly, it was this trip that sparked the idea behind Virgin Airlines. Branson was stranded in Puerto Rico with several other passengers and took it upon himself to charter a plane and sell the remainder of the seats to the other passengers. A perfect example to budding entrepreneurs on possessing the ability to grab at every possible opportunity.

What Branson has achieved through this writing exercise is to share the realisations that he has made on his road to success. He encourages a no guts, no glory attitude, but, not stupidity and as in life and business, his principles and mottos are not exclusive to either.

The title perhaps says it best. So, screw it and just read this one. You never know what you might take away from it.

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