RICHARD BRANSON BOOK REVIEW FOR BUSINESS STRIPPED BARE
Richard describes the book another ‘life lesson’ and opportunity to remind himself of the business escapades he has been involved in over the years.
The book has a comprehensive index so that those readers looking to home in on specific topics can more easily find what they are looking for. It also has a useful in-built bookmark for those who read a section at a time or want to mark an important reference.
The very front and back of the book you see handwritten extracts from Richard’s diary which in and of itself makes for very interesting reading.
Business Stripped Bare runs to 323 pages (excluding the index) and is broken down into 8 key chapters:
- People: Find Good People – Set Them Free
- Brand: Flying the Flag
- Delivery: Special Delivery
- Learning from Mistakes and Setbacks: Damage Report
- Innovation: A Driver for Business
- Entrepreneurs and Leadership: Holding on and Letting Go
- Social Responsibility: Just Business
- Epilogue: Success
It is refreshingly straightforward and written in the first person so Richard speaks in terms of ‘I ‘ and ‘We’ as he shares insights into real life situations, challenges, triumphs and successes.
Richard literally shares about stripping bare for some of his more extravagant product launches: “In Times Square in July 2011, I paid homage to the hit British film The Full Monty; wearing only a cellphone to cover my shame.”
He discusses the way he does business, his feelings about business, how he makes decisions, his views on entrepreneurship, how Virgin are the exception to the traditional business wisdom of sticking with what you know, what punters really care about,
He shares also shares some of his inspirations such as Einstein, Mohammad Ali and Brett Godfrey. On some level it feels as though you are sitting and having a chat with Richard as the book is written in such an open and conversational style.
Reading the book really does give you an insight into how Sir Richard does business, his expansion strategy, his biggest financial gambles, a background to some of the business decisions he has made over the years. It is also a political journey, taking the reader on a trip through history and how times, politics and trends have changed (or not) over the past 30 years.
You also get a mini master class on various industries; for instance, there is a great section on the music industry in the Delivery Chapter. There are also insights into the Airline, Lottery, Gym, Financial, and Mobile industries.
For those readers interested NLP or behavioural psychology, the book gives a great insight into Richards values both in terms of life, and business, the way he thinks, his drivers, and motivators. I for one will be delving in to this more deeply on my 2nd pass through the book. It also gives some incredible insights on how he lives his life and why he has taken some of the seemingly crazy risks.
Despite Richards’ assertion during a recent live interview I attended that he’s not good with numbers, the book shares figures, percentages and numbers which highlight just what is required to run a global business and provide the level of quality that Virgin aspires to.
One of the gems I particularly liked in the chapter on Delivery regarding Virgin’s entry into the mobile phone industry was:
“So we would not follow the ‘confusion marketing’ of the other guys. I wanted the whole mobile business to be simple enough that even I could understand what was being charged. It’s a basic message business message. If the directors can’t get their head around the pricing structure of anything, then how on earth is the consumer going to work it out?”
For those losing heart that they simply don’t have the business acumen necessary to run a business, halfway through the book Richard says: “I hope it’s clear by now that you don’t necessarily need an accounting or legal brain to run a successful business. Our approach has come by asking questions.”
It finishes with a reproduction of the lovely piece by Rudyard Kipling called ‘If’.
IN MY VIEW
A great read, and well worth the time and investment.
I will leave you with the quote that is on the back cover of the book:
“The brave my not live forever – but the cautious do not live at all!”
ABOUT MARILYN DEVONISH
Marilyn Devonish is Freelance Writer, Transformational Speaker, Certified PhotoReading Instructor, Accelerated Learning Coach, Change Management Specialist, Life & Executive Coach, and Leadership Development Trainer.
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