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

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; Updated edition (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307720748
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307720740
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,318 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Editorial Reviews


“Richard is good-looking and very smart, which is sexy to start with. He also makes a billion dollars before breakfast—and still knows how to have fun."
-- Ivana Trump
“Few people in contemporary business are as colorful, shrewd, and irreverent, and probably no one’s nearly as much fun to be around. . . . Branson embodies America’s cherished mythology of the iconoclastic, swashbuckling entrepreneur."
-- GQ
“Branson wears his fame and money exceedingly well: no necktie, no chauffeur, no snooty clubs. . . . What continues to set Branson apart is the unique -- and, to some, baffling -- nature of his ambition. . . . He isn’t interested in power in the usual sense of influencing other people. . . . Boiled down to its singular essence, Richard Branson just wants to have fun.”
-- Newsweek
“Branson, a self-described ‘adventure capitalist,’ is a business-creation engine who was clearly born in the wrong place. . . . Those business instincts are matched by an ability to motivate people who work for him. And who wouldn’t want to -- Branson seems hell-bent on making sure that everybody, but everybody, is having as much fun as he is.”
-- Time
“Richard Branson . . . is dressed to the nines: in a $10,000 white silk bridal gown with a traditional veil and train and acres of lace. . . . Branson is expected to do the unexpected, even the bizarre -- anything to publicize his latest venture. . . . The fact is, Branson’s widely reported stunts seem almost staid compared to the unconventional way he manages his burgeoning empire.”
-- Forbes ASAP

From the Inside Flap

"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 wear, Branson has a track record second to none.

Losing My Virginity is the unusual, frequently outrageous autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time. When Richard Branson started his first business, he and his friends decided that "since we're complete virgins at business, let's call it just that: Virgin." Since then, Branson has written his own "rules" for success, creating a group of companies with a global presence, but no central headquarters, no management hierarchy, and minimal bureaucracy.

Many of Richard Branson's companies--airlines, retailing, and cola are good examples--were started in the face of entrenched competition. The experts said, "Don't do it." But Branson found golden opportunities in markets in which customers have been ripped off or underserved, where confusion reigns, and the competition is complacent.
And in this stressed-out, overworked age, Richard Branson gives us a new model: a dynamic, hardworking, successful entrepreneur who lives life to the fullest. Family, friends, fun, and adventure are equally important as business in Branson's life. Losing My Virginity is a portrait of a productive, sane, balanced life, filled with rich and colorful stories:

Crash-landing his hot-air balloon in the Algerian desert, yet remaining determined to have another go at being the first to circle the globe

Signing the Sex Pistols, Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones, Boy George, and Phil Collins

Fighting back when British Airways took on Virgin Atlantic and successfully suing this pillar of the British business establishment

Swimming two miles to safety during a violent storm off the coast of Mexico

Selling Virgin Records to save Virgin Atlantic

Staging a rescue flight into Baghdad before the start of the Gulf War . . .

And much more. Losing My Virginity is the ultimate tale of personal and business survival from a man who combines the business prowess of Bill Gates and the promotional instincts of P. T. Barnum.

Also available in the UK from Virgin Publishing, and in Canada from General Publishing, --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 85 customer reviews
I love reading his books and it is the second time I have read this book.
Really enjoyed reading this book, very insightful and humbling to learn about how much Richard accomplished so young!
LOSING MY VIRGINITY is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary man, Richard Branson.
high aadmi

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By high aadmi on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Warning: Don't get carried away by the title of this book, it is purely metaphoric.

When you are handed a 600 page autobiography of an entrepreneur, at first, you may wonder whether such a piece is worth even leafing through. Who has the time to read stuff like this?

LOSING MY VIRGINITY is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary man, Richard Branson. One may actually have some reservations about reading about a not exactly well-known business magnate (I am talking about India, of course). But rest assured, once you read through the author's bio and the very impressive blurbs, you will realize that it is far from a conventional (boring, if you like) memoir.

Branson is one of a rare breed, a paragon of British entrepreneurship, and a genius who has revolutionized British culture and lifestyles. Throughout this book, one can find a real humility in Branson's narrative of himself and his experiences. Like most contemporary memoirists, Branson uses the confessional mode of writing, which has allowed him to do things that a conventional novel will not. Branson's style of writing is so good-humored and his perceptions so remarkable that this book is worth a read even if you don't have the slightest interest in business. As one critic wrote about this book - Heavy but impossible to put down.

The book is written in a chronological fashion, and the chapters have rather stimulating titles. The chapters are actual chunks taken from Branson's life, and provide a rich visual and verbal experience to the reader. Some 130 photographs (both color and black & white) are there, and they complement the narrative beautifully.

It is fast paced, and has an honesty which is a little trivial at times. Branson reveals much about himself.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Pranav Chandrasekhar on March 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
"Losing my virginity" is an entertaining page-turner all the way from the beginning to the end. It is fascinating to read about what a mildly dyslexic man with no college education could create for himself.

Richard Branson is a man with a zest for life and all its challenges. Fun lies at the core of everything he does. The best part is he makes money doing what he does. His social circle includes a wide variety of people that include his small-town neighbours, Peter Gabriel, Queen Noor and Rod Stewart. The book includes the birth of Virgin records, Branson's daredevil ballooning adventures, his legal battle with British Airways, and experiences that I truly wish were personal experiences.

It will leave you hooked all the way until the end. Every guy that reads this will wish that this is the life he could lead - definitely the European dream.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Krasimir Karamfilov on October 26, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic. It's written by a man, who has achieved so much more than we, the readers, have achieved. He leads the Virgin empire with a lot of honesty, integrity, and fun. His life is truly inspirational and very educational.

In a nutshell, one can become a peer of Richard Branson's when one:

1. Never accepts "no" for an answer
2. Tries everything at least once
3. Lives life to the fullest one day at a time
4. Challenges the status quo
5. Loves his family and friends more than everything else
6. Embraces competition
7. Works, works, works
8. Grows, grows, grows
9. Has fun
10. Gives

If we all do these 10 things, the world would be a paradise. Richard Branson has clearly created his own paradise with Virgin. God bless him.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Yoni Levitan on November 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Amazon Verified Purchase
If you are familiar with Richard Branson's story, you may know how one of his teachers famously said that he would either "be in jail or be a millionaire" by the age of 25. It has taken me a while to be able to articulate my thoughts towards this, but having recently read the rather excellent Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Talem I think I can now put my finger on it. If you read this book you will learn a few things about how to treat employees well, how to build a consistent brand that retains its essence across wildly divergent industries, and how to live an exciting life. It just didn't live up to the really high expectations friends set for me.

Branson is undoubtedly a talented entrepreneur, and one can't help but admire how he has dedicated the latter part of his life to social issues. One thing I love about him is his naivety when it comes to doing good. As the saying goes, when you don't know something is impossible it all of the sudden becomes a lot less daunting and achievable. I think he has, or in the process of proving many "experts" wrong when it comes to things as far ranging as saving endangered species and creating a commercial space tourism company (which in the long-term, along with Space X, will do much to benefit human kind).

Despite this, there are several points in Branson's story where I can't help but think that if one of the many possible alternatives were to have taken place, he would have been wiped out in a manner that would have been difficult to recover from.
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