Richard Branson, I’ve come to recently learn more about and respect through his two autobiographies. I read his first autobiography Losing my Virginity that talks about his early life, career, and experiences. I found that story to be truly inspiring and engaging that it was only after I finished reading it I realized he had a more recent one that I had intended to read the first time around! Finding My Virginity his follow-on autobiography that focuses on the last 20 years more in depth has a similar tone and feel yet provides new insights into Branson’s outlook on life.
Being an American I grew up not really knowing the Virgin brand that well, but recognizing it was a quirky company that was owned by an interesting guy. Besides that, I had no real experience or interactions with the company or its founder Richard Branson. Since reading his latest autobiography my respect and admiration for Richard Branson has grown tremendously. He approaches life with complete vigor and enthusiasm that reminds you of your childhood. He has brought that sense of wonder and adventure into all aspects of his life whether it be his first endeavors into business or going on wild sailing, ballooning, or kite surfing adventures. That energy and passion comes across throughout the autobiography.
What I most admire from Richard Branson is his ability to chase his dreams. He finds interest in a variety of things from politics, to music, to space travel and dreams about the future. Many of us as we grow older stop dreaming. We get bogged down in the duties and responsibilities of life and either stop dreaming or push them to the side because we are too old or can’t afford to take risks. What I learned from Richard’s stories is that not only does he continually dream he takes action. There is another camp of folks where dreaming is all that we do. What if I tried this new hobby or switched professions, but rarely do people act. Not only must you continue to dream but the key takeaway from Finding My Virginity is action.
The biggest piece missing for me from Finding My Virginity is the stories of failure and examples where things didn’t work out as planned. Branson’s personality and take on life allows him to see the positive in almost every situation but as a reader, he misses the opportunity to let failure sink in. He mentions accidents, fires, and business deals going sideways, but does not allow the time for those seemingly negative situations pierce the reader’s mind. He immediately goes to the positive spin which is both good but also led me to feel as if his life was perfect when I recognize his intent was not to do so. I recommend this book for its quirky and uplifting nature yet also encourage the reader to read deeper beyond the surface.