Like A Virgin: Richard Branson
Updated: Mar 19, 2020
The following is an article “Like A Virgin: Richard Branson” by Marc Primo.
I recall an amusing story of a friend whose teenage son once asked him what Like A Virgin was all about. After a lengthy explanation about Madonna’s lyrics being a metaphor for falling in love, the boy cleared his throat and clarified that he wanted to know what Richard Branson’s book Like A Virgin was all about after he had seen it on his dad’s bookshelf.
Like a Virgin (of the entrepreneurial kind)
After an awkward silence, father and son erupted into laughter and the conversation continued without further ado. Suffice it to say, this real life anecdote was enough to pique my curiosity, and so I decided to obtain a copy of the book for myself.
I’ve always held Richard Branson in the highest regard and after reading all 352 pages of his fascinating paperback, I’ve come to understand and appreciate even more how he has managed to become so successful, albeit in a relatively unconventional way compared to the planet’s other billionaires—which just adds to his overall charisma.
Who is Richard Branson?
In case you aren’t too familiar with the name, Sir Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur, magnate, philanthropist, and dare I say it—daredevil. He is widely known as the founder of the Virgin Group, under which there are over 50 companies worldwide in various industries, ranging from aviation (Virgin Atlantic Airways, Virgin America) to retail (Virgin Megastore).
Daring not only in business, Branson has also made headlines, especially in the ‘90s and ‘00s, for performing dangerous stunts to promote his companies in outlandish ways. Examples of these include a failed attempt to travel around the world in a hot air balloon, and driving a military tank down New York’s 5th Avenue to launch Virgin Cola, which ended memorably as he feigned blowing up a Coca-Cola sign.
Key lessons from Like A Virgin
What I appreciate most about this book is how it provides practical tips and pointers from Branson himself, all of which make for sage advice regardless if you are a budding entrepreneur or high flying corporate suit. Without giving too much away, the following are some top of mind quotes from the book, which I can only describe as a rare read on business that is hard to put down once you pick it up:
“The best advice I could give anyone is to spend your time working on whatever you are passionate about in life.”
“If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers. It’s that simple.”
“Should somebody offer you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later.”
“Train people well enough so they can leave. Treat them well enough so they won’t want to.”
“Business opportunities are like buses; there’s always another one coming.”