A review of this outstanding Auto-Bio
from CNN 04 Mar 99 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz 2/14
(CNN) — No, it’s not a coming of age story, as the title would lead you to believe. Or is it? Actually, it is, just not in the traditional sense of Boy meets Girl story. Which is exactly how British mogul Richard Branson lives his life and runs his various Virgin companies: in a non-traditional way. Best known for starting Virgin Music, and for his recent failed attempts to circle the globe in a hot air balloon, Branson offers a fascinating autobiography of a man who succeeded by taking huge risks, proving that the established way is not the only way.
Branson, a poor HS student & injured athlete, made his mark in high school by starting an alternative school newspaper called “Student” with his friend Jonny Gems. While Jonny headed up the editorial side of the paper, Branson showed an affinity for the business end. He hustled to enlist local businesses to buy Ad space, which offset the cost of producing the paper. Soon, the newspaper consumed all of Branson’s time & energy, so he decided to drop out of school to focus primarily on the paper. Upon Branson’s exit, the school headmaster commented, “Branson, you’ll either wind up as a convict or a millionaire.”
Student Advisory Centre was started to help young people with problems that plagued them, such as teen pregnancy, suicide prevention, etc. while Branson was working on “Student”. This was the start of a lifetime of charitable endeavors that were as controversial and non-traditional as his business ventures.
Discount “Mail-order Music company was launched by Branson using the Student paper’s growing circulation as a platform. The venture quickly took off, but a Postal Strike illustrated to Branson how dependent he was on the Post Office to deliver the orders. That prompted him to open a Retail Music Store at a time when music stores in the United Kingdom were very cold & impersonal. Branson thought that if he offered a store with an inviting atmosphere, comfortable chairs & sofas to lounge in, + listening stations, then young people would congregate and talk about music. And they would buy more records. And they did !!!
[ Switching Horses, Virgin Music, Hobbies, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, Conclusion in Premium Content ]