Bit Better Book Club 🎉

Weeks 19 and 20: Losing My Virginity 🚀

Welcome to weeks 19 and 20!

Time to read:

Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

This one should be a quick read. Richard Branson built an empire on what seems to be odd ideas. Other than the person of Branson himself, all his companies have one thing in common: they aim for customer satisfaction.

After the well-received “Shoe Dog”, we dig into another memoir of a billionaire entrepreneur.

Just 30 pages (or 24 minutes for an audiobook) a day to finish it in 2 weeks :raised_hands:


Great, I’ve always wanted to read it!

I’ve noticed you linked to 1999 version that has 416 pages, however there is an updated edition from 2011 that has 624 pages. I’m picking the newer one :wink:

I’m curious to learn what changed. I know there’s a kind of continuation to this book called “Finding my Virginity.” I wonder whether the new edition features a “preview” or is it original content.

Let us know, @pawellcome :slight_smile:

The audiobook I got was apparently something entirely else than both printed versions. I hate it when publishers do this.

Anyway, here’s a bunch of observations:

  • when I read the Blinkist version, I really enjoyed it, the entire book, sadly, didn’t deliver the same enthusiasm
  • have I read this book a year ago, I’ll probably rate it much higher
  • I used to be a big fan of Branson’s but with the current situation a lot of people are showing their ugly side and I am not yet certain whether Branson is one of them
  • just like Shoe Dog it follows the story: I am a white man from a priviledged family, I started my first business early in my life, it was harsh, we paid our workers very little, then suddenly I got millions, I have no regrets
  • it was really terrifying for me how much big businesses rely on credit. It was apparent with Shoe Dog and it was highlighted once more in here. I am really credit-averse to the point, I dislike the idea of mortgage that many people believe is a great idea. If all big companies operate on credit just like Nike and Virgin no wonder we are in deep crisis right now.
  • I would still love to read a good memoir of a business founder who actually bootstrapped a company without resorting to credit. I wonder how many such cases are there…
  • the BA smear campaing took like 20% of the book (at least the edition that I had) and served no purpose that I can relate to other than posing Branson and Virgin as the underdog and martyr. I get it, your competition was tough, tough to the point of being unethical. You could’ve mention a few of their worst tricks and go on with the story.

I’m curious about your opinion, @swap!

Just finished this one.

  • I loved the first half; the second half not so much.
  • I agree with your point of credit reliance - it’s just too much! True, Nike & Virgin became big but I’m sure there would be 100 others who went bust because of an overdraft.
  • I liked how antifragile Branson is.
  • I know of some bootstrappers but they aren’t in the limelight - probably because they don’t do anything media-worthy. Most of them don’t even need to be big in order to run a profitable company.
  • I recently read Elon Musk’s biography by Ashlee Vance and I liked the perspective from a 3rd-party. Now I expect an unbiased view which this book didn’t provide (pointing at BA here).
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