Summary of Like a Virgin

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  • Insider's Take


Multibillionaire, raconteur and best-selling author Sir Richard Branson has unique ideas on business and leadership that carry particular weight. He started with nothing and earned everything he has without tempering his iconoclastic, freewheeling approach. In this laid-back set of tales about his life and his company, he often says he built his fortune by trusting his instincts and keeping bureaucracy to a minimum. This brief but dense collection of breezy short chapters is nonlinear; you can read its stand-alone essays in any order you like. Given that Branson speaks openly about his dyslexia, you won’t be surprised that the book reads as if he dictated it. However, the rushed, folksy style suits the material. Branson doesn’t present himself as a deep thinker, but as a strong gut reactor. His conversational tone drives home his main points: Be yourself, know yourself and trust yourself. getAbstract recommends his strong voice and his fun, ad hoc treatise on business, success and self-knowledge to budding entrepreneurs and anyone seeking a shot of confidence.

About the Author

Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group participates in more than 30 nations and more than 400 businesses. Branson is the author of several books, including Losing My Virginity, Business Stripped Bare, Screw Business As Usual and Screw It, Let’s Do It.



“Five Secrets to Starting a Business”

If you plan to open your own company, first believe in yourself. Starting a business means incurring risk, so know what you are embracing. Prepare to surrender your life to your company. Then enjoy the process. Always aim for success; if you envision failure, you will fail. Every entrepreneur will miss some opportunities and act upon other openings better left alone. Either way, something will go wrong. While you can’t completely forget such errors, remember that stumbles don’t define you. Getting back up does.

Recognize when something isn’t working and be flexible enough to “change or close the business.” Establish as little corporate bureaucracy and as few inflexible rules as possible. Make crucial decisions quickly and live with the consequences of your judgment. As you become accustomed to moving fast, you will leave your competitors behind. If you embrace risk, understand the penalties. Acknowledge what might go wrong, how you will react if it does and what assets you can draw on to recover from a mistake. Never waste time on regret or self-congratulations; always look ahead. Keep your attention on positive future opportunities...

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