Friday, January 30, 2015

Who is Richard Branson? Thoughts on reading "The Virgin Way"

Who is Richard Branson?

I mean, who is he really like, as a person, and as a leader?

This was the answer that I hoped to find when I parted ways with a tidy sum of S$30 for the book, "The Virgin Way".

Unfortunately, after reading the book, I was disappointed to realise that I have found little of the answer. It is hard to distinguish the “PR” part of this book, where he is forever advertising the Virgin brand, and the real story about the person.

Perhaps I am not giving the guy his full credits. Maybe he is really so in love with his own company and brand. However, it feels like I am having too much of the “good stuff”, when every page is full of tiresome praise about “the Virgin Way”.

Still, when reading this book, I am left wondering, how in the world did this guy do it? I mean, he dabbled in everything from a student magazine, to an airline company, to now a space tourism venture, and did a hugely successful job of it. And on top of it, he still found time to write seven books? And here I am, struggling to even find the time to blog.

Well, from what I found from reading this book, his tips on leadership seem extraordinarily ordinary. At the end of the 373 page book, he gave a very helpful summary list. To save you time, I will reproduce it here:

1. Follow your dreams and Just Do It
2. Make a Positive Difference and Do Some Good
3. Believe In Your Ideas and Be The Best
4. Have Fun and Look After Your Team
5. Don’t Give Up
6. Listen, Take Lots of Notes, and Keep Setting New Challenges
7. Delegate and spend more time with your family
8. Turn off that laptop and iphone and get your derriere out there
9. Communicate, Collaborate and Communicate Some More
10. Do what you love and make a couch in the kitchen

Doesn’t the list above sound like any other list that you read from some random leadership books or website?

Reading this book makes me feel like I tried so hard to find the secret ingredient to a super tasty dish, only to find out there really is no secret. The only way to cook that magical dish, is to put in lots of passion and effort.

Although the book disappointed me, Richard Branson the guy will forever be a legend to look up to in terms of his style and daring.

 He will be one of the persons in my “heroes file”, and when I need to make hard decisions, I will pull him out from this file and think: “What would Richard Branson do or say if he is in this situation?”

I can picture myself “channeling” the Branson in me to say: “Screw it, let’s do it!” to the challenges that I will face!

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Hi, I would be very happy if you could leave some comments or words of encouragement!