Losing My Virginity: Summary Review

This is a summary review of Losing My Virginity containing key details about the book.

What is Losing My Virginity About?

Losing my Virginity is dedicated to "Alex Ritchie and his family" and a note before the prologue thanks Edward Whitley who helped Branson with the writing of the book. The prologue of the book recounts the start of a round-the-world balloon trip over the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, and is followed by 28 chapters in which Branson recounts the first 43 years of his life. The book ends in January 1993, in the wake of Virgin Atlantic's victory in their court case against British Airways.

Who is the author of Losing My Virginity?

Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is a British billionaire, entrepreneur, and business magnate. In the 1970s he founded the Virgin Group, which today controls more than 400 companies in various fields. Branson expressed his desire to become an entrepreneur at a young age.

What are good quotes from Losing My Virginity?

“I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”
“It is only by being bold that you get anywhere. If you are a risk-taker, then the art is to protect the downside.”
“Most "necessary evils" are far more evil than necessary.”

“to be successful, you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running”

“In the same way that I tend to make up my mind about people within thirty seconds of meeting them, I also make up my mind about whether a business proposal excites me within about thirty seconds of looking at it. I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics.”

“There have been times when I could have succumbed to some form of bribe, or could have had my way by offering one. But ever since that night in Dover prison I have never been tempted to break my vow.. My Parents always drummed into me that all you have life is your reputation: you may be very rich, but if you lose your good name you'll never be happy.”

“I have always believed that the only way to cope with a cash crisis is not to contract but to try to expand out of it.”
“the best motto to follow is ‘Nothing ventured; nothing gained’.”

“Fun is at the core of the way I like to do business and it has been key to everything I've done from the outset. More than any other element, fun is the secret of Virgin's success. I am aware that the ideas of business as being fun and creative goes right against the grain of convention, and it's certainly not how the they teach it at some of those business schools, where business means hard grind and lots of 'discounted cash flows' and net' present values'.”

“Throughout my business life I have always tried to keep on top of costs and protect the downside risk as much possible. The Virgin Group has survived only because we have always kept tight control of our cash. But, likewise, I also know that sometimes it is essential to break these rules and spend lavishly.”

“What we are trying to do at Virgin is not to have one enormous company in one sector under one banner, but to have two hundred or even three hundred separate companies. Each company can stand on its own feet and, in that way, although we've got a brand that links them, if we were to have another tragedy such as that of 11 September - which hurt the airline industry - it would not bring the whole group crashing down.”

“I don’t believe it can be taught as if it were a recipe. There aren’t ingredients and techniques that will guarantee success. Parameters exist that, if followed, will ensure a business can continue, but you cannot clearly define our business success and then bottle it as you would a perfume. It’s not that simple: to be successful, you have to be out there, you have to hit the ground running; and, if you have a good team round you and more than your fair share of luck, you might make something happen. But you certainly can’t guarantee it just by following someone else’s formula. Business is a fluid, changing substance.”

― Richard Branson, Losing My Virginity

Book details

  • Print length: 416 Pages
  • Genre: Business, Biography, Nonfiction

What are the chapters in Losing My Virginity?

Chapter 1: A Family that Would have Killed for Each Other
Chapter 2: You Will Either Go to Prison or Become a Millionaire
Chapter 3: Virgins at Business
Chapter 4: I am Prepared to Try Anything Once
Chapter 5: Learning a Lesson
Chapter 6: Simon made Virgin the Hippest Place To Be
Chapter 7: It's Called Tubular Bells. I've Never Hear Anything Like It.
Chapter 8: To Be Second Choice Means Nothing
Chapter 9: Never Mind the Bollocks
Chapter 10: I Thoguhts I'd Move In, Joan Said.
Chapter 11: Living on the Edge
Chapter 12: Success can Take Off without Warning
Chapter 13: You Go Ahead with This Over My Dead Body
Chapter 14: Laker's Children
Chapter 15: It Was Like Being Strapped to the Blade of a Vast Pneumatic Drill
Chapter 16: The World's Biggest Balloon
Chapter 17: I was Almost Certainly Going to Die
Chapter 18: Everything was Up for Sale
Chapter 19: Preparing to Jump
Chapter 20: Who the Hell Does Richard Branson Think He Is?
Chapter 21: We Would have About Two Seconds to Say Our Last Prayers
Chapter 22: Flying Into Turbulence
Chapter 23: Dirty Tricks
Chapter 24: The Kick Boxer in The First Room
Chapter 25: Sue the Bastards
Chapter 26: Barbarians at the Departure Gate
Chapter 27: They're Calling Me a Liar
Chapter 28: Victory
Chapter 29: Virgin Territory
Chapter 30: Diversity and Adversity
Chapter 31: Changes
Chapter 32: Flying High

What do critics say?

Here's what one of the prominent reviewers had to say about the book: "Richard is good-looking and very smart, which is sexy to start with. He also makes a billion dollars before breakfast—and still knows how to have fun." — Ivana Trump

* The summary points above have been concluded from the book and other public sources. The editor of this summary review made every effort to maintain information accuracy, including any published quotes, chapters, or takeaways

Chief Editor

Tal Gur is an author, founder, and impact-driven entrepreneur at heart. After trading his daily grind for a life of his own daring design, he spent a decade pursuing 100 major life goals around the globe. His journey and most recent book, The Art of Fully Living, has led him to found Elevate Society.

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