Business the Richard Branson Way. - Des Dearlove
Business BransonThis is a book that I’ve had for some time and eventually found time on a trip to read.

It’s an easy read, taking little more than a couple of hours. It carries the subtitle ’10 Secrets of the World’s Greatest Brand-Builder’.which offers the promise of answers to those who seek them. As someone who values questions rather more than answers, this might be why it’s taken me so long to get around to reading it. The good news is that it’s worth reading.

The book begins with a potted history of Richard’s life, from schoolboy entrepreneur to rich CEO. The ‘secrets’ of this journey are outlined in ten chapters which each refer back to examples from Branson’s career.

They each make interesting reading and offer insights and ideas to explore. In a nutshell the secrets are

  • Pick on someone bigger than you
  • Avoid sticking with convention
  • Negotiate everything
  • Make work fun
  • Protect your brand
  • Exploit publicity
  • Don’t lead sheep, herd cats
  • Move quickly
  • Think big, but keep it simple
  • Keep the common touch
  • Though promising secrets no doubt helps sell the book, perhaps the real secret is left to the ‘Last Words’ where it is stated that Richard Branson’s motto should be ars est celare artem – ‘The art lies in concealing the art’.

Here the book succinctly highlights the problem of almost all best practice adoption. You can copy what he does, but that’s not where the real secret is. The real secret is to understand who he is being.

Rudyard Kipling nicely captured this,

“They copied all they could follow but they couldn't copy my mind
so I left them sweating and stealing a year and a half behind.”

An interesting outline of Branson’s journey, and if you’re not looking for answers, the potential source of some interesting lines of thought.

Steve Unwin
February 2008