Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Book Review: Business Stripped Bare

I made an impulse buy a while back, picking up Richard Branson's latest, Business Stripped Bare. I'd really enjoyed his first book, Losing My Virginity, and so thought I'd give the latest a shot.

While I highly recommend Losing My Virginity, I have mixed feelings about his latest.

On the plus side:
  • The wide variety of Virgin's businesses lets this be a business book that is both 1st hand from the CEO, and yet also looks a wide variety of business case examples. Other than Jack Welch, I've not run into too many of these.
  • It's plain to see that Branson is just plain passionate about the businesses he goes after, and it's infectious as a result. It's a basic formula too: Look for businesses ripe for disruption, put customer first, have fun doing it.
  • It's quite current, and so it's interesting to peek into the mind of a business leader writing in the middle of the financial meltdown (at least as of late last year).
On the down side: 
  • Far less of the head tales of early startup days for Virgin than the first book had
  • Less romping adventures ballooning around the world and such, which really made the first book a fun read.
  • He does come off as being a little out of touch with the common man, at least when compared to the first book. (e.g. there's a part where he laments about how important it is to find time to take care of ones self and exercise, then complains about how on a recent busy travel jaunt, it was all he could do to squeeze in a couple hours for surfing off the coast of Bali. Jeez, I'm supposed to feel bad for you Richard? :-)
Anyhow, recommended if the above points don't throw you, but start with the first book first.

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