Business Stripped Bare

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 01 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 01 March, 2009, 12:00am

Business Stripped Bare

by Richard Branson

Virgin, HK$255

Most business books, Sir Richard Branson writes, explain what business is like from the outside - 'not about what it's like to actually do'. This is why the chapter on mistakes and setbacks is one of the most interesting in Business Stripped Bare. It is here he recounts how, during Virgin Money's bid for the British bank Northern Rock in 2007, he was pilloried for a mistake made in 1969, involving a tax dodge, that led to his being called unfit to run a bank. In the end, the government nationalised the Rock and Gordon Brown asked that he not make a nuisance about the decision. How did Branson react? He writes: 'At Virgin, we move on.' A mixture of anecdotes, self-help and obvious advice (people with common sense may be worth more than those with a formal education), the book is his chance to stroke his ego while recounting the stories behind some of his riskiest deals. A copy of a Things To Do note, on the inside cover, tells the reader what to expect in the pages to come. This includes the entrepreneur's thoughts on innovation, holding on and letting go and social responsibility. Readers shouldn't expect any incisive exploration of virgin territory.