Business advice of a billionaire adventurer

Business Stripped Bare - Richard Branson, Virgin Books

Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur – Richard Branson

Richard Branson is a person I could talk a lot about. I have always had several role-models in business and life, starting from my own dad, relatives and family friends to people in the world of business and even in fiction (Scrooge McDuck). Richard Branson is one of these people. His example has shown me that business can be fun; exciting and you can also help people through it.

Richard Branson is a chairman of a multinational company, billionaire, adventurer and philanthropist and has written altogether three books. His books are mainly stories about his life and businesses and should not be mistaken to be serious business advice of some sort. They are meant to be motivational and if you learn something or get good ideas from them, good for you!

The Book in hand, Business Stripped Bare is his most serious attempt in telling about his ideas about running a business. It can be seen in the table of contents which is divided to seven main chapters – about people, brand, delivery, learning from the mistakes, innovation, entrepreneurship & leadership and social responsibility.

All these are themes taught in the university for the people in management studies. I was in my first year in my MSc in International Business studies while I read the book first time. It made incredibly good impression on me. I remember thinking back then that I learned more from this book about management than I had learned from 6 months in my Master’s studies. While it might not be entirely true, this book has some extremely good points in it.

  • The book is written in a way that all the points Branson wants to make are written into examples. He takes examples from his own life and businesses and explains the important issues trough them. It makes things easier to understand and remember, at least for me. This is something that is missing from the university education. Even tough there are case studies for this, I have the feeling they are often not used effectively.
  • Book shows how Branson is extremely good at using every opportunity to create publicity for his own brand, usually at minimal costs. Even the other competitors often unwillingly aid Branson in his quest for polishing the Virgin brand. This however often creates some critique from the audience. For example when Concorde were taken out of service, Branson made an effort of buying Concorde for Virgin Atlantic to keep Concorde in the Air. Jeremy Clarkson mentions this in his book “I Know You Got Soul” and says  he will never forgive Branson for trying to make Concorde’s death a PR-trick. According to him Branson knew well that Concorde could not be saved.

I have found it being questioned that even all his interest towards social responsibility would be related to making good and cheap PR. I personally think that in everything we do there is some personal motivation behind it. You will not become a billionaire without being ferocious, aggressive and ready to use every arising opportunity for your own benefit. However I am not ready to believe that being a billionaire would make people unable to care or unwilling to help others in need.

For some odd reason public and media seems to think that only an effort made without benefitting anything from it is a noble one. What they should understand is that being an entrepreneur makes you always to look for win-win situations. I see it in small entrepreneurs as well as in the big ones. You do a good deed and help, but at the same time you use it for publicity.

It is hard to say if Branson acts only to gain something from it or does he do it because he believes it is a right thing to do. However it is no denying that he has helped many people with his money and example. Personally I have the feeling that he does the things he does both for his own amusement and because he truly wants to help.

So to sum it up – the book is seriously good, especially if you are looking something motivational. Now that there are also the small paperbacks on sale close to 10 €, even the money can’t be a problem.

The book is available for example from, and (If you buy the book trough this link bookstore pays small commission for the owner of this blog. This doesn’t cost you anything, but it supports the blog.)

  • Juhan

    I read the book soon after I saw Hanno wrote about it and I found the book lying on my flatmate's bookshelf and I have to say it was an interesting read. I like to read how people who have made it in the world describe their lives and this in a way was a description of Mr Bransons relations to his businesses. He looks like someone who radiates energy and goodwill and it looks as if his presence could empower people around him from how he describes himself through the book. People like that are hard to find I believe and somehow it gives me faith that things aren't as glum as they look when I see how little most people enjoy what they're doing most of the day.

    So in a way this book is motivational, talking about how good things can be and that everyone can do their little bit to improve that and its in our own hands.

    Looking at it another way the book is about what one leading entrepreneur thinks business is all about – shortly its about doing things better than the others while enjoying oneself with an emphasis on the latter. As he goes for quality with his products in most cases and the book was in a way like that as well. To make the reading easier, there was a bookmark attached to the cover to help me quickly find where I left off. Not a big deal, but its something you use while reading a book anyway. Its a nice addition and it costs very little to add it to a book I'd imagine.

    I liked the book, it was a fun read.

  • Hanno Vainio

    Thanks for the reply and good that you enjoyed the book!

    Branson indeed writes his books in really motivating way. I personally believe right attitude and motivation to be the core of a successful business. If you have a good time, it shows in your products and makes them remarkable. Branson is in my opinion a great example in this.