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Richard Branson
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Startup triumphs, M&A swashbuckling, philanthropic exploits: New Richard Branson book

Jeff Bercovici, Inc.

The challenge of putting your life on paper when you’re Richard Branson is there’s so much life to cover.

Finding My Virginity is the high-flying British mogul’s second autobiography, covering the nearly 20 years since the publication of the bestselling Losing My Virginity. More than 450 pages long, it’s packed to the rafters with tales of startup triumphs, M&A swashbuckling, world record attempts, philanthropic exploits, aerospace disasters, rock star friendships and billionaire rivalries.

It’s the kind of memoir that includes an itemized list of the 75 times its narrator narrowly escaped death, often while trying to do something foolhardy like kitesurf across the English Channel, and ends with a promise to write a third volume “when I am well into my nineties, possibly with my great-grandchildren, potentially from up in space.”

Finding My Virginity is also stuffed with lessons for entrepreneurs, delivered in the self-deprecating tone of someone who attributes much of his success to luck. Branson believes experience is overrated, delegating is all-important and customers are smarter than most businesses realize. He even relays a tip from David Hasselhoff on how to go unrecognized in public, should you succeed in achieving worldwide fame. (The Baywatch star told Branson he always carries a David Hasselhoff mask with him, because “if people are looking for you, the last place they expect to find you is behind a mask of your own face.”)

But there’s one piece of advice most successful entrepreneurs swear by that continues to elude Branson, he tells Inc.

“I suspect I should’ve learned to say no more often, but life wouldn’t have been as much fun if I had,” he says. “I can’t resist saying yes, as you can tell from the book. If I see a cause that needs me to jump in, I’ll jump in.”

Read more from Inc.

Hear Richard Branson speak with Tim Ferris on The Tim Ferris show

About Jeff Bercovici

Jeff Bercovici
Jeff Bercovici is the San Francisco bureau chief of Inc. Previously, he held senior editorial positions at Forbes, AOL, and Radar. He has covered media and entertainment for a variety of publications including the Mixed Media blog for Portfolio.com and he was a reporter for Women's Wear Daily, where he co-edited the daily "Memo Pad" column.

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