Screw it, Let’s Do It

Posted July 1, 2008 in Career Management, Leadership, What We're Reading

By: Richard Branson

Reviewed By: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Richard Branson takes us on a conversational journey through his life and career in this newly revised edition. From being left in a field to find his own way home at the age of 4, to funding the first charter flight to outerspace, this man has led anything but an ordinary life. Branson shares his passions for social causes, the environment and the very personal and key lessons that have shaped how he approaches business. In spite of his unconventional approach, each annecdote is filled with some simple, straightforward pieces of advice (eg. don’t do anything illegal; believe in yourself; there are no problems only opportunities; and – as the title implies – weigh the risks, but take a risk). It’s also interesting to hear his side of some of the bigger blow-ups in his career such as the highly confrontational feud with British Airways and how he once landed himself in jail.

The Bottom-line: Branson is the quintessential “Rock Star” CEO. Despite the larger-than-life persona, non-balloon flying, mountain climbing execs can take-away a key message from his life tales: believe in yourself and your own abilities. Many executives walk around with shadows of “imposter syndrome” and “fear of failure” hanging over their heads. Branson’s approach to life is a great lesson in what has happened to one man who made a conscious choice to push himself to his limits while at the same time keeping a tight grip on his self-confidence. So, to channel your inner “Branson”, add one thing into your schedule this week that scares you… whether that be bungee jumping off the CN Tower or confronting that direct report who’s sabotaging your efforts. You can do it!

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