Sir Richard Branson - Screw It, Let's Do It: Lessons in Life
"Screw it, Let's do it" a look at the life of Sir Richard Branson covering his business emprie, his childhood whilst also delivering life lessons and encouragement for aspiring entrepreneurs
I can't say that I have ever been what you would call a fan of Richard Branson, his record attempts and constant self publicity use to annoy me. But then at the same time I sort of admired him because of the successful business he has built over the years. Which lead me to reading "Screw it, Let's do it" the book he wrote for World Book Day 2006 and has gone on to become an International best seller.
"Screw it, Let's do it" is not really an autobiography rather a book which combines elements of your standard biography with an almost self help side to it as each chapter broaches on both Branson's personal life but also his business affairs, designed to encourage people to make something of their lives. As such there is no realy chronological order to "Screw it, Let's do it" rather that chapters which nicely lead on from each other each of which cover Branson's childhood, his early ventures into business leading right up to where he is at now. Surprisingly this mixture of childhood and business works and he manages to cover a lot of ground in each chapter without it ever feeling heavy or bogged down in detail.
As already mentioned each chapter has a different angle, whether it is about enjoying life,family values or business ethics and each chapter is surprisingly interesting. For me the best parts of each chapter revolved around how he runs his business and the problems he has faced along the way, but also the insights into his attempts to break records and his childhood really gives you an idea as to what drives him on. It's also good that there is a slightly humorous aspect to every chapter, and when he dishes the dirt on one of his competitors and their dirty tricks campaigns you can't but help smile. Saying that, he also has no issues with dishing the dirt on himself and in a very open moment he tells about when starting Virgin and in particular the record stores he ended up in trouble with the law.
Part of the reason for Branson writing this book was to give the readers life lessons which he has learnt along the way from his eventful life, and each chapter delivers the desired message clearly and for me every time I read a bit more it left me feeling inspired and encouraged. Learning about how he set up his first business, Student magazine, whilst still at school and using a telephone box as his office, really encourages you that despite whatever problems are in your way there is usually away around them.
The lessons are not just about business and a lot of them are about living life and enjoying every moment and it is very clear from this book that Branson does indeed enjoy living life to the full, especially through the various record attempts. Although I was not overly bothered about his achievements when it came to breaking records, they are surprisingly interesting and when he goes into detail about the dangers he faced you begin to question his sanity, but then some people live for these sorts of thrills and it is very clear that Branson is definitely one of them.
Another key side of "Screw it, Let's do it" is his concern over environmental issues and he not only touches on this in many of the chapters but also dedicates a whole chapter to environmental issues and what he believes the way forward should be. The majority of his musings on this issue revolve around how to run a business in an environmentally friendly manner in particular how he runs the Virgin Empire. But he also gives his ideas on ways other businesses can improve their carbon footprints such as the airline business in general with aircrafts being towed to the end of the runway instead of burning fuel getting there under their own power. He also discusses how he got into the whole environmental scene and it is interesting to read that even back in the 70s he was heavily involved.
There is only one downside to "Screw it, Let's do it" and that it is the feeling of 'look at me' you get whilst reading it. I am sure Branson is very pleased with everything he has accomplished and takes great satisfaction in knowing that he has made a success of his life, but at times the way he says things in the book is just a little too much. Maybe it's just me, as I previously said that I do find him slightly annoying and his enthusiastic persona definitely transfers to print in the same slightly annoying way.
At just over 220 pages "Screw It, Let's Do It" is not a long book and takes next to no time to read it from cover to cover. But then it is also one of those books you can pick up from time to time and read a chapter again as you learn something knew every time. It is also written in such a way that it is not all facts and boring information on business, but really grabs your attention and manages to engage even those who are not interested in the world of high power business. With a mixture of his life and business there is a nice balance between the two providing enough variation to break any monotony. But as I have mentioned, Branson's persona definitely comes across and whilst his enthusiasm is encouraging his constant 'look at me' attitude does grate, well for me anyway.
Paperback: 222 pages
Publisher: Virgin Books; Quick Read ed edition (2 Mar 2006)
Andy Webb mainly writes movies reviews covering anything from the classics through to modern. But he also likes reading a variety of books from biographies through to fiction.