Bookcase: Management theories and fads: Like a Virgin: Secrets they won’t teach you at Business School

• By Richard Branson
• Virgin
• RRP $37.99
Richard Branson’s latest book Like Virgin provides an unmitigated dose of positivity backed by an impeccable track record in listening to others and learning on the hoof.
Branson’s collection of 76 easy-read short pieces – most run to just four pages – are pulled from his widely syndicated columns originally written for the New York Times. They span micro-advice for wannabe entrepreneurs to insights into lifting your game as leader of large organisation.
Branson has the knack of providing commonsense answers to frequently-asked questions while keeping it real with examples from his own experiences.
He’s the master at seeing the best in everyone without being taken for fool. He practises the art of “catching” people doing something good and praising them for it. He’s the walking embodiment of the positive power of good customer service.
When his businesses grow too large and cumbersome, Branson sub-divides them back to niche players with inbuilt agility. And right from business’ first days he tries to free them from the constraints of “overly-rigid structure, micro-management or overregulation”.
As he puts it, “while guidelines are useful for establishing framework for the tasks ahead, hard-shelled setup will hinder creativity and risk-taking”.
Branson knows how leader can walk the thin line between always protecting their own reputation while not being afraid to make mistakes.
This book may contain few surprises for anyone who has read many of his previous works.
I’ve reviewed both Screw It, Let’s Do It and more recently Screw Business as Usual – his book on doing good while making buck.
But Branson’s sunny attitude, practical turn of mind and ability to see the good in (almost) everyone remains winning formula.
My advice? Read it. It won’t take you long and you may just come out with dose of Branson’s pragmatic positivity.

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