Richard Branson is one of the most successful people in the world.
The billionaire entrepreneur has been in business for 50 years, during which time he has built Virgin into one of the most iconic global brands.
He lives in his own paradise in the British Virgin Islands called Necker Island, which he has owned since 1978.
He has also been happily married for nearly 30 years, has two children, three grandchildren, and is a world-renowned adventurer, activist, and author.
Fame, fortune, family — Branson has it all. So what are his secrets to the good life?
Fortunately, the 67-year-old recently released his second autobiography, Finding My Virginity, a 480-page book of life lessons that I read cover-to-cover. I came away with the following 25 life-changing quotes from the book, highlighting Branson’s views on life, family, business, leadership, and success:
- “I view life as one big adventure. I’m always learning, and finding new things to try and challenges to overcome.”
- “In every aspect of my life — building businesses, raising my family, embarking upon adventures — I try to do things for the first time every day.”
- “My normal approach to life is to say screw it, let’s do it.”
- “Regretting not doing something is worse than regretting doing something. It means I can sleep with a clear conscience. We all have to fight for our values and protect the things that matter to us, but also appreciate the joys life brings.”
- “The reality that [dying] is a fact of life also makes me still think I must live life to the fullest. It actively gives me purpose to not waste a minute of the life I lead, to make a difference and have a blast in the process. If I leave early as a result, at least I will leave doing what I love.”
- “I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason. But I do believe that, whatever happens, you can learn from it and create something really positive. Better things can come out of adversity.”
- “In the end, I’ve realized that legacy is not important except to your children and family and friends. When I am on my deathbed, I just want to feel as if I have loved and been loved, done some good in the world, and made a difference here and there.
8. “However important business is, family always comes first.”
9. “Business and awards don’t mean that much. There is nothing more important than the health of you and your loved ones. Life is certainly too short not to appreciate people who have been significant in it.”
10. “Life is made up of a series of small moments; we simply must try to cherish each one. Whether that’s watching a film curled up on the sofa, going out to dinner, or spending time with our family, we try to make our time together count.”
11. “I believe that business is nothing more than a group of people trying to make a difference.”
12. “I’ve always had a love of adventure, whether that was climbing trees as a child or mountains as an adult. That has fed into my working life, too: adventure has always been a huge part of the Virgin brand, and one of the main reasons why we have been able to expand so wide and continually for so long.”
13. “It’s very important to take risks in life and business, but they need to be calculated — there is no point risking your neck for something with little chance of success.”
14. “When it comes to deals or negotiations, the key is to display passion, know-how, and determination. Get to the point quickly, be persistent and consistent and don’t rely too heavily on prompts, statistics, and certainly not PowerPoint slides.”
15. “Investors buy into people and ideas, not numbers alone.”
16. “If it can’t fit onto the back of an envelope, it’s a probably a bad idea. Keep it short, sharp, and picture-perfect.”
17. “The way to become a great leader is to look for the best in people — seldom criticize — always praise.”
18. “Any manager who punishes their staff for expressing an opinion hasn’t got the faintest idea about leadership. People in charge should empower their employees, not scare them into silence.”
On His Success
19. “If I had to give one reason why I have been fortunate enough to experience some success, it would be my knack of bringing together wonderful people.”
20. “While business may have changed from when I started out, the principles are the same and still fit what I am good at: finding markets that need shaking up, coming up with ways to make people’s lives better, then finding brilliant people to bring it to life.”
21. “The key enterprising skills I used when first starting out are the very same ones I use today: the art of delegation, risk-taking, surrounding yourself with a great team and working on projects you really believe in.”
22. “Delegation has been a secret of my success for five decades. Asking for support is a strength, not a weakness. If you try to do everything yourself, you won’t succeed and will make yourself miserable along the way.”
23. “I take notes in every meeting, to keep the frame of mind to learn. I edit as I go along, and follow up with dates and tasks in order of importance. I couldn’t have written two autobiographies without them.”
24. “If I had to name a skill I possess, it would be lateral thinking. When all logic is pointing in one direction, but it just doesn’t make sense to me, I question it.”
25. “I will continue questioning, questioning, questioning. I will never completely get to the truth, but I want my life to be one long strive to get there.”
Finally, here is one last quote and life lesson — not from Branson himself, but from the entrepreneur he most admires:
“My favorite things in life don’t cost any money. It’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” — Steve Jobs