Losing My Virginity is the internationally best-selling autobiography of self-made businessman Richard Branson. He details his lucrative adventures, beginning with dropping out of school, founding a record label and crossing the Atlantic ocean on a speedboat. In essence, the book is about how cleverness, determination and an adventurous mindset played a role in the making of one of the richest men on earth.
Born in 1950 to a family with an independent spirit, Branson was, from a very young age, pushed by his family to test the limits of possibility.
As a result, young Branson developed a taste for adventure, eagerly rising to the challenges that his mother, or life in general, presented to him.
When he was only eleven years old, his mother sent him to visit relatives who lived more than fifty miles away – on a bike and without directions. This was meant to teach him stamina and orientation. And, when finally he returned to his family home the following day, instead of a hero’s welcome he was greeted simply with the instruction to go to the vicar’s house to chop some logs.
But this wasn’t the first time his family had set him an arduous challenge. On a fortnight’s family holiday in Devon, when Branson was just four years old, his aunt bet him ten shillings that he couldn’t learn to swim by the end of their holiday.
Rising to the challenge, he spent hours upon hours in the sea. Unfortunately, by the time the final day arrived, he still couldn’t manage to keep on top of the waves.
But, to him, this was far from the end of the matter. When he spotted a river during the twelve-hour car journey home, he seized the opportunity and asked his father to stop the car.
Springing from the car, he tore his clothes off, raced toward the riverbank and, as soon as he reached the water’s edge, jumped in.
He immediately began to sink.
Gradually, however, by kicking slowly and regularly, he managed to push himself to the surface. As he made his way to the middle of the current, he saw that his family was clapping and cheering, and that his aunt was waving a ten shilling note.
When Branson emerged from the water, his father gave him a big hug, himself dripping wet. Seeing his son dive headfirst in the stream had greatly unnerved him, so much so that he had jumped in after him.