close Facebook Twitter Instagram LinkedIn
4 mins

Richard Branson’s Top 5 Must Reads

Richard Branson. He’s just travelled to the edge of space, but he’s also a bit of a bookworm. Here are 5 of his favourite titles that you can check out in the Blinkist app.
by Rob Gillham | Aug 27 2021

Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group (and recent visitor to the edge of space), still finds time to read with his busy schedule. Over the years, he has recommended hundreds of titles that have caught his attention and helped him learn. In this article, we’ve chosen five that we think you will love. That said, according to reports, it typically takes the average adult around 2 mins to read a page of a non-technical book. Meaning it would take you approximately 60 hours of non-stop reading to get through these five book recommendations from Richard Branson. Luckily, with the Blinkist app it would take you just one hour and twenty minutes of listening to get all the key ideas. But how does it work? Let’s find out.

Blinkist, a smartphone app, condenses the key points of over 4,500 nonfiction bestsellers and podcasts into 15-minute audio or text explainers. It means busy people can learn from as many sources as they want without drastically changing their lives.

Blinkist can be used to enrich moments of your life when you’re on the go — doing chores, commutes, walks — or to brush up on specialised knowledge before an extensive interview. It’s also an easy way to quickly gain tips and tricks from dense nonfiction books that may be interesting but could end up gathering dust on your shelf.

So now we know what Blinkist does. Let’s see which of Richard Branson’s recommended reads you can listen to (or read) in the Blinkist app.

Richard Branson’s Top Picks

A Brief History Of Time: From The Big Bang To Black Holes By Stephen Hawking

In 2016, Richard Branson named A Brief History Of Time one of his top books to read before you die. Stephen Hawking’s work looks at the history of scientific theory and the ideas that form our understanding of the universe today. From big bangs to black holes, Hawking offers a clear overview of both the history of the universe and the complex science behind it, all presented in a way that even readers unfamiliar with these ideas will understand.

Get the key ideas with Blinkist in just 21 minutes.

Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill By Matthieu Ricard

Another title that Branson praised in his 2016 list of must-read books was Happiness. The author Matthieu Ricard gave up a career in cellular genetics to move to the Himalayas and become a Buddhist monk. He’s been a close assistant to the Dalai Lama for about 40 years and has written several bestsellers, including Happiness.

His book guides the reader towards a state of true happiness. You will learn that happiness doesn’t come from fleeting things like money or fame, but truly long-lasting and profound happiness stems from maintaining a higher sense of well-being.

Get the key ideas with Blinkist in just 15 minutes.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World By Adam Grant

Richard Branson’s career hasn’t exactly been predictable. He has always strived to think outside the box (and the planet) and push the boundaries of what CEOs should do. In Originals, Adam Grant taps into the field of original thinking and explores where great ideas come from. By following unconventional rules, Grant gives us helpful guidelines for how we can foster originality in every facet of our lives. He also shows that anyone can enhance their creativity and offers foolproof methods for identifying our genuinely original ideas – and following through with them.

Get the key ideas with Blinkist in just 13 minutes.

Winners And How They Succeed By Alastair Campbell

On Winners, Richard Branson had this to say:

“While I’ve never been an avid reader of leadership books in general, books such as Alastair Campbell’s Winning are filled with useful tips. They highlight tangible lessons from a diverse range of interesting people, and I like to read a chapter now and then to get inspired.”

Get the key ideas with Blinkist in just 12 minutes.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind By Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens is one of the most popular and bestselling nonfiction books of the decade, and Richard Branson had this to say about this monumental work of nonfiction:

“One example of a book that has helped me this year is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. While the book came out a few years ago now, I got around to it this year and am very glad I did. I’ve always been fascinated by what makes humans human and how people constantly evolve, change, and grow. The genius of Sapiens is that it takes some daunting, complex themes and breaks them down into a fascinating, simple narrative.”

Get the key ideas with Blinkist in just 19 minutes.

Science-Based Learning

One of the many reasons Blinkist is so much more powerful than a book summary is the science woven into each explainer pack. Instead, the content team uses anecdotes, examples, and real-life scenarios to break down big ideas in a relatable way.

For instance, in the explainer pack for Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari, the content team uses the following example to explain how brief humanity’s story is on the cosmic scale. Spread both your arms out as wide as you can and let the distance between your two hands represent the history of the Earth. How much of this distance would human history take up? One arm up to the elbow, maybe? A hand? A finger? Not even close. If you wanted to see the space taken up by humanity, you’d need a powerful microscope.

Blinkist is a powerful learning tool for breaking down big ideas with examples like this and other science-based learning techniques.

Where relevant, Blinkist gives actionable advice from nonfiction titles such as The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. It’s already worked for 87.5% of 4,000 surveyed users in the US who said they made changes to their life after using Blinkist.

“Blinkist has helped me read more — period. I love that I can get the key learnings from 10+ books a week and immediately implement them in my own life. Blinkist has also helped me filter the books I purchase — if I couldn’t get enough of the Blinks, I buy it. ”
– Hitha Palepu, entrepreneur and author

All the Categories

You can read or listen to explainers on bestselling titles in 27 categories in the app — from career and personal finance to sex and relationships and health.

Of the thousands of titles in the Blinkist library, there are bestsellers like Sapiens and more niche nonfiction titles, such as Voices From Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich.

Podcasts Blinkist Style

If you’re really into podcasts but are pressed for time, Blinkist also offers key insights from some podcasts, thanks to partnerships with some podcast creators. This new format called Shortcasts can be accessed in the Blinkist app and is available for various popular podcasts.

So you’ve seen some of Richard Branson’s top reads, and you now know how powerful Blinkist is as a learning tool. Why not download the app today and start your learning journey into the cosmos. Don’t let Branson have all the fun.

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Instagram LinkedIn Flickr Email Print