photo: Jarle Naustvik
One of the most inspiring entrepreneur on his favorite books. Time to change your life 🙂
Long Walk to Freedom: TheAutobiography of Nelson Mandela
In his book “Screw It, Let’s Do It”, Branson cited Nelson Mandela’s “Long Walk To Freedom” as a major inspiration.
It’s not surprising that Nelson Mandela’s work would turn out a number of positive reviews and book recommendations, from the Christian Science Monitor to the African Studies Center of the Univeristy of Pennsylvania. The story has the bootstraps appeal of Mandela’s rise from the stepson of a tribal chieftan to an attorney, a long stint as a political prisoner, to a political leader. It also has the revolutionary appeal of a leader who advocated long-term change through peaceful means, and lived to see change in South Africa, beginning with himself as the first black president of the country.
“Mao: The Unknown Story” byJung Chang
“A brilliant biography that smashes all of the mythsthat this terrible man built around himself.”
While Chang and her husband Halliday may not get any glowing book recommendations from either current leaders in China or The New York Times, it has still been a stunning success. The story of Mao as a self-centred leader of a totalitarian regime, passing itself off as a worker’s paradise, has resonated with its many readers – despite its length of over 800 pages. What distinguishes this historical book isn’t the emphasis on Mao’s cruelty, but the research pointing to Russia as the real power behind the Chinese leader – from financial assistance to choosing Mao as leader – and Mao’s kowtowing to Moscow.
“The Dice Man” by LukeRhinehart
–from interview to the Radio Times
For those who enjoy the prospect of surrenduring their daily decisions to the vagaries of chance, this would be one of those Camus-like good books to read. (Instead of the protagonist surrenduring his every move to the almighty call of dice, Albert Camus had The Stranger moving through a series of seemingly unrelated events culminating in a unimpassioned murder.) In a fit of boredom at his conventional life as a family man and psychiatrist, Luke Rhinehart surrenders his life decisions to a pair of dice, leading to crazy adventures and amoral decisions. It’s not a book for either the faint of heart or those who dislike nihilistic questions on morality.
“In-N-Out Burger: ABehind-the-Counter Look at the Fast-Food Chain That Breaks All the Rules” by Stacy Perman
Stacy Perman’s investigative book about the dedicated fans of In-N-Out Burger and its founders has garnered some enthused book recommendations, from seriouseats.com to qsrmagazine.com. Though the founders didn’t manage to put together lasting succession plans, the In-N-Out Burger chain managed to avoid three of the traps of other burger joints: franchising, going public, and paid celebrity endorsements. The refusal to advertise, says Perman, made In-N-Out Burger a word-of-mouth success. Business-minded readers should take a look at her work.
“Wild Swans: Three Daughters ofChina” by Jung Chang
In his book “Screw It, Let’s Do It”, Branson wrote that “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang is one of his favorite books
Whether the reader wants an insider’s take on communism worked out in China, or the feminine perspective of a world caught between medieval and modern life, Wild Swans would be one of those good books to read in either category. The historical accounts are real, which should satisfy political science students. Personal accounts of the trials endured by the author’s grandmother (bound feet and life as a concubine), the author’s mother (living through Chairman Mao’s purges) and the author herself (from doctoring to steelwork), give a family shape to this true account.
“Swallows and Amazons” by Arthur Ransome
“Swallows and Amazons” is among the favorite books of Branson’s childhood. He quotes these books as “a lovely kids’ adventure book”.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper says that Ransome’s work may be the follow-up act to the Harry Potter series, in the fictional realm of action-adventure, because of the upcoming film series. The twelve-book series itself has all the reading appeal of British classics like the Five Children and It or the Secret Garden, in which a group of children are bound by the magical appeal of their pursuits. In this case, the four-person child crew of the Swallow and the Amazon pursue sailing, becoming PG-rated pirates (drinking a mixture of lemonade and ginger beer for ‘grog’), and getting into adventuresome scrapes on an island.
“An Inconvenient Truth: ThePlanetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It” by Al Gore
–from interview to Forbes
This book on global warming is controversially planted between book recommendations by the New York Times, and skepticism on lack of scientific evidence from challies.com. From sea level increases in Florida, to the melting snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, Al Gore points out man’s footprint on the planet and what can be done about it – alongside anecdotes about his own personal history. Nor are the topics restrained to melting what was frozen, such as the diminishing ice sheets in Antarctica, but there are charts and photos of coral reefs, descriptions of destructive hurricanes, and the importance of insects (such as the pine beetle) on the run.