Thursday, October 12, 2006

Who is Richard Branson?

If you have any interest at all in experiencing adventure in life, you owe it to yourself to be able to answer the above question, for even the most imaginative adventure novelist couldn’t begin to dream up a protagonist so extraordinary. And Mr. Branson lives right here, in our day and age. Branson doesn’t realize it, but his entire autobiography is a perfect, concrete answer to the question: “What is the purpose of life?”—not in the particular details, but in the approach.

I’m very glad to know of this man (thanks to a friend’s high recommendation of him), and I’m shocked that prior to reading his autobiography, I had only the faintest familiarity with his name or what he has accomplished. To name one of these, (semi-relevant to the theme of this blog): Branson was, with co-pilot and engineering genius Per Lindstrand, the first person ever to enter the turbulent, 200 mph+ winds of the jet stream (which is about 7 to 8 miles up, by the way) in nothing more than a pressurized capsule secured to a hot air balloon, and cross the Atlantic Ocean. On similar trips, he just narrowly missed crossing the Pacific Ocean, and circumnavigating the globe. For this alone—and I’m asserting here that this is only one little part of his adventurous story—Branson deserves a place in the history books.

But if we will remember him for only one thing, let it be his current venture (see above post), for above all he is an entrepreneur, and this has got to be the greatest enterprise he has yet undertaken.

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