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Losing My Virginity (Anglais) Broché – 7 mai 2009

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Descriptions du produit


"Oh, screw it, let's do it."

January 1997
Tuesday, 7 January 1997, Morocco

5:30 a.m. -- I woke before Joan and sat up in bed. From across Marrakech I heard the wavering cry of the muezzins calling people to prayer over the loudspeakers. I still hadn't written to Holly and Sam, so I tore a page out of my notebook and wrote them a letter in case I didn't return.

Dear Holly and Sam,
Life can seem rather unreal at times. Alive and well and loving one day. No longer there the next. As you both know I always had an urge to live life to its full. That meant I was lucky enough to live the life of many people during my 46 years. I loved every minute of it and I especially loved every second of my time with both of you and Mum.

I know that many people thought us foolish for embarking on this latest adventure. I was convinced they were wrong. I felt that everything we had learned from our Atlantic and Pacific adventures would mean that we'd have a safe flight. I thought that the risks were acceptable. Obviously I've been proved wrong.

However, I regret nothing about my life except not being with Joan to finally help you grow up. By the ages of 12 and 15 your characters have already developed. We're both so proud of you. Joan and I couldn't have had two more delightful kids. You are both kind, considerate, full of life (even witty!). What more could we both want.
Be strong. I know it won't be easy. But we've had a wonderful life together and you'll never forget all the good times we've had.

Live life to its full yourselves. Enjoy every minute of it. Love and look after Mum as if she's both of us.

I love you,

* * *

I folded the letter into a small square and put it in my pocket. Fully clothed and ready, I lay down beside Joan and hugged her. While I felt wide awake and nervous, she felt warm and sleepy in my arms. Holly and Sam came into our room and cuddled into bed between us. Then Sam slipped off with his cousins to go to the launch site and see the balloon in which I hoped shortly to fly around the world. Joan and Holly stayed with me while I got dressed and spoke to Martin, the meteorologist. The flight, he said, was definitely on; we had the best weather conditions we'd had for five years. I then called Tim Evans, our doctor. He had just been with Rory McCarthy, our third pilot, and had bad news: Rory couldn't fly. He had mild pneumonia, and if he was in a capsule for three weeks, it could get much worse. I immediately called up Rory and commiserated with him.

"See you in the dining room," I said. "Let's have breakfast."

6:20 a.m. -- By the time Rory and I met in the hotel dining room, it was deserted. The journalists who had been following the preparations for the launch over the previous twenty-four hours had already left for the launch site.

Rory and I met and hugged each other. We both cried. As well as becoming a close friend as our third pilot on the balloon flight, Rory had been joining forces with me recently on a number of business deals. Just before we had come to Morocco, he had bought a share in our new record label, V2, and had invested in Virgin clothes and Virgin Vie, our new cosmetics company.

"I can't believe I'm letting you down," Rory said. "I'm never ill-never, ever."
"Don't worry," I assured him. "It happens. We've got Alex, who weighs half your weight. We'll fly far further with him on board."
"Seriously, if you don't come back," Rory said, "I'll carry on where you left off."
"Well, thanks," I said, laughing nervously.

Alex Ritchie was already out at the launch site, supervising the mad dash to get the capsule ready with Per Lindstrand, the veteran hot-air balloonist who had introduced me to the sport. Alex was the brilliant engineer who had designed the capsule and the pressurizing system. Until then, no one had succeeded in building a system that could sustain balloon flights at jet-stream levels. Although he had built both our Atlantic and Pacific capsules, I didn't know him, and it was too late to find out much about him now. Despite having no flight training, Alex had bravely made the decision to come with us. If all went well with the flight, we'd have about three weeks to get to know one another-about as intimately as any of us would want.

Unlike our crossings of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by hot-air balloon, on this trip we would not heat air until we needed to; the balloon had an inner core of helium, which would take us up. Per's plan was to heat the air around that core during the night; this in turn would heat the helium, which would otherwise contract and grow heavy and sink.

Joan, Holly, and I held hands and the three of us embraced. It was time to go.

8:30 a.m. -- We all saw it at the same time. As we drove along the dirt road out to the Moroccan air base, it looked as if a new mosque had sprouted overnight. Above the bending, dusty palm trees, a stunning white orb rose like a mother-of-pearl dome. It was the balloon. Men on horseback galloped along the side of the road, guns slung over their shoulders, heading for the air base. Everyone was drawn to this huge, gleaming white balloon hanging in the air, tall and slender

9:15 a.m. -- The balloon was cordoned off, and around the perimeter railing was an amazing collection of people. The entire complement of the air base stood off to one side in serried ranks, dressed in smart navy-blue uniforms; in front of them was the traditional Moroccan collection of dancing women, wearing white shawls, hollering, wailing, and whooping. Then a group of horsemen dressed in Berber costume and brandishing antique muskets galloped into view and lined up in front of the balloon. For an awful moment, I thought they would fire a celebratory salvo and puncture the balloon. Per, Alex, and I gathered in the capsule and completed a final check of all the systems. The sun was rising rapidly, and the helium was beginning to expand.

10:15 a.m. -- We had done all the checks and were ready to go. I hugged Joan and Holly and Sam one last time. I was amazed at Joan's strength. Holly had been by my side for the last four days, and she too appeared to be totally in control of the situation. I thought that Sam was as well, but then he burst into tears and pulled me toward him, refusing to let go. I almost started crying too. I will never forget the anguished strength of his hug. Then he kissed me and let go and hugged Joan. I ran across to kiss Mum and Dad good-bye. Mum pressed a letter into my hand. "Open it after six days," she said. I silently hoped that we would last that long.

10:50 a.m. -- There was nothing left to do except to climb up the steel steps into the capsule. For a second I hesitated and wondered when and where I would put my feet back on solid ground-or water. There was no time to think ahead. I stepped in through the hatch. Per was by the main controls; I sat by the camera equipment; and Alex sat in the seat by the trapdoor.

11:19 a.m. -- 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5-Per counted down and I concentrated on working the cameras. My hand kept darting down to check my parachute buckle. I tried not to think about the huge balloon above us, and the six vast fuel tanks strapped around our capsule-4, 3, 2, 1 . . . and Per threw the lever that fired the bolts that severed the anchor cables, and we lifted silently and swiftly into the sky. There was no roar of the burners; our ascent was like that of an enormous party helium balloon. We just rose up, up, and away, and then as we caught the morning breeze we headed over Marrakech.

The emergency door was still open as we soared up, and we waved at the by then little people below. Every detail of Marrakech-its square pink walls, the large town square, the green courtyards and fountains hidden behind high walls-was laid out beneath us. By 10,000 feet it became cold and the air grew thin. We shut the trapdoor. From then on we were on our own. We were pressurized, and the pressure would mount.

Our first fax came through the machine just after midday.
"Oh God!" Per handed it over. "Look at this."
"Please be aware that the connectors on the fuel tanks are locked on."
This was our first mistake. The connectors should have been locked off so that if we got into trouble and started falling, then we could jettison a one-ton fuel tank by way of ballast.
"If that's our only mistake, we're not doing badly," I said, trying to cheer Per up.
"We need to get down to five thousand feet, and then I'll climb out and unlock them," Alex said. "It's not a problem."

It was impossible to lose height during the day because the sun was heating the helium. The only immediate solution was to release helium, which, once released, would be impossible to regain. We couldn't afford to lose any helium, so we agreed to wait for nightfall to bring the balloon down. It was a nagging worry. We didn't know how this balloon would fly at night, and with our fuel tanks locked on, our ability to escape trouble was limited.

Although Alex and I tried to brush off the locked canisters, it sent Per into a fierce depression. He sat slumped by the controls in a furious silence, speaking only when we asked him a direct question.

We flew serenely for the rest of the day. The views over the Atlas Mountains were exhilarating, their jagged peaks capped with snow, gleaming up at us in the glorious sunshine. The capsule was cramped, full of supplies to last us eighteen days. However, locking off the connectors was not the only thing we'd forgotten to do. We'd also neglected to pack any lavatory paper, so we had to wait to receive faxes before we could go down the tiny spiral staircase to the loo. And my Moroccan stomach was in need of a lot of faxes. Per maintained his glowering silence, but Alex and I were just grateful that we knew then rather than finding ... --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

Revue de presse

“Richard is good-looking and very smart, which is sexy to start with. He also makes a billion dollars before breakfast—and still knows how to have fun."
-- Ivana Trump
“Few people in contemporary business are as colorful, shrewd, and irreverent, and probably no one’s nearly as much fun to be around. . . . Branson embodies America’s cherished mythology of the iconoclastic, swashbuckling entrepreneur."
-- GQ
“Branson wears his fame and money exceedingly well: no necktie, no chauffeur, no snooty clubs. . . . What continues to set Branson apart is the unique -- and, to some, baffling -- nature of his ambition. . . . He isn’t interested in power in the usual sense of influencing other people. . . . Boiled down to its singular essence, Richard Branson just wants to have fun.”
-- Newsweek
“Branson, a self-described ‘adventure capitalist,’ is a business-creation engine who was clearly born in the wrong place. . . . Those business instincts are matched by an ability to motivate people who work for him. And who wouldn’t want to -- Branson seems hell-bent on making sure that everybody, but everybody, is having as much fun as he is.”
-- Time
“Richard Branson . . . is dressed to the nines: in a $10,000 white silk bridal gown with a traditional veil and train and acres of lace. . . . Branson is expected to do the unexpected, even the bizarre -- anything to publicize his latest venture. . . . The fact is, Branson’s widely reported stunts seem almost staid compared to the unconventional way he manages his burgeoning empire.”
-- Forbes ASAP --Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 608 pages
  • Editeur : Virgin Books (7 mai 2009)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0812967143
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812967142
  • ASIN: 0753519550
  • Dimensions du produit: 13 x 4,2 x 19,9 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 10.405 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par W. NADEGE sur 2 septembre 2007
Format: Broché
J'ai adore ce livre ! Sir Richard Branson a fait son autiobiographie a son image: rafraichissante. Je n'aime normalement pas les autiobiographies car je les trouve un peu ennuyantes mais alors celle-la c'est totalement different, elle est amusante !!! Sir Richard Branson est tellement divertissant de la maniere qu'il explique les choses. Et quelle vie il a eu et a - c'est impressionnant de voir / comprendre comment il est arrive a faire ce que Virgin est maintenant - un entrepeneur hors-pair !!! Je le conseille vivement - de bonnes lecons a apprendre...
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1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par M. Zahabu sur 19 juillet 2011
Format: Broché
Quel récit captivant de Sir Richard Branson! Il a su avec simplicité relater toute sa vie, surtout celle de la naissance de Virgin à nos jours. J'ai pu comprendre qui il est et pourquoi il me semblait être arrogant parfois. En fait, c'est un homme qui est habité par sa vision et rien ne l'arrête. Je recommande ce livre à tous ceux qui veulent en savoir un peu plus sur cette marque. Il encouragera aussi ceux qui veulent se "jeter à l'eau" (c'est l'occasion de le dire). Bonne lecture!
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Amazon.com: 139 commentaires
64 internautes sur 65 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
truly inspirational 12 août 2005
Par high aadmi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Warning: Don't get carried away by the title of this book, it is purely metaphoric.

When you are handed a 600 page autobiography of an entrepreneur, at first, you may wonder whether such a piece is worth even leafing through. Who has the time to read stuff like this?

LOSING MY VIRGINITY is an extraordinary book written by an extraordinary man, Richard Branson. One may actually have some reservations about reading about a not exactly well-known business magnate (I am talking about India, of course). But rest assured, once you read through the author's bio and the very impressive blurbs, you will realize that it is far from a conventional (boring, if you like) memoir.

Branson is one of a rare breed, a paragon of British entrepreneurship, and a genius who has revolutionized British culture and lifestyles. Throughout this book, one can find a real humility in Branson's narrative of himself and his experiences. Like most contemporary memoirists, Branson uses the confessional mode of writing, which has allowed him to do things that a conventional novel will not. Branson's style of writing is so good-humored and his perceptions so remarkable that this book is worth a read even if you don't have the slightest interest in business. As one critic wrote about this book - Heavy but impossible to put down.

The book is written in a chronological fashion, and the chapters have rather stimulating titles. The chapters are actual chunks taken from Branson's life, and provide a rich visual and verbal experience to the reader. Some 130 photographs (both color and black & white) are there, and they complement the narrative beautifully.

It is fast paced, and has an honesty which is a little trivial at times. Branson reveals much about himself. Towards the middle, he gives a passionate account of his devotion towards music. His other great passion, adventure (some of which have been near-death experiences), is also dealt with in detail. Branson's love for ballooning, which he calls the most exhilarating of all sports, got him an entry into the Guinness Book of World Records, a real tribute to his daredevilry.

Branson's tale is novel, and is filled with instances of courage, the courage to break away from tradition. At age 16, Branson started a student's magazine and then ventured into music, which was a big hit. Richard Branson recounts this as a sad moment in his life when he had to sell Virgin Records to Thorn EMI in order to keep a floundering Virgin Atlantic Airways afloat. Today, apart from Virgin Atlantic, the Virgin Group owns Virgin Cola, Virgin Vie, Virgin Brides, Virgin Mega-stores and many more such ventures, which cater to everything any person would want in his daily life. Now, after conquering the world, he wants to fly you to space.

I would hate to spoil the read for you, so suffice it to say that LOSING MY VIRGINITY is a real, inspirational story that can only be told by the man himself. Such is the popularity of this book that it has become a byword for 'What they don't teach you at Business Schools'. From another perspective, it is a comic recollection of life's ups and downs juxtaposed with anecdotes about rock stars, politicians, friends and foes.

One finds no moral story in the end, no grandfatherly advice to the young blood. Instead, one is left with a deep feeling of admiration and a constant mulling over his adventures. If you ever want to know how much a single guy can achieve with "talent, initiative and good ideas", read this book. It comes as close to providing the real experience as any book can, and for this reason alone it should be coveted.
19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Just Great 26 octobre 2007
Par Krasimir Karamfilov - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book is fantastic. It's written by a man, who has achieved so much more than we, the readers, have achieved. He leads the Virgin empire with a lot of honesty, integrity, and fun. His life is truly inspirational and very educational.

In a nutshell, one can become a peer of Richard Branson's when one:

1. Never accepts "no" for an answer
2. Tries everything at least once
3. Lives life to the fullest one day at a time
4. Challenges the status quo
5. Loves his family and friends more than everything else
6. Embraces competition
7. Works, works, works
8. Grows, grows, grows
9. Has fun
10. Gives

If we all do these 10 things, the world would be a paradise. Richard Branson has clearly created his own paradise with Virgin. God bless him.
17 internautes sur 19 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Great story, but somehow fell short of expectations 28 novembre 2012
Par Yoni Levitan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
If you are familiar with Richard Branson's story, you may know how one of his teachers famously said that he would either "be in jail or be a millionaire" by the age of 25. It has taken me a while to be able to articulate my thoughts towards this, but having recently read the rather excellent Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Talem I think I can now put my finger on it. If you read this book you will learn a few things about how to treat employees well, how to build a consistent brand that retains its essence across wildly divergent industries, and how to live an exciting life. It just didn't live up to the really high expectations friends set for me.

Branson is undoubtedly a talented entrepreneur, and one can't help but admire how he has dedicated the latter part of his life to social issues. One thing I love about him is his naivety when it comes to doing good. As the saying goes, when you don't know something is impossible it all of the sudden becomes a lot less daunting and achievable. I think he has, or in the process of proving many "experts" wrong when it comes to things as far ranging as saving endangered species and creating a commercial space tourism company (which in the long-term, along with Space X, will do much to benefit human kind).

Despite this, there are several points in Branson's story where I can't help but think that if one of the many possible alternatives were to have taken place, he would have been wiped out in a manner that would have been difficult to recover from. Whether in reference to his ballooning adventures, or how some Virgin companies were saddled with very heavy debt, one can't help but wonder how much his success (and current good health) are owed to luck. If there were 100 alternative versions of reality, Branson may very well have ended up in jail or broke in dozens of them. However, knowing him he would probably be okay with that.

If you are a fan of business biographies, two others I preferred are Peak by Chip Conley, and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson. If you want to learn about entrepreneurship, The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is one of the best books out there on the subject.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
The European dream!!! 25 mars 2005
Par Pranav Chandrasekhar - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
"Losing my virginity" is an entertaining page-turner all the way from the beginning to the end. It is fascinating to read about what a mildly dyslexic man with no college education could create for himself.

Richard Branson is a man with a zest for life and all its challenges. Fun lies at the core of everything he does. The best part is he makes money doing what he does. His social circle includes a wide variety of people that include his small-town neighbours, Peter Gabriel, Queen Noor and Rod Stewart. The book includes the birth of Virgin records, Branson's daredevil ballooning adventures, his legal battle with British Airways, and experiences that I truly wish were personal experiences.

It will leave you hooked all the way until the end. Every guy that reads this will wish that this is the life he could lead - definitely the European dream.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
His roots are well explained 11 décembre 2007
Par Nilanka Sandanayake - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This is one very good book for young people who are searching for the entrepreneur in themselves. He explains and describes in detail what he was going through and how his mind worked in his early years when he was building his businesses. And also, how he enjoyed his life while doing all these things. He illustrates few unique qualities... having fun while working, taking risks like a maniac... and most importantly, fearlessness.

I assume the story here is genuine and there are so many things that the reader will learn. Basically, this book changed my life.

One limiting thing in this book is that there is not enough details about his recent achievements and businesses. They are all explained in a hurry. The people who want to know every thing up to the point of the writing this book will be little disappointed. Thats why I've given one star less.
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