Man vs Bookshelf

Man vs Bookshelf: Business Stripped Bare

This entry is part 51 of 66 in the series Man vs Bookshelf

I made a mistake, in my last blog, not mentioning what a monumental occasion both blog and book were.

That is, a monumental occasion within the scope of this challenge. Not for mankind. Mankind doesn’t gain anything from this challenge.

In fact, as readers often point out in their emails, mankind is a real loser here.

Anyway, Red Dragon was the 75th book of this challenge.

Applause, applause.

Not only that, but it was my fiftieth blog of the challenge (including the introduction.

More applause, more applause.

That’s pretty good going. In the nine months since I began, I have read 27,219 pages (As of Red Dragon). And have written 65,914 words up to but not including the word ‘65,914’ and everything that succeeds it.

What can you do in nine months? Conceive, carry and birth a baby? Pah, pathetic.

65k words is novel length, and isn’t all I’ve written. Add to that two novel first drafts. Several revision drafts of my upcoming novel. Plus, the final draft of last year’s novel and tens of thousands of words on projects now dead. Not to mention the non Man vs Bookshelf blogs I have done. Think my blog series on writing, for example.

I don’t say this to brag (honest). I mention it because I’m flabbergasted at my own achievement. Considering how down on myself I was about my productivity for the first half of this year.

On we move, then, with happiness in our collective hearts that I’m doing better than we all might have suspected.

Onto the blog.


Richard Branson and Me

I’ve always wanted to run my own business.

Well, not always. I used to wear a nappy and want for nothing more than something to eat and something to rattle.

But, for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be an entrepreneur.

I never had any strong opinions on what I wanted my business to be. I wanted to start something, to run it, to make it a success.

I never did. But in my interest in businesses, I also became interested in successful businessmen. Alan Sugar and Richard Branson in the main.

I can’t remember when I became aware of Richard Branson. Or how. But I have read his autobiography (Losing My Virginity) and have long possessed two more of his books. Both of which I will read in this challenge. The first being the subject of this blog.

So Branson has long fascinated me. He’s an interesting character, as Sugar is. You might have to be an interesting character to become so successful.

That would make sense.

But, despite my interest, I never read either of the Branson books I have on my shelves.

I should have, but my priorities shifted. What I wanted changed. Writing came into the picture.

Of course, wanting to be a writer means I still want to run a business. In the days of self-publishing, you need to become a business to succeed. You need to make yourself a brand.

That’s what I’m trying to do now. That’s what this blog is about.

If only someone other than Fay would read it…

Well, I’m working on that.


Business Stripped Bare

Business Stripped Bare is not a ‘How-To’ guide as such.

Branson has written it as a guide to aspiring entrepreneurs. To help them find success. But it’s not a self-help style book. It is not a manual.

It’s so much better.

The book is more a series of anecdotes from Branson’s own life and experiences. Each one containing a moral or lesson.

Kind of like non-fictional Aesop’s Fables.

This is what sets the book apart from others of its ilk. It is not an autobiography and it is not a help guide. It is a great weave of the two, and that allows it to be more interesting than both.

What’s great about this book is Branson has plucked out his most interesting stories. Not only the successes, either. In fact, I would say it comes down more on the side of his mistakes. Learning from where he went wrong.

This is great, and it’s brave, too. Sure, when you’re worth billions, it’s easy not to worry about your mistakes. But there are plenty out there who wouldn’t talk about them.

No so with Richard. The text is full of bad choices and even disasters. Which gives the book a great base point.

Better, Branson is a fantastic writer. Assuming he wrote the book himself and didn’t have it ghostwritten.

Someone is a great writer.

The stories are well told. They are engaging, fun and often funny. They are down to Earth and genuine. They feel honest and that all adds to a great book.

I’m not looking for entrepreneurial advice, but if I was I can see how this would be helpful. As Branson talks about how he deals with brand, staff, innovation and much more.

There’s a lot anyone can pick up here. A lot anyone can learn.

But, if you’re looking for an interesting read and nothing more. This is still a great book. Still something I would recommend to anyone who had even a fleeting interest in Branson.

They wouldn’t regret reading it.


Next Time

Next up we’re taking on a book about legendary football manager Brian Clough.

Wait, you say, haven’t we been here before?

Well, sort of. Difference is, that was non-fiction this is not.

That was biography, this is The Damned UTD.

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International worst selling author Mark Ayre has been writing since before he could pick up a pen (somehow). Recently he is taking the internet by storm with his Man vs Bookshelf Challenge where he aims to read the 210 books on his bookshelf in 210 weeks, reviewing them on his blog and Goodreads along the way. He is also publishing books on Amazon, his most recent being the family suspense novel, Poor Choices, which you can find here.

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