Book Corner: Losing My Virginity

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    Book Review Losing My Virginity


    Hello everyone. And welcome to Cliff’s Book Corner, where we will be interviewing Michigan authors and their books. But for the time being, you’re just going to have to sit tight and listen to me. So grab your cup of coffee and listen, as I talk about one of my favorite books on the planet, and that is “Losing My Virginity”.

    It’s the true story. Of the, self-proclaimed world’s greatest entrepreneur, sir. Richard Branson. Let me talk a little bit about how this book fell into my lap. One of the things that I’ve always been interested in as I’ve been on my journey for self-improvement now for handful of decades is I’ve always admired.

    What other people have. Accomplished the successes that they’ve had, what are the obstacles that they had to overcome? A lot of the times we will see people, like if you take a look at the television show shark tank, right? There’s Mark Cuban. There is Damon John, there’s mr. Wonderful. And we look at them and say, wow, look at all that great success that they’ve had.

    They’ve got it made. But you know what? At one point in time they were just somebody on the street. Nobody knew who Mark Cuban was. Nobody knew who mr. Wonderful was Kevin O’Leary way back when in that time. And so all of these people are. They’re, you know, they’re, self-made, they’ve, they’ve seen a great measure of success, but they’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles in their lives.

    They’ve had to confront limiting beliefs. And what I decided to do is I decided to in my, my book reading rotation, as I started putting in autobiographies of people who had accomplished things and I’ve, I’ve read. Some of the really great autobiographies of like for instance, industry giants like Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie, both of those books were just really phenomenally well.

    I did, get into politics by, reading a biography of, Abraham Lincoln, which was beautiful. Oh my God. People could write so well back in the day and just reading. some of the things that he wrote about was just absolutely incredible. and you know, some of the more modern, writings as well, for instance, sir, Richard Branson.

    So I picked his book out of Amazon and it came and I’ve read it. And just to give you a little bit of, of how much I like this book, I pull it out and I read it every two years. And every time that I read it, I seem to pull something new from it. With that being said, I want to dive into the three major points that I’ve most recently pulled from this great book.

    And I want to share them with you. And then, talk about my recommendations.

    Take Away 1: Always Create Options

    My first takeaway “Always Create Pptions”. Okay. A lot of people don’t know this, but sir, Richard Branson holds the world’s record for being the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon. Something that I think is certifiably crazy. What’s interesting is that as he’s sharing the story, of course, he reveals that when he was thinking about doing this, he was talking to, an, weather atmosphere specialist, especially at high altitudes and come to find out the winds when you get.

    Up in altitude are moving along at about four to 500 miles an hour. They’re moving along at a good clip. So it would be completely feasible to design a pressurized hot air balloon, a capsule, so to speak that could try to send up to those Heights, get in one of those jet streams. And then make it around the world.

    That would probably be about a 24 hour adventure, 36 hour adventure to do it, but they could do it. Of course you are at the mercy of the winds, which has actually made for some very hilarious stories in the book. But there was one incident that happened that I want to point out. And that is, of course, is he didn’t circumnavigate the globe on the first try.

    It took several attempts before he finally did it. And they had to learn how to Todd, to design the capsule. They were frequently crashing in the middle of the desert, but there was one time where they experienced a failure with the balloon system and the, the capsule was. Plunging rapidly towards the North Atlantic ocean in the middle of winter and Richard Branson, along with those copilot said, you know what?

    We have to get out of this because if we hit the water at this rate of speed, I think they estimated they were going to like 150 200 miles an hour straight down. If they hit the water at that speed, then. They would, they would be dead, you know? So they were like, you know, let’s just take our chances and jump out of the jump out of the capsule.

    So they put on their cold weather gear, which would keep them alive for maybe 20 or 25 minutes. Hoping that the search and rescue helicopters, which were already on their way would be able to find them in the dark cold North Atlantic. And they put on their suits and they’re like, we have to get out of here.

    And they opened up the door and. so Richard told us, co-pilot you go first? So the copilot jumped out the door. Well, what’s interesting when that happened is that the hot air balloon became 200 pounds lighter. So within a split second, instead of descending so quickly, it actually reversed and started to ascend and it threw Richard to the ground cause he wasn’t expecting it.

    But now the hot air balloon was lighter. So it actually started to go up. But that was going to be short-lived because at some point there was still going to be continued problems with the hot air balloon and the balloon was going to eventually start to crash back into the water. So sir, Richard Branson knew that he still should get out of there and he walked over to the door and he stood there for a second.

    And he said, you know, as long as I am here in this capsule, I have options. If I jump out that door, I have committed to jumping into the North Atlantic and hoping that somebody can save me. But right now I’ve already been in the air for a few minutes longer because the co-pilot had jumped out. Maybe just, maybe there’s a possibility that I could actually, that the balloon itself would actually traverse over land because that’s what they were going for.

    Their goal was to try to make it to, to England. And so what he decided to do is said, you know what, I’m going to hang tight for a little bit and just see what happens. And sure enough, with the way that the winds were blowing and the way the storm was kicking up, he looked and he saw the coastline of England.

    he saw the light signs of the various towns and villages. So he knew he was much closer to land than he was before. And eventually he did, he was able to jump out of the plane and he used his I’m sorry, I was playing. Let’s try that again. He jumped out of the hot air balloon.  the capsule and used his parachute and landed, safely onto the ground.

    And yes, if you’re wondering, they did find the copilot, treading in, the water, somehow by swimming around, he was able to keep himself alive for a little while longer, but they did find him, they did recover him. And so both of them were able to, to walk away. But it’s one of those things where I’ve always kept that in the back of my mind is the fact that once you’re out of options, you’re.

    And I know that sounds rather crude of me to say, but, you know, let me share with you a story. 

    Point 1 Story

    This is something that I have experienced in my own life. So many moons ago. When I was in my twenties, I got buried in credit card debt, like crazy for me. I had this all figured out. And as long as I’ve got a good paying job, I can make those easily low, monthly payments. And I had credit card after credit card after credit card stacked up.

    And I had probably at that time, I would probably estimate maybe about 25,000 in credit card debt. And I know compared to a lot of people that are buried under like a hundred thousand or $150,000 in credit card debt. you know, 25,000, every single month, plus trying to live in Southern California, where the rents were just really super high.

    And the cost of living is just off the charts. I found myself in a position where I was literally like just above break even every single month. And that is just absolutely no way to live. And. I felt that at that point in time, my only option was, you know, you have to keep paying these, you have to keep paying these.

    And I felt bad cause every now and then I’d have to go to my roommate and he’d be like, Hey, look, I can’t, I can’t pay the rent on time. Can I, you know, can I pay you next week? Because you know, I had to pay a bill and he was getting annoyed because you know, he’s fronting the rent and he knew that I was good for it, but still, if you’re going to make that financial commitment, you should be able to keep it.

    So. You know, here I am, I’m struggling, struggling, struggling. And just on a Lark, I happened to mention to somebody that I was working with about being crushed by credit card debt. And she said to me, why don’t you just get a consolidation loan through the credit union? I had no idea what a consolidation loan was.

    And so when I asked her about it, she said, yeah, what they’ll do is they’ll. Is they’ll pay off all of your credit cards. They’ll make you cancel them, but they will, you know, they’ll pay off all your credit cards and then you just have to pay the credit union back. Usually it’s a much lower payment every single month than what you’re paying now.

    And so, you know, of course I took a trip over to the credit union and I talked to them about it. I, I met all the criteria and they said, yep, this is something that we can do. Your interest rate was going to be, you know, my credit cards, I think at that time were like, you know, 25% interest or something like that.

    And the credit union was going to give me 18%, but the amount of money that I was paying every single month towards the credit cards was about to be cut in half because of this consolidation loan. So the reason why I point that out is because before I felt like my only option was to just struggle every single month, which is when you’re under that much financial stress, it’s just way too much.

    But because I was in a situation where either I wasn’t using my imagination or because I lacked knowledge. I didn’t know that there were other options out there for me. Right. So, because I felt like the only option was for me to pay. I was putting myself in the same position over and over and over again and not really making any real traction forward.

    So that was a very, a very hard lesson for me to learn, because even to this day, I still hate credit cards left a very poor taste in my mouth, but the one thing with. Reading this book, reading that story is that as long as you can cultivate options for yourself, you can get yourself in and out of any situation, you can get yourself into a better situation.

    You can always improve. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of imagination and a little bit of knowledge or a little bit of footwork, but you can get there. .

    Take Away 2: Empathy is Important

    Take away. Number two from the book you have to empathize with people. There’s been a number of times where I’ve been involved with various groups or organizations or masterminds or whatever it is. And they always talk about, you know, being super tenacious and you never give up and you never, you, you never quit and you just, you keep going to keep it.

    And while I agree that there are some aspects in life, Where you need to adopt that mentality. It is not a hundred percent permission for you to treat every situation in your life. The same. You really do have to empathize with the people that you are either trying to help or to move forward and really understand their situation.

    There’s a story in the book about, losing my virginity where long before sir, Richard Branson started Virgin records or Virgin airlines. He was in his college days. He was running a magazine that he started called student magazine. One of the things that they did in student magazine was they talked to a lot of rock and roll artists, getting interviews with them, getting exclusives with them.

    And it was really starting to become. Quite a popular magazine and the magazine was a voice of the younger generation. One of the things that they did for the magazine, they scored a complete coup, which is, you know, in retrospect is like completely awesome, but

    they signed a contract with John Lennon.  you know, the, the world’s biggest rock star at the time. But they signed a contract with John Lennon and he would release a single in student magazine exclusively for. Readers of student magazine. So yeah, you know, they worked out the timeline, they hammered out a timeline, everything else, they were all set.

    And so, you know, Richard’s going forward and he’s selling advertising space in the magazine and saying, yep, John, Lennon’s going to release a record. You, you need to pay, you know, $10,000, 20,000 or I’m sorry, 10,000 pounds, 20,000 pounds. And these people were all lining up. He was getting everything all set and meanwhile, the record never came.

    And so Richard was getting a little bit upset. So he was like trying to call, trying to get an answer. He wasn’t getting any answers. So finally he got to a point where, you know, the deadlines looming and he went to his attorney and was like, Hey, they’re not giving me the album. They’re not returning my calls.

    We need that album. And so the attorney is like, I’m on it. I’ll ma I will make it happen. And so the attorney was all over it and he was threatening with lawsuits and, you know, you’re violating a contract here and, you know, we’ve made all this money and everything else. So the day that the record was to be submitted, John Lennon showed up with, with his wife.

    Oh, go no. And yeah, they sat down in the studio and of course, you know, Richard is just excited beyond all, get out that he’s going to hear this tune that nobody in the world has ever heard before. And it’s going to be in the, in the, it’s going to be in student magazine. He is a Supersite he’s super pumped.

    He’s like, yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s put it on. Let’s put it on. And so they put the record on. And all it is, is a heartbeat and it’s very slight, very subtle. And as time goes by, the heartbeat gets slower and slower and finally stops. And John Lennon and his wife break down crying. The reason why John Lennon didn’t produce an album was because him and his wife found out that they were pregnant with their first child.

    And while all this was going on, they wound up losing that child. Meanwhile, sir, Richard Branson is just beating them horrendously. He did not know what they were going through, but the thing is he never took the time to truly understand what the problem was. All he cared about was getting that album. And because of that, even when he went on to create Virgin records and all the success that he saw, he never spoke to John Lennon.

    Again, John Linden would have nothing to do with them. And sir Richard Branson, Bert that bridge to the ground, and didn’t even realize it. You have to have empathy for the people that are out there and to truly understand their situation and what they’re going through. And if you can’t, then there’ll be the same thing.

    Take Away 3: Keep it Simple

    The third takeaway from the book. Keep it simple. Not many people know this, but sir, Richard Branson is actually dyslexic. When he grew up as a child, the schools that he would attend in England, they really only had one program or one treatment to help kids that were dyslexic. And that was to whip them.

    So he spent his whole life actually hating school because his teachers thought that he was just screwing around or he couldn’t do it. Cause he, you know, they would ask him to read a passage in a book and he wouldn’t be able to do it. And so, you know, they would just get angry, send him down to the principal’s office where, you know, he would just.

    He would just get the taillights walked out of them. so it’s a sad that it had to happen, but I do find it a little bit ironic that somebody who can’t read or really struggles to read has become a billionaire based on all of the contracts throughout his life that he has had to, that he has had to sign.

    But the one thing that really forced him and I think is a very significant key to his success is that whenever somebody comes in to pitch him a business idea or to do something, you know, something new as part of the part of the Virgin group, if they come in there with a presentation that is 200 pages long, he’s not interested in it because he can’t read it.

    And he always makes them simplify whatever it is that they are trying to, whatever they’re trying to pitch, whatever that might be. And he actually has boiled it down to two questions before he decides if he’s going to jump into the jump into a new market or not. And the first question is who are the chief competitors?

    And number two, can we do it better? He won’t go into a market unless they can show that they can do it better. So one of the things, for instance, that really annoys her Richard Branson is that the trains in London are notorious for always being late. And I’ve experienced this myself. The train’s supposed to show up at nine 47 and it’ll actually show up at, you know, nine 55.

    And when you’re trying to get to work and you’re always showing up late, your boss is getting irritated because the trains are always running behind that can get really annoying. And when trains start running behind, they can’t share the tracks that they normally could if they were all running on schedule.

    So, you know, Richard Branson was like, you know what? I can do better. So he created Virgin train. And their whole mantra. They run on time. You know, that’s basically their entire marketing plan. I mean, you want to talk about making it dirt simple to understand that to me is just really cool. And usually when I’m talking to people and they’re, and they’re telling me these ideas that they have for these grandiose systems and trust me being from Southern California, I have heard some doozies.

    They have to talk for 15 or 20 minutes. And a lot of the times the conversation becomes very ethereal and I’m over there sitting there thinking to myself, but what is the problem that we solve and how are we going to do it better? You know, those are just, those are just the things that. That run through my mind.

    But anyways, keeping things simple, I think has really served him well, to be able to understand what it is that he’s dead, he’s going to get into and then how to move the business forward.

    Take Away 3: Storya number of years ago, I got involved with a very talented group of people, a lot of great skills. And I remember that it was about a photo sharing application and it was a new way to be able to display your photos. On a phone or a tablet or your television or any kind of device whatsoever. And the photos.

    A lot of times, if you’re going to use some kind of photo display and advice device, excuse me, you have to go into a system and tell it which photos to display on the screen. And then you have to. You have to go in there and like, if you want a music track to be playing in the background, you, you know, you certainly can and get that plane up there.

    And then what happens is, is, you know, let’s say that, you know, you have some friends over and you put up a bunch of photos of, you know, you and your friends and the music track the photos start repeating again. It’s like, Oh yeah, we see that photo now 20 times tonight. And it just, you know, it, it, it just, we just felt, you know, there, there just had to be.

    A better way, something where, you know, you could, you know, easily, either speak a command to a device, which was, you know, Alexa, was coming online. Google home was coming online, but all these devices were coming out. So where you could just simply say a command and it would put together this whole storybook of photos.

    Basically on the fly, you wouldn’t have to do anything. And it would constantly be changing out the photos. It would be putting new photos in there. It would change up the music tracks depending on the photos. I, you know, and it was, it was a really, it was very, theoretically anyways, when you saw it, it was very beautiful, but the struggle was.

    What I just explained to you, how could I boil that down into just a couple of sentences to be able to quickly and simply be able to communicate to people what it is that the software does. And this is something that we really struggled with. And I know that, especially when we were working on the patent for this idea, that, and just reading what the patent was and all of the detail that was in there, I just realized that.

    We didn’t have a very simple mechanism in place to be able to get the people in the general public to say, you know what? This is a superior system. Let’s switch over and start using this. And the more that we talked about it, we would almost. cherry pick other problems and bring it in. So for instance, one of the problems that we came up with, and this was something that, I brought up too, I brought it to the, to the group was the fact that, you know, most people have so many photos stored on their phones or on their tablets.

    What happens when that person dies? What happens to those photos? So we were coming up with as generational concept where. You know, fit the photos could stay in the family much the same way as a photo album did. And, you know, you could just create one account. It would be for the entire family. And this could continue to go on generation after generation, after generation and you know, three or four generations from now.

    I’m sure everything will be holograms, but at that, by, at that point in time, but three or four generations from now, You know, they could see the photos of, of what was happening today in their family and get to know their, their, you know, their grandparents or their great-grandparents or their great great-great-grandparents that they never even met before and be able to see what life was like, you know, so there’s all these like really cool ideas that were popping into it, but we could not figure out a way that was our biggest struggle.

    We could not figure out a way to, you know, make it simple. And I know at one point there was some conversation about Facebook actually acquiring the patent for this. And using it. And of course I get very excited about it, but one of the, one of the chief stumbling blocks was that, you know, when we would get on the phone, it was very hard to articulate what it was that the software did.

    And just a very couple simple sentences. And unfortunately that skill set is out of my, out of my wheelhouse, but I do know that with all of us in the group, whenever we would talk about it, it was always taking 10, 15, 20 minutes to explain. You know what the, what the system does and how cool it was, but trying to boil that down was an absolute, real struggle.

    And as far as I know, I haven’t heard anything about it in the last couple of years, but as far as I know, nothing has moved forward with us whatsoever. You know, the patent was filed. It was granted. Yes. My name is on it, which is kinda cool. There’s bragging rights there. But as far as the actual system itself, And what it can do.

    It’s just, you know, it’s just the patent sitting out there. So, you know, it’s just one of those, one of those lessons that I learned in life that you always got to focus on trying to keep something simple. And for me, if it’s simple, I can see it. And if I can see it and I want to pursue it, then I’m in a hundred percent.

    But if I’m chasing something that I can’t visualize and I can’t see, then it’s hard for me to get excited and to get behind it. So.


    So, should you get this book? Well, I already said before that I’m super curious as to how these people that have achieved some level of success or great levels of success, how did they get there? What were the obstacles that they had to overcome? It’s really easy to pick up some kind of a self-help book today that says, Oh, here’s the five steps to conquer your limiting beliefs and make a billion dollars in less than a year.

    But yeah, those books kind of like don’t interest me, but when you actually read. The the roadmap, so to speak that these successful people have left behind you start to see patterns, you start to see and really, truly understand their, their thought patterns behind it, their philosophy behind it and how they overcame.

    Like I mentioned before, sir, Richard Branson with his, with his dyslexia. So. You really start to get a feel for the person, their philosophy, how they built it and understanding that helps you to decide, you know, I would like to actually incorporate this into my life, which is something I really like to experiment with.


    Add to that. If you are a child of the eighties, I think you would really love how. Sir Richard Branson and Virgin records started getting all of these big names, talents like Janet Jackson and Phil Collins. I mean, the stories behind how he was able to get these bands and other bands too, like for instance, the rolling stones, how he, how he was able to get them to sign with his record.

    I think that whole story of Virgin records to me anyways, is probably the most compelling part of the book. And. Sir Richard Branson, he does have dyslexia, but he, he is a great negotiator and how he was able to get Janet Jackson to, to sign up with Virgin records. To me is, it’s very cute and a very funny story.

    So I’m not gonna tell you what he did had nothing to do with paperwork. There wasn’t people sitting around a table. it was something that I think anybody would, actually I’ve left a giant clue in this review. So, but anyways, if you want to know more about it, I highly recommend that you read the book and actually any famous person or somebody that you say, you know what?

    I truly admire this person, get their autobiography, read it, understand them as, as a person. And it doesn’t have, like I said, it doesn’t have to be Richard Branson. It could just be, you know, anybody on the planet that you truly admire. So anyways, with that being said, I’ve babbled long enough. I’m going to leave you be and tune in next week because I’ll be coming back with another book review.

    I’m really enjoying these and, the response I’m getting from people is really great. So please keep those, keep those comments coming. Keep the emails coming. I really do appreciate it. I will talk to you next time.


    About The Host

    About The Host

    Cliff Duvernois

    Cliff is the host of “The Call of Leadership” podcast.  He has published over 500 short stories over Facebook, Medium and LinkedIn.  He is a passionate lifelong learner, marketer and philanthropist.  He currently lives in Reese, Michigan with his fiancé Sherry and her two children.