Richard Branson may live on a private island, but his life has been anything but private.
Known as one of the most successful entrepreneurs today, he’s been in business since before 1970. As founder of Virgin Group, Branson has built an impressive net worth of over $4.9 billion dollars, making him a favorite subject for Paparazzi. But even with all of the attention, there remain areas of his life that are less publicized.
Enjoy these 12 surprising facts about Sir Richard Branson.
1. HE HAS DYSLEXIA.
While his learning disability certainly made school less enjoyable and much harder, it also encouraged him to work on his people skills which have proven incredibly valuable in his business endeavors. His success has made him a huge inspiration those struggling with dyslexia.
2. HE WENT INTO BUSINESS AT AGE 16.
Branson’s first successful business venture was at only 16 years old, in the form of a magazine named Student– which is ironic because he dropped out of high school the same year.
3. HE WAS A ‘VIRGIN’ OF BUSINESS.
His company was called Virgin because of his initial inexperience in business. And here we’ve been thinking it was something else.
4. HE WAS NOT ADVENTUROUS BY NATURE.
Out of concern for his lack of curiosity and adventure, Branson’s mother left him alone in the countryside one day, with instructions to find his own way home.
5. HE’S A RECORD-BREAKER.
He not only broke the record for speed in crossing the Atlantic in 1986, but he was the first to cross the Atlantic (1987) and then the Pacific (1991) in a hot-air balloon.
6. HE’S INVESTING IN OUTER SPACE.
Branson recently registered the name ‘Virgin Interplanetary’, for when space travel becomes commercially viable. It could be said that even outer space will then no longer be Virgin territory.
7. HE LOVES STAR TREK.
He’s an unashamed Trekkie who invited William Shatner on the first Virgin Galactic flight, the VSS Enterprise.
8. HE COULD HAVE BEEN THE PRIME MINISTER.
As a child, Branson’s mother often told people he would become the prime minister of England.
9. HE BOUGHT AN ISLAND.
In 1978, Richard Branson bought an Island for $180,000, well under the asking price of $5 million. It’s worth upwards of $200 million today.
10. HE ONCE AUCTIONED 30 MINUTES OF HIS TIME.
Using Ebay, Branson set up the auction to raise funds for Stand Up to Cancer, benefitting cancer research.
11. HE OWNS A PET TORTOISE.
Branson’s pet tortoise, named Brutus, is even more exceptional for having survived a fire that leveled most of the property on Necker Island in 2011.
12. THE COMPANY HE FIRST FOUNDED HAS MULTIPLIED EXPONENTIALLY.
The Virgin Group now contains over 400 different companies including Virgin Galactic, Virgin Mobile and Virgin Drinks.
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