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Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Overview
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, best known for his Virgin Group
Virgin Group
Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

 of more than 400 companies.

His first successful business venture was a magazine called Student at age 16. In 1970, he set up an audio record mail-order business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited is a British airline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines...

 and expanded the Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 music label.

Branson is the 4th richest citizen of the United Kingdom and 254th richest person in the world, according to the Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 2011 list of billionaires
Forbes list of billionaires
Forbes list of billionaires is based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine on March 10, 2011.-Forbes list of billionaires :...

, with an estimated net worth of US$4.2 billion.

Branson was born in Blackheath, London
Blackheath, London
Blackheath is a district of South London, England. It is named from the large open public grassland which separates it from Greenwich to the north and Lewisham to the west...

, the son and eldest child of barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 Edward James Branson (10 March 1918 – 19 March 2011) and Eve Huntley Branson (née Flindt).
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Quotations

One thing is certain in business. You and everyone around you will make mistakes.

From Richard Branson's blogg ‘Learning from mistakes’ on the Virgin Website.

My general attitude to life is to enjoy every minute of every day. I never do anything with a feeling of, “Oh God, I've got to do this today.”

From his interview in The Guardian newspaper, 20th September 2008

I became an entrepreneur by mistake. Ever since then I've gone into business, not to make money, but because I think I can do it better than it's been done elsewhere. And, quite often, just out of personal frustration about the way it's been done by other people.

As stated in an interview with Martyn Lewis (journalist)|Martyn Lewis in his book, Reflections on Success (1997)

My philosophy is that if I have any money I invest it in new ventures and not have it sitting around.

From his interview in The Sunday Mirror, 16th January 2000

Making money never was my incentive. I just want to fight big companies.

From his interview in The Sunday Mirror, 16th January 2000.

If you want to be a Millionaire, start with a billion dollars and launch a new airline.

Quoted by P. Greenberg, “Why JetBlue will be different,” MSNBC as cited in Gittell and O’Reilly (October, 2001) Harvard Business School Press Reprint No. 9-801-354

I was born under a lucky star, and I have nothing whatsoever to regret. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life.

In his interview with Nina Myskow for Saga magazine, July 2007
Encyclopedia
Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson (born 18 July 1950) is an English business magnate
Business magnate
A business magnate, sometimes referred to as a capitalist, czar, mogul, tycoon, baron, oligarch, or industrialist, is an informal term used to refer to an entrepreneur who has reached prominence and derived a notable amount of wealth from a particular industry .-Etymology:The word magnate itself...

, best known for his Virgin Group
Virgin Group
Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

 of more than 400 companies.

His first successful business venture was a magazine called Student at age 16. In 1970, he set up an audio record mail-order business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited is a British airline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines...

 and expanded the Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 music label.

Branson is the 4th richest citizen of the United Kingdom and 254th richest person in the world, according to the Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

 2011 list of billionaires
Forbes list of billionaires
Forbes list of billionaires is based on an annual assessment of wealth and assets compiled and published by Forbes magazine on March 10, 2011.-Forbes list of billionaires :...

, with an estimated net worth of US$4.2 billion.

Early life


Branson was born in Blackheath, London
Blackheath, London
Blackheath is a district of South London, England. It is named from the large open public grassland which separates it from Greenwich to the north and Lewisham to the west...

, the son and eldest child of barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

 Edward James Branson (10 March 1918 – 19 March 2011) and Eve Huntley Branson (née Flindt). His grandfather, the Right Honourable Sir George Arthur Harwin Branson, was a judge of the High Court of Justice
High Court of Justice
The High Court of Justice is, together with the Court of Appeal and the Crown Court, one of the Senior Courts of England and Wales...

 and a Privy Councillor. Branson was educated at Scaitcliffe School (now Bishopsgate School
Bishopsgate School
Bishopsgate School is a non denominational co-educational independent school aged 3 to 13, in Englefield Green, Surrey.The school is set in of land adjacent to Windsor Great Park. It is classed as an IAPS Preparatory School....

) until the age of thirteen. He then attended Stowe School
Stowe School
Stowe School is an independent school in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was founded on 11 May 1923 by J. F. Roxburgh, initially with 99 male pupils. It is a member of the Rugby Group and Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. The school is also a member of the G20 Schools Group...

 until the age of sixteen. Branson has dyslexia
Dyslexia
Dyslexia is a very broad term defining a learning disability that impairs a person's fluency or comprehension accuracy in being able to read, and which can manifest itself as a difficulty with phonological awareness, phonological decoding, orthographic coding, auditory short-term memory, or rapid...

 and had poor academic performance as a student, but later discovered his ability to connect with others.

Record business



Branson started his record business from the crypt of a church where he ran The Student. Branson advertised popular records in The Student Magazine and it was an over night success. Trading under the name "Virgin", he sold records for considerably less than the "High Street" outlets, especially the chain W. H. Smith. The name "Virgin" was suggested by one of Branson's early employees because they were all new at business. At the time, many products were sold under restrictive marketing agreements that limited discounting, despite efforts in the 1950s and 1960s to limit so-called resale price maintenance
Resale price maintenance
Resale price maintenance is the practice whereby a manufacturer and its distributors agree that the latter will sell the former's product at certain prices , at or above a price floor or at or below a price ceiling...

. In effect, Branson began the series of changes that led to large-scale discounting of recorded music.

Branson eventually started a record shop in Oxford Street in London. In 1971, Branson was questioned in connection with the selling of records in Virgin stores that had been declared export stock. The matter was never brought before a court and Branson agreed to repay any unpaid tax and a fine. Branson's mother Eve re-mortgaged the family home to help pay the settlement.

Earning enough money from his record store, Branson in 1972 launched the record label Virgin Records
Virgin Records
Virgin Records is a British record label founded by English entrepreneur Richard Branson, Simon Draper, and Nik Powell in 1972. The company grew to be a worldwide music phenomenon, with platinum performers such as Roy Orbison, Devo, Genesis, Keith Richards, Janet Jackson, Culture Club, Lenny...

 with Nik Powell
Nik Powell
Nik Powell is one of the co-founders of the Virgin Group with Richard Branson. After operating a mail-order company, a small record shop, and a recording studio, the partners established Virgin Records in 1972...

 and bought a country estate, in which he installed a recording studio
The Manor Studio
The Manor Studio was a recording studio in the manor house at the village of Shipton-on-Cherwell in Oxfordshire, England, north of the city of Oxford. It was the first residential recording studio in the UK...

. He leased out studio time to fledgling artists, including multi-instrumentalist Mike Oldfield
Mike Oldfield
Michael Gordon Oldfield is an English multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, working a style that blends progressive rock, folk, ethnic or world music, classical music, electronic music, New Age, and more recently, dance. His music is often elaborate and complex in nature...

, whose debut album Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells
Tubular Bells is the debut record album of English musician Mike Oldfield, released in 1973. It was the first album released by Virgin Records and an early cornerstone of the company's success...

(1973) was Virgin Records' first release and a chart-topping best-seller.

Virgin signed such controversial bands as the Sex Pistols
Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols were an English punk rock band that formed in London in 1975. They were responsible for initiating the punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many later punk and alternative rock musicians...

, which other companies were reluctant to sign. It also won praise for exposing the public to such obscure avant-garde music as Faust
Faust (band)
Faust are a German krautrock band. Formed in 1971 in Wümme, the group was originally composed of Werner "Zappi" Diermaier, Hans Joachim Irmler, Arnulf Meifert, Jean-Hervé Péron, Rudolf Sosna and Gunther Wüsthoff, working with record producer Uwe Nettelbeck and engineer Kurt Graupner.-History:Faust...

 and Can
Can (band)
Can was an experimental rock band formed in Cologne, West Germany in 1968. Later labeled as one of the first "krautrock" groups, they transcended mainstream influences and incorporated strong minimalist and world music elements into their often psychedelic music.Can constructed their music largely...

. Virgin Records also introduced Culture Club
Culture Club
Culture Club are a British rock band who were part of the 1980s New Romantic movement. The original band consisted of Boy George , Mikey Craig , Roy Hay and Jon Moss...

 to the music world. In the early 1980s, Virgin purchased the gay nightclub Heaven
Heaven (nightclub)
Heaven is a Superclub in London, England which appeals predominantly to the gay market. It is located underneath Charing Cross railway station in Central London, just off Trafalgar Square.-Early history:...

. In 1991, in a consortium with David Frost
David Frost
Sir David Frost is a British broadcaster.David Frost may also refer to:*David Frost , South African golfer*David Frost , classical record producer*David Frost *Dave Frost, baseball pitcher...

, Richard Branson had made the unsuccessful bid for three ITV
ITV
ITV is the major commercial public service TV network in the United Kingdom. Launched in 1955 under the auspices of the Independent Television Authority to provide competition to the BBC, it is also the oldest commercial network in the UK...

 franchisees under the CPV-TV
CPV-TV
CPV-TV was a company which had bid for three ITV franchises at the 1991 ITV franchise auction.It was a consortium led by Sir David Frost and Richard Branson with further backing from the Chrysalis Group media business and had bid for the East of England, London Weekday and the South and South East...

 name. The early 1980s also saw his only attempt as a producer—on the novelty record "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep", by Singing Sheep in association with Doug McLean and Grace McDonald. The recording was a series of sheep baaing along to a drum machine produced track and even made the charts at number 42 in 1982.

In 1992, to keep his airline company afloat, Branson sold the Virgin label to EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

 for £500 million. Branson says that he wept when the sale was completed since the record business had been the birth of the Virgin Empire. He later formed V2 Records
V2 Records
V2 Records is a record label that is owned by Universal Music Group as of October 2007. The label was founded in 1996 by Richard Branson, five years after he sold Virgin Records to EMI....

 to re-enter the music business.

Business ventures



Branson formed Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways
Virgin Atlantic Airways Limited is a British airline owned by Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Singapore Airlines...

 in 1984, launched Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many mobile phone service providers across the globe; its headquarters are based in the United Kingdom. Virgin Mobile has local operations in Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, Greece, United Kingdom and the United States. It briefly also had operations...

 in 1999, Virgin Blue in Australia (now named Virgin Australia) in 2000. He was 9th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, worth just over £3 billion. Branson wrote in his autobiography of the decision to start an airline:
Another quote from him: "For me business is not about wearing suits, or keeping stockholders pleased. It's about being true to yourself, your ideas and focusing on the essentials"

In 1993, Branson took what many saw as being one of his riskier business exploits by entering into the railway business. Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains
Virgin Trains is a train operating company in the United Kingdom. It operates long-distance passenger services on the West Coast Main Line between London, the West Midlands, North West England, North Wales and Scotland...

 won the franchises for the former Intercity
Inter-city rail
Inter-city rail services are express passenger train services that cover longer distances than commuter or regional trains.There is no precise definition of inter-city rail. Its meaning may vary from country to country...

 West Coast
West Coast Main Line
The West Coast Main Line is the busiest mixed-traffic railway route in Britain, being the country's most important rail backbone in terms of population served. Fast, long-distance inter-city passenger services are provided between London, the West Midlands, the North West, North Wales and the...

 and Cross-Country sectors of British Rail
British Rail
British Railways , which from 1965 traded as British Rail, was the operator of most of the rail transport in Great Britain between 1948 and 1997. It was formed from the nationalisation of the "Big Four" British railway companies and lasted until the gradual privatisation of British Rail, in stages...

.

Virgin acquired European short-haul airline Euro Belgian Airlines in 1996 and renamed it Virgin Express
Virgin Express
N.V. Virgin Express S.A. was an airline created within the Virgin Group. It operated flights mainly to southern Europe from its hub at Brussels Airport. Ticket sales were mainly through the Internet...

. In 2006, the airline was merged with SN Brussels Airlines
SN Brussels Airlines
SN Brussels Airlines was a national airline of Belgium, which mainly operated from Brussels Airport. SNBA was the trading name of the Belgian airline Delta Air Transport. SNBA was a full-service airline, connecting Brussels with the rest of Europe. It also flew to Africa, continuing Sabena's...

 forming Brussels Airlines
Brussels Airlines
Brussels Airlines is a flag carrier airline headquartered in the b.house on the grounds of Brussels Airport and in Diegem, Machelen, Belgium and a subsidiary of Lufthansa. It is the largest airline based in Belgium, operating to over 65 destinations in 20 European countries as well as long-haul...

. It also started a national airline based in Nigeria, called Virgin Nigeria. Another airline, Virgin America
Virgin America
Virgin America, Inc. is a United States-based low-cost airline that began service on August 8, 2007. The airline's stated aim is to provide low-fare, high-quality service for "long-haul point-to-point service between major metropolitan cities on the Eastern and West Coast seaboards." San Francisco...

, began flying out of San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

 in August 2007. Branson has also developed a Virgin Cola
Virgin Cola
Virgin Cola is a carbonated cola soft drink produced by Silver Spring and part of the Virgin Group. It was launched in 1994.- History :Virgin Cola was set up during the early 1990s in conjunction with Cott, a Canadian company that specialises in bottling own-label drinks...

 brand and even a Virgin Vodka
Virgin Vodka
Virgin Vodka is an alcoholic beverage produced by Virgin Drinks, a subsidiary of the Virgin Group owned by Richard Branson. It was launched in 1994.- History :...

 brand, which has not been a very successful enterprise. As a consequence of these lacklustre performers, the satirical British fortnightly magazine Private Eye has been critical of Branson and his companies (see Private Eye image caption).

After the so-called campaign of "dirty tricks", British Airways settled the case, giving £500,000 to Branson and a further £110,000 to his airline and had to pay legal fees of up to £3 million. Branson divided his compensation (the so-called "BA bonus") among his staff.
On 25 September 2004, Branson announced the signing of a deal under which a new space tourism
Space tourism
Space Tourism is space travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. A number of startup companies have sprung up in recent years, hoping to create a space tourism industry...

 company, Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites...

, will license the technology behind Spaceship One—funded by Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 co-Founder Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

 and designed by legendary American aeronautical engineer and visionary Burt Rutan
Burt Rutan
Elbert Leander "Burt" Rutan is an American aerospace engineer noted for his originality in designing light, strong, unusual-looking, energy-efficient aircraft...

—to take paying passengers into suborbital space
Space
Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum...

. Virgin Galactic (wholly owned by Virgin Group) plans to make flights available to the public with tickets priced at US$200,000 using Scaled Composites White Knight Two
Scaled Composites White Knight Two
The Scaled Composites Model 348 White Knight Two is a jet-powered cargo aircraft which will be used to launch the SpaceShipTwo spacecraft. It is being developed by Scaled Composites as the first stage of Tier 1b, a two-stage to suborbital-space manned launch system...

.

Branson's next venture with the Virgin group is Virgin Fuels, which is set to respond to global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and exploit the recent spike in fuel costs by offering a revolutionary, cheaper fuel for automobiles and, in the near future, aircraft. Branson has stated that he was formerly a global warming sceptic and was influenced in his decision by a breakfast meeting with Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

.

Branson has been tagged as a "transformational leader" in the management lexicon, with his maverick strategies and his stress on the Virgin Group as an organisation driven on informality and information, one that is bottom-heavy rather than strangled by top-level management.

On 21 September 2006, Branson pledged to invest the profits of Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Trains in research for environmentally friendly fuels. The investment is estimated to be worth $3 billion.

On 4 July 2006, Branson sold his Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many mobile phone service providers across the globe; its headquarters are based in the United Kingdom. Virgin Mobile has local operations in Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, Greece, United Kingdom and the United States. It briefly also had operations...

 company to UK cable TV, broadband, and telephone company NTL/NTL:Telewest for almost £1 billion.
As part of the sale, the company pays a minimum of £8.5 million per year to use the Virgin name and Branson became the company's largest shareholder. The new company was launched with much fanfare and publicity on 8 February 2007, under the name Virgin Media
Virgin Media
Virgin Media Inc. is a company which provides fixed and mobile telephone, television and broadband internet services to businesses and consumers in the United Kingdom...

. The decision to merge his Virgin Media Company with NTL was in order to integrate both of the companies' compatible parts of commerce. Branson used to own three quarters of Virgin Mobile, whereas now he owns 15 percent of the new Virgin Media company.

In 2006, Branson formed Virgin Comics and Virgin Animation, an entertainment company focussed on creating new stories and characters for a global audience. The company was founded with author Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra is an Indian medical doctor, public speaker, and writer on subjects such as spirituality, Ayurveda and mind-body medicine. Chopra began his career as an endocrinologist and later shifted his focus to alternative medicine. Chopra now runs his own medical center, with a focus on...

, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur
Shekhar Kapur
Shekhar Kapur is an Indian film director and producer. A critically acclaimed director, he rose to popularity with the movie Bandit Queen...

, and entrepreneurs Sharad Devarajan
Sharad Devarajan
Sharad Devarajan is the co-founder, Chief Executive Officer and Publisher of Virgin Comics LLC and Virgin Animation Pvt. Ltd, a set of companies he co-founded with Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, acclaimed author Deepak Chopra, filmmaker Shekhar Kapur and entrepreneurs Gautam Chopra and...

 and Gotham Chopra
Gotham Chopra
Gotham Chopra is an American author and entertainment/media entrepreneur. -Early life:Chopra was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Deepak Chopra. He attended Belmont Hill School...

.

Branson also launched the Virgin Health Bank
Virgin Health Bank
Virgin Health Bank is a transplant quality cord blood stem cell bank that uniquely combines high quality services with educational initiatives for families and the medical community....

 on 1 February 2007, offering parents-to-be the opportunity to store their baby's umbilical cord
Umbilical cord
In placental mammals, the umbilical cord is the connecting cord from the developing embryo or fetus to the placenta...

 blood stem cells in private and public stem cell banks.

In June 2006, a tip-off from Virgin Atlantic led US and UK competition authorities to investigate price-fixing attempts between Virgin Atlantic and British Airways. In August 2007, British Airways was fined £271 million over the allegations. Virgin Atlantic was given immunity for tipping off the authorities and received no fine—a controversial decision the Office of Fair Trading defended as being in the public interest.

On 9 February 2007, Branson announced the setting up of a new Global science and technology prize—The Virgin Earth Challenge
Virgin Earth Challenge
The Virgin Earth Challenge is a competition offering a $25 million prize for whoever can demonstrate a commercially viable design which results in the permanent removal of greenhouse gases out of the Earth's atmosphere, so as to contribute materially to avoid global warming...

—in the belief that history has shown that prizes of this nature encourage technological advancements for the good of mankind. The Virgin Earth Challenge will award $25 million to the individual or group who are able to demonstrate a commercially viable design which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least ten years without countervailing harmful effects. This removal must have long-term effects and contribute materially to the stability of the Earth's climate.

Branson also announced that he would be joined in the adjudication of the Prize by a panel of five judges, all world authorities in their respective fields: Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

, Sir Crispin Tickell, Tim Flannery
Tim Flannery
Timothy Fridtjof Flannery is an Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist....

, James E. Hansen, and James Lovelock
James Lovelock
James Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS is an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurologist who lives in Devon, England. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling...

. The panel of judges will be assisted in their deliberations by The Climate Group and Special Advisor to The Virgin Earth Prize Judges, Steve Howard.

Richard Branson got involved with football when he sponsored Nuneaton Borough
Nuneaton Borough A.F.C.
Nuneaton Town Football Club is an English football club from the town of Nuneaton, Warwickshire. The team compete in the Conference North. This is the 2nd level of Non League Football. In the 2007–08 season they competed in the Conference North division, but due to a liquidation they were demoted...

 for their January 2006 FA Cup 3rd round game against Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough F.C.
Middlesbrough Football Club , also known as Boro, are an English football club based in Middlesbrough, who play in the Football League Championship. Formed in 1876, they have played at the Riverside Stadium since August 1995, their third ground since turning professional in 1889...

. The game ended 1–1, and the Virgin brand was also on Nuneaton Borough's shirts for the replay which they eventually lost 2–5.

In August 2007, Branson announced that he bought a 20 percent stake in Malaysia's AirAsia X
AirAsia X
AirAsia X is a long-haul, budget airline based in Malaysia. The airline is operated by AirAsia X Sdn. Bhd. . It commenced operations on 2 November 2007. Its first service flew from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, to Gold Coast Airport in Australia...

.


On 13 October 2007, Branson's Virgin Group
Virgin Group
Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

 sought to add Northern Rock
Northern Rock
Northern Rock plc is a British bank, best known for becoming the first bank in 150 years to suffer a bank run after having had to approach the Bank of England for a loan facility, to replace money market funding, during the credit crisis in 2007.  Having failed to find a commercial buyer for...

 to its empire after submitting an offer that would result in Branson personally owning 30% of the company, changing the company's name from Northern Rock to Virgin Money
Virgin Money
Virgin Money is a UK-based financial services company owned by the Virgin Group and founded by Sir Richard Branson in March 1995. It was originally known as Virgin Direct, and pioneered index tracking by launching a value Personal Equity Plan into the market. In the 2000s Virgin Money expanded its...

.
The Daily Mail ran a campaign against his bid and Liberal Democrats' financial spokesperson Vince Cable suggested in the House of Commons that Branson's criminal conviction for tax evasion might be felt by some as a good enough reason not to trust him with public money
.

On 10 January 2008, Branson's Virgin Healthcare announced that it would open a chain of health care clinics that would offer conventional medical care alongside homoeopathic and complementary therapies. The Financial Times
Financial Times
The Financial Times is an international business newspaper. It is a morning daily newspaper published in London and printed in 24 cities around the world. Its primary rival is the Wall Street Journal, published in New York City....

reported that Ben Bradshaw
Ben Bradshaw
Benjamin Peter James Bradshaw is a British Labour politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Exeter since 1997, and served in the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport....

, UK's health minister, welcomed the launch. "I am pleased that Virgin Healthcare is proposing to work with GPs to help develop more integrated services for patients."

Plans where GPs could be paid for referring National Health Service (NHS) patients to private Virgin services were abandoned in June 2008. The BMA warned the plan would "damage clinical objectivity", there would be a financial incentive for GPs to push patients towards the Virgin services at the centre. Plans to take over an NHS Practice in Swindon were subsequently abandoned in late September 2008.

In February 2009, Branson's Virgin organisation were reported as bidding to buy the former Honda Formula One team. Branson later stated an interest in Formula One but claimed that, before the Virgin brand became involved with Honda or any other team, Formula One would have to develop a more economically efficient and environmentally responsible image. At the start of the 2009 formula one season on 28 March, it was announced that Virgin would be sponsoring the new Brawn GP
Brawn GP
Brawn GP Formula One Team, the trading name of Brawn GP Limited, was a Formula One motor racing team and constructor, created by a management buyout of Honda Racing F1 Team. It only competed in the 2009 Formula One World Championship, with drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello. The team...

 team., with discussions also under way about introducing a less "dirty" fuel in the medium term. After the end of the season and the subsequent purchase of Brawn GP by Mercedes, Branson invested in an 80% buyout of Manor Grand Prix with the team being renamed to Virgin Racing
Virgin Racing
Marussia Virgin Racing, the trading name of Virgin Racing Limited, is a Russian owned Formula One racing team based in the United Kingdom and racing on a Russian licence, which made its debut in the 2010 Formula One season. It was granted entry as Manor Grand Prix on 12 June 2009, as one of four...

.

Branson and Tony Fernandes
Tony Fernandes
Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes CBE is a Malaysian entrepreneur and the founder of Tune Air Sdn. Bhd., who introduced the first budget no-frills airline, AirAsia, to Malaysians with the tagline "Now everyone can fly"...

, owner of Air Asia and Lotus F1 Racing, had a bet for the 2010 F1 season where the team's boss should work on the winner's airline for a day dressed as a stewardess. Fernandes escaped as the winner of the bet, as Lotus Racing ended 10th in the championship, while Virgin Racing ended 12th and last.

Branson and Somerset County
Somerset County
- Australia :* the former name of Somerset Land District, Tasmania* Somerset County, Queensland- United States of America :* Somerset County, Maine* Somerset County, Maryland* Somerset County, New Jersey* Somerset County, Pennsylvania...

's Natirar Resort development in New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

, on the Natirar
Natirar
Natirar 491 acres is an estate spanning Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster, New Jersey. Its name is a reverse spelling of Raritan. In 2003 it was sold by the estate of His Majesty, Hassan II, late King of Morocco, to Somerset County, New Jersey, and is now administered by the Somerset...

 Estate, opened in late 2009 with the Ninety Acres Culinary Center. It includes a restaurant run by chef David Felton, cooking school, wine school, working farm, luxury resort and spa. The development, spearheaded by Branson and Bob Wojtowicz, sits on 500 acres which was the former estate of the King of Morocco.

In 2010 Richard Branson became patron of the UK's Gordon Bennett
Gordon Bennett Cup in ballooning
The Gordon Bennett Cup is the world's oldest gas balloon race, and is "regarded as the premier event of world balloon racing" according to the Los Angeles Times. Referred to as the "Blue Ribbon" of aeronautics, the first race started from Paris, France, on September 30, 1906...

 2010 gas balloon race, which has 16 hydrogen balloons flying across Europe.

In April 2010 Branson described the closure of large parts of European airspace owing to volcanic ash as "beyond a joke". Scientists later concluded that serious structural damage to aircraft could have occurred if passenger planes had continued to fly.

World record attempts



Richard Branson made several world record-breaking attempts after 1985, when in the spirit of the Blue Riband
Blue Riband
The Blue Riband is an unofficial accolade given to the passenger liner crossing the Atlantic Ocean in regular service with the record highest speed. The term was borrowed from horse racing and was not widely used until after 1910. Under the unwritten rules, the record is based on average speed...

 he attempted the fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing. His first attempt in the "Virgin Atlantic Challenger" led to the boat capsizing in British waters and a rescue by RAF helicopter, which received wide media coverage. Some newspapers called for Branson to reimburse the government for the rescue cost. In 1986, in his "Virgin Atlantic Challenger II", with sailing expert Daniel McCarthy, he beat the record by two hours. A year later his hot air balloon "Virgin Atlantic Flyer" crossed the Atlantic. With its 2300000 cubic feet (65,128.7 m³), this was the largest hot-air balloon, and the first to cross the Atlantic.

In January 1991, Branson crossed the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada, 6700 miles (10,782.6 km), in a balloon of 2600000 cubic feet (73,623.8 m³). This broke the record, with a speed of 245 miles per hour (394.3 km/h).

Between 1995 and 1998 Branson, Per Lindstrand
Per Lindstrand
Per Lindstrand is a Swedish aeronautical engineer, pilot, adventurer and entrepreneur. He is particularly known for his series of record-breaking trans-oceanic hot air balloon flights and, later, attempts to be the first to fly a Rozière balloon around the Earth - all with British entrepreneur,...

 and Steve Fossett
Steve Fossett
James Stephen Fossett was an American commodities trader, businessman, and adventurer. Fossett is the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon...

 made attempts to circumnavigate the globe by balloon. In late 1998 they made a record-breaking flight from Morocco to Hawaii but were unable to complete a global flight before Bertrand Piccard
Bertrand Piccard
Bertrand Piccard is a Swiss psychiatrist and balloonist.Born in Lausanne, Vaud canton, Bertrand Piccard, along with Brian Jones, was the first to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the globe...

 and Brian Jones
Brian Jones (aeronaut)
Brian Jones is an English balloonist.Brian Jones, along with Bertrand Piccard, co-piloted the first successful uninterrupted circumnavigation of the world on board the balloon Breitling Orbiter 3...

 in Breitling Orbiter 3 in March 1999.

In March 2004, Branson set a record by travelling from Dover
Dover
Dover is a town and major ferry port in the home county of Kent, in South East England. It faces France across the narrowest part of the English Channel, and lies south-east of Canterbury; east of Kent's administrative capital Maidstone; and north-east along the coastline from Dungeness and Hastings...

 to Calais
Calais
Calais is a town in Northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's capital is its third-largest city of Arras....

 in a Gibbs Aquada
Gibbs Aquada
The Gibbs Aquada is a high speed amphibious vehicle developed by Gibbs Technologies, an Alan Gibbs company. It is capable of speeds over 160 km/h on land and 50 km/h on water...

 in 1 hour, 40 minutes and 6 seconds, the fastest crossing of the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

 in an amphibious vehicle
Amphibious vehicle
An amphibious vehicle , is a vehicle or craft, that is a means of transport, viable on land as well as on water – just like an amphibian....

. The previous record of six hours was set by two Frenchmen.
The cast of Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Clarkson
Jeremy Charles Robert Clarkson is an English broadcaster, journalist and writer who specialises in motoring. He is best known for his role on the BBC TV show Top Gear along with co-presenters Richard Hammond and James May...

, James May
James May
James Daniel May is an English television presenter, journalist and writer. He is best known for his role as co-presenter of the award-winning motoring programme Top Gear alongside Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond....

 and Richard Hammond
Richard Hammond
Richard Mark Hammond is an English broadcaster, writer, and journalist most noted for co-hosting car programme Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson and James May, as well as presenting Brainiac: Science Abuse on Sky 1.-Early life:...

, attempted to break this record in an amphibious vehicle which they had constructed and, while successfully crossing the channel, did not break Branson's record.

In September 2008 Branson and his children made an unsuccessful attempt at an Eastbound record crossing of the Atlantic ocean under sail in the 99 feet (30.2 m) sloop
Sloop
A sloop is a sail boat with a fore-and-aft rig and a single mast farther forward than the mast of a cutter....

 Virgin Money. The boat, also known as Speedboat, is owned by NYYC member Alex Jackson, who was a co-skipper on this passage, with Branson and Mike Sanderson. After 2 days, 4 hours, winds of force
Beaufort scale
The Beaufort Scale is an empirical measure that relates wind speed to observed conditions at sea or on land. Its full name is the Beaufort Wind Force Scale.-History:...

 7 to 9 (strong gale), and seas of 40 feet (12.2 m), a 'monster wave' destroyed the spinnaker
Spinnaker
A spinnaker is a special type of sail that is designed specifically for sailing off the wind from a reaching course to a downwind, i.e. with the wind 90°–180° off the bow. The spinnaker fills with wind and balloons out in front of the boat when it is deployed, called flying. It is constructed of...

, washed a ten-man life raft overboard and severely ripped the mainsail. She eventually continued to St. George's, Bermuda
St. George's, Bermuda
St. George's , located on the island and within the parish of the same names, was the first permanent settlement on the islands of Bermuda, and is often described as the third successful English settlement in the Americas, after St. John's, Newfoundland, and Jamestown, Virginia. However, St...

.
In March 2010 Richard tried for the world record of putting a round of golf in the dark at the Black Light Mini Golf in The Docklands, Melbourne, Australia. He succeeded in getting 41 on the par 45 course.

Television, film, and print



Branson has guest starred, usually playing himself, on several television shows, including Friends
Friends
Friends is an American sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from September 22, 1994 to May 6, 2004. The series revolves around a group of friends in Manhattan. The series was produced by Bright/Kauffman/Crane Productions, in association with Warner Bros. Television...

, Baywatch
Baywatch
Baywatch is an American action drama series about the Los Angeles County Lifeguards who patrol the beaches of Los Angeles County, California, starring David Hasselhoff. The show ran in its original title and format from 1989 to 1999, sans the 1990-1991 season, of which it was not in production...

, Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather was a British sitcom that was broadcast on BBC1 from 1989 until 1998. Starring Pauline Quirke, Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph, it was created by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, who also wrote some of the episodes along with many other writers.The first episode sees sisters...

, Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses
Only Fools and Horses is a British sitcom, created and written by John Sullivan. Seven series were originally broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 1991, with sporadic Christmas specials until 2003...

, The Day Today
The Day Today
The Day Today is a surreal British parody of television current affairs programmes, broadcast in 1994, and created by the comedians Armando Iannucci and Chris Morris. It is an adaptation of the radio programme On the Hour, which was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 between 1991 and 1992...

, a special episode of the comedy Goodness Gracious Me and Tripping Over
Tripping Over
Tripping Over is a British/Australian six-part drama series. Its first episode aired on Network Ten in Australia on 25 October 2006, and in the United Kingdom on Five on 30 October 2006. In the UK Tripping Over is repeated on Five Life....

. Branson made several appearances during the nineties on the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 Saturday morning show Live & Kicking
Live & Kicking
Live & Kicking was a BBC Saturday morning children's magazine programme, running from 1993 to 2001. The fourth in a succession of Saturday morning shows, it was the replacement for Going Live!, and took many of its features from it, such as phone-ins, games, comedy, competitions and the showing of...

, where he was referred to as 'the pickle man' by comedy act Trev and Simon (in reference to Branston Pickle
Branston Pickle
Branston is a British food brand. It is best known for the original Branston Pickle, a jarred pickled relish first made in 1922 in the Branston suburb of Burton upon Trent by Crosse & Blackwell....

). Branson also appears in a cameo early in XTC
XTC
XTC were a New Wave band from Swindon, England, active between 1976 and 2005. The band enjoyed some chart success, including the UK and Canadian hits "Making Plans for Nigel" and "Senses Working Overtime" , but are perhaps even better known for their long-standing critical success.- Early years:...

's "Generals and Majors" video.

He was also the star of a reality television show on Fox
Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox Broadcasting Company, commonly referred to as Fox Network or simply Fox , is an American commercial broadcasting television network owned by Fox Entertainment Group, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Launched on October 9, 1986, Fox was the highest-rated broadcast network in the...

 called The Rebel Billionaire: Branson's Quest for the Best (2004), in which sixteen contestants were tested for their entrepreneurship and sense of adventure. It did not succeed as a rival show to Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Donald John Trump, Sr. is an American business magnate, television personality and author. He is the chairman and president of The Trump Organization and the founder of Trump Entertainment Resorts. Trump's extravagant lifestyle, outspoken manner and role on the NBC reality show The Apprentice have...

's The Apprentice
The Apprentice (U.S. TV series)
The Apprentice is an American reality television show hosted by real estate magnate, businessman and television personality Donald Trump, created by Mark Burnett and broadcast on NBC...

and only lasted one season.

His high public profile often leaves him open as a figure of satire
Satire
Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement...

—the 2000 AD
2000 AD (comic)
2000 AD is a weekly British science fiction-oriented comic. As a comics anthology it serialises a number of separate stories each issue and was first published by IPC Magazines in 1977, the first issue dated 26 February. IPC then shifted the title to its Fleetway comics subsidiary which was sold...

 series Zenith features a parody of Branson as a super villain, as the comic's publisher and favoured distributor and the Virgin group were in competition at the time. He is also caricatured in The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love
Monty Can't Buy Me Love
"Monty Can't Buy Me Love" is the twenty-first episode of The Simpsons tenth season. It first aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 2, 1999. In the episode, Mr Burns is jealous of megastore owner Arthur Fortune, who is beloved by the people of Springfield...

" as the tycoon Arthur Fortune, and as the ballooning megalomaniac
Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity...

 Richard Chutney (a pun on Branson, as in Branston Pickle
Branston Pickle
Branston is a British food brand. It is best known for the original Branston Pickle, a jarred pickled relish first made in 1922 in the Branston suburb of Burton upon Trent by Crosse & Blackwell....

) in Believe Nothing
Believe Nothing
Believe Nothing is a British sitcom starring Rik Mayall as Quadruple Professor Adonis Cnut, the cleverest man in England and Oxford's leading moral philosopher. Starring alongside Mayall is Michael Maloney as Brian Albumen, Cnut's faithful servant, and Emily Bruni as Dr...

. The character Grandson Richard 39 in Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett
Sir Terence David John "Terry" Pratchett, OBE is an English novelist, known for his frequently comical work in the fantasy genre. He is best known for his popular and long-running Discworld series of comic fantasy novels...

's Wings is modelled on Branson.

He has a cameo appearance
Cameo appearance
A cameo role or cameo appearance is a brief appearance of a known person in a work of the performing arts, such as plays, films, video games and television...

 in several films: Around the World in 80 Days (2004)
Around the World in 80 Days (2004 film)
Around the World in 80 Days is a 2004 American comedy adventure film based on Jules Verne's novel of the same name. It stars Jackie Chan, Steve Coogan and Cécile de France. The film is set in 19th-century Britain and centers on Phileas Fogg , here reimagined as an eccentric inventor, and his...

, where he played a hot-air balloon operator; Superman Returns
Superman Returns
Superman Returns is a 2006 superhero film directed by Bryan Singer. It is the fifth and final installment in the original Superman film series and serves as a alternate sequel to Superman and Superman II by ignoring the events of Superman III and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace .The film stars...

, where he was credited as a 'Shuttle Engineer' and appeared alongside his son, Sam, with a Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to the paying public, along with suborbital space science missions and orbital launches of small satellites...

-style commercial suborbital shuttle at the centre of his storyline. He also has a cameo in the James Bond
James Bond
James Bond, code name 007, is a fictional character created in 1953 by writer Ian Fleming, who featured him in twelve novels and two short story collections. There have been a six other authors who wrote authorised Bond novels or novelizations after Fleming's death in 1964: Kingsley Amis,...

 film Casino Royale
Casino Royale (2006 film)
Casino Royale is the twenty-first film in the James Bond film series and the first to star Daniel Craig as fictional MI6 agent James Bond...

. Here, he is seen as a passenger going through Miami Airport security check-in and being frisked – several Virgin Atlantic planes appear soon after. British Airways edited out Branson's cameo in their in-flight screening of the movie.

He makes a number of brief and disjointed appearances in the cult classic documentary Derek and Clive Get the Horn
Derek and Clive Get the Horn
Derek and Clive Get The Horn is a 1979 documentary that chronicles the recording of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's 1978 comedy album Derek and Clive Ad Nauseam, their third and final outing featuring their controversial alter-egos Derek and Clive, two foul-mouthed lavatory attendants who banter at...

which follows the exploits of Peter Cook
Peter Cook
Peter Edward Cook was an English satirist, writer and comedian. An extremely influential figure in modern British comedy, he is regarded as the leading light of the British satire boom of the 1960s. He has been described by Stephen Fry as "the funniest man who ever drew breath," although Cook's...

 and Dudley Moore
Dudley Moore
Dudley Stuart John Moore, CBE was an English actor, comedian, composer and musician.Moore first came to prominence as one of the four writer-performers in the ground-breaking comedy revue Beyond the Fringe in the early 1960s, and then became famous as half of the highly popular television...

 recording their last comedy album. Branson and his mother were also featured in the documentary film, Lemonade Stories. In early 2006 on Rove Live, Rove McManus
Rove McManus
John Henry Michael "Rove" McManus is an Australian comedian, television presenter, producer and media personality. He was the host of the self-titled variety show Rove, and is the owner of the production company Roving Enterprises...

 and Sir Richard pushed each other into a swimming pool fully clothed live on TV during a "Live at your house" episode.

Branson is a Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

fan and named his new spaceship VSS Enterprise
VSS Enterprise
The VSS Enterprise is the first of five commercial suborbital spacecraft being constructed for Virgin Galactic by Scaled Composites....

 in honour of the famous Star Trek
Star Trek
Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment franchise created by Gene Roddenberry. The core of Star Trek is its six television series: The Original Series, The Animated Series, The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise...

ships, and in 2006, reportedly offered actor William Shatner
William Shatner
William Alan Shatner is a Canadian actor, musician, recording artist, and author. He gained worldwide fame and became a cultural icon for his portrayal of James T...

 a ride on the inaugural space launch of Virgin Galactic. In an interview in Time magazine, 10 August 2009, Shatner claimed that Branson approached him asking how much he would pay for a ride on the spaceship. In response, Shatner asked "how much would you pay me to do it?"

In August 2007, Branson announced on The Colbert Report that he had named a new aircraft Air Colbert. He later doused political satirist and talk show host Stephen Colbert
Stephen Colbert
Stephen Tyrone Colbert is an American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor. He is the host of Comedy Central's The Colbert Report, a satirical news show in which Colbert portrays a caricatured version of conservative political pundits.Colbert originally studied to be an...

 with water from his mug. Branson subsequently took a retaliatory splash from Colbert. The interview quickly ended, with both laughing as shown on the episode aired on Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

 on 22 August 2007. The interview was promoted on The Report as the Colbert-Branson Interview Trainwreck. Branson then made a cameo appearance on The Soup
The Soup
The Soup is an E! Entertainment Television weekly series; it is a revamped version of Talk Soup that focuses on recaps of various pop culture and television show moments of the week...

 playing an intern working under Joel McHale
Joel McHale
Joel Edward McHale is an American stand-up comedian, actor, writer, television producer, television personality, and voice artist. He is best known for hosting The Soup and for his role as Jeff Winger on Community....

 who had been warned against getting into water fights with Stephen Colbert, and being subsequently fired.

In March 2008 he launched Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile is a brand used by many mobile phone service providers across the globe; its headquarters are based in the United Kingdom. Virgin Mobile has local operations in Australia, Canada, France, India, South Africa, Greece, United Kingdom and the United States. It briefly also had operations...

 in India and during that period, he even played a cameo performance in Bollywood
Bollywood
Bollywood is the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai , Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema; it is only a part of the total Indian film industry, which includes other production centers producing...

 film, London Dreams.

In July 2010, Branson narrated Australian sailor Jessica Watson
Jessica Watson
Jessica Watson is an Australian sailor. She resides in Buderim, Queensland. In May 2010, she unofficially became the youngest person to sail non-stop and unassisted around the world, although her route did not meet World Sailing Speed Record Council criteria for circumnavigation of the...

's documentary about her solo sailing trip around the world. It premiered on ONEHD on 16 August 2010.

In April 2011 Branson appeared on CNN
CNN
Cable News Network is a U.S. cable news channel founded in 1980 by Ted Turner. Upon its launch, CNN was the first channel to provide 24-hour television news coverage, and the first all-news television channel in the United States...

's Mainsail with Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet
Kate Elizabeth Winslet is an English actress and occasional singer. She has received multiple awards and nominations. She was the youngest person to accrue six Academy Award nominations, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Reader...

. Together they reenacted a famous scene from the 1997 film Titanic
Titanic (1997 film)
Titanic is a 1997 American epic romance and disaster film directed, written, co-produced, and co-edited by James Cameron. A fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, it stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson, Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Billy Zane as Rose's fiancé, Cal...

 for the cameras. On August 17, 2011, he was featured in the premier episode of Hulu
Hulu
Hulu is a website and over-the-top subscription service offering ad-supported on-demand streaming video of TV shows, movies, webisodes and other new media, trailers, clips, and behind-the-scenes footage from NBC, Fox, ABC, and Obstacle on October 20th 2011 Nickelodeon and CBS and many other...

's first long-form original production entitled, A Day in the Life.

Humanitarian initiatives


In the late 1990s, Branson and musician Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel
Peter Brian Gabriel is an English singer, musician, and songwriter who rose to fame as the lead vocalist and flautist of the progressive rock group Genesis. After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career...

 discussed with Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999, and was the first South African president to be elected in a fully representative democratic election. Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist, and the leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing...

 their idea of a small, dedicated group of leaders, working objectively and without any vested personal interest to solve difficult global conflicts.

On 18 July 2007, in Johannesburg
Johannesburg
Johannesburg also known as Jozi, Jo'burg or Egoli, is the largest city in South Africa, by population. Johannesburg is the provincial capital of Gauteng, the wealthiest province in South Africa, having the largest economy of any metropolitan region in Sub-Saharan Africa...

, South Africa, Nelson Mandela announced the formation of a new group, The Elders
Global Elders
The Elders is an international non-government organisation of public figures noted as elder statesmen, peace activists, and human rights advocates, brought together by Nelson Mandela in 2007...

, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday. The founding members of this group are Desmond Tutu
Desmond Tutu
Desmond Mpilo Tutu is a South African activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid...

, Graça Machel
Graça Machel
Graça Machel, DBE is a Mozambican politician and humanitarian. She is the third wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela and the widow of Mozambican president Samora Machel...

, Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan
Kofi Atta Annan is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the UN from 1 January 1997 to 31 December 2006...

, Ela Bhatt
Ela Bhatt
Ela Ramesh Bhatt is the founder of the Self-Employed Women's Association of India . A lawyer by training, Bhatt is a respected leader of the international labour, cooperative, women, and micro-finance movements who has won several national and international awards.-Early life:Ela Bhatt was born in...

, Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland
Gro Harlem Brundtland is a Norwegian Social democratic politician, diplomat, and physician, and an international leader in sustainable development and public health. She served three terms as Prime Minister of Norway , and has served as the Director General of the World Health Organization...

, Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

, Li Zhaoxing
Li Zhaoxing
Li Zhaoxing is a former foreign minister of the People's Republic of China. He held that office from 2003 to 2007.He graduated from Peking University in 1964...

, Mary Robinson
Mary Robinson
Mary Therese Winifred Robinson served as the seventh, and first female, President of Ireland from 1990 to 1997, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, from 1997 to 2002. She first rose to prominence as an academic, barrister, campaigner and member of the Irish Senate...

, and Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus
Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist and founder of the Grameen Bank, an institution that provides microcredit to help its clients establish creditworthiness and financial self-sufficiency. In 2006 Yunus and Grameen received the Nobel Peace Prize...

. The Elders is independently funded by a group of "Founders", including Branson and Gabriel.

Desmond Tutu serves as the chair of The Elders—who will use their collective skills to catalyse peaceful resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulate new approaches to global issues that are causing or may cause immense human suffering, and share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world. They will work together over the next several months to carefully consider which specific issues they will approach.

Branson's other work in South Africa includes the Branson School of Entrepreneurship, set up in 2005 as a partnership between Virgin Unite
Virgin Unite
Virgin Unite is the working name of The Virgin Foundation, the independent charitable arm of the Virgin Group. Created by Richard Branson and Virgin employees in September 2004, Virgin Unite pools volunteering efforts from across the Virgin Group and its hundreds of subsidiaries and associated...

, the non-profit foundation of Virgin, and entrepreneur Taddy Bletcher, the founder of CIDA City Campus, a university in Johannesburg. The school aims to improve economic growth in South Africa by supporting start-ups and micro-enterprises with skills, mentors, services, networks and finance arrangements. Fundraising activity to support the school is notably achieved by the Sunday Times Fast Track 100
Sunday Times Fast Track 100
A list published annually in December in partnership with The Sunday Times newspaper in the UK.The list ranks Britain's fastest growing privately held companies by sales growth over the last 3 years....

, sponsored by Virgin Group
Virgin Group
Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

, at its yearly event, where places to join Richard Branson on trips to South Africa to provide coaching and mentoring to students are auctioned to attendees. In 2009, Jason Luckhurst and Boyd Kershaw of Practicus
Practicus
Practicus is an international change management business focused on supporting Private, Public and Third sector organisations achieve sustainable and effective outcomes from business change. Founded in March 2004 by Jason Luckhurst, Paul Wandless and Boyd Kershaw, the company offers a range of...

, Martin Ainscough of the Ainscough Group and Matthew Riley
Matthew Riley
Matthew Riley is a British entrepreneur and the founder and chief executive officer of , the AIM listed organisation that provides unified communications to businesses in the UK....

 of Daisy Communications helped raise £150,000 through the auction.

In September 2007, Richard Branson chaired the jury of the first Picnic Green Challenge
Picnic Green Challenge
The Postcode Lottery Green Challenge is an international competition where people are invited to send in creative and innovative ideas to help the environment. These ideas can be about new products, services, concepts, work processes or in fact any other idea that 'helps save the planet'. The ideas...

, a €500,000 award for best new green initiative, set up by the Dutch "Postcode Loterij" (postcode lottery) and the PICNIC Network of creative professionals. The first Green Challenge was won by Qurrent with the Qbox.

Branson was the first celebrity guest for the popular charity fund raisers, Reserve Dinners, raising over $75,000 in one evening towards his Virgin Unite charity.

In March 2008, Richard Branson hosted an environmental gathering at his private island, Necker Island
Necker Island (British Virgin Islands)
Necker Island is a small island in the British Virgin Islands just north of Virgin Gorda, located at . All of the land on the island is owned by Sir Richard Branson, famous for his Virgin brand, and it is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury properties...

, in the Caribbean with several prominent entrepreneurs, celebrities, and world leaders. They discussed global warming-related problems facing the world, hoping that this meeting will be a precursor to many more future discussions regarding similar problems. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Anthony Charles Lynton Blair is a former British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2 May 1997 to 27 June 2007. He was the Member of Parliament for Sedgefield from 1983 to 2007 and Leader of the Labour Party from 1994 to 2007...

, Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Wales
Jimmy Donal "Jimbo" Wales is an American Internet entrepreneur best known as a co-founder and promoter of the online non-profit encyclopedia Wikipedia and the Wikia company....

, and Larry Page
Larry Page
Lawrence "Larry" Page is an American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who, with Sergey Brin, is best known as the co-founder of Google. As of April 4, 2011, he is also the chief executive of Google, as announced on January 20, 2011...

 of Google
Google
Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program...

 were in attendance.

Branson has been very supportive of Kenya during its troubles, and in May 2008 had gone to Masai Mara to open a new school (Sekenani Primary School) which has also been partly funded by Virgin Atlantic frequent flyers who volunteered their time to help with the construction. A documentary of the experience was directed by Carolyn Scott-Hamilton and filmed by David Collupy.

On 8 May 2009, Branson took over Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow
Mia Farrow is an American actress, singer, humanitarian, and fashion model.Farrow first gained wide acclaim for her role as Allison Mackenzie in the soap opera Peyton Place, and for her subsequent short-lived marriage to Frank Sinatra...

's hunger strike
Hunger strike
A hunger strike is a method of non-violent resistance or pressure in which participants fast as an act of political protest, or to provoke feelings of guilt in others, usually with the objective to achieve a specific goal, such as a policy change. Most hunger strikers will take liquids but not...

 in protest of the Sudanese government expulsion of aid groups from the Darfur
Darfur
Darfur is a region in western Sudan. An independent sultanate for several hundred years, it was incorporated into Sudan by Anglo-Egyptian forces in 1916. The region is divided into three federal states: West Darfur, South Darfur, and North Darfur...

 region. He concluded his scheduled 3-day fast on 11 May. Later that year, he joined the project Soldiers of Peace, a movie against all wars and for a global peace.

Richard Branson is a signatory of Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero is an international initiative launched in December 2008 to promote the elimination of nuclear weapons. It proposes a phased withdrawal and verification for the destruction of all devices held by official and unofficial members of the nuclear club...

, a non-profit international initiative for the elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide. Since its launch in Paris in December 2008, Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero (campaign)
Global Zero is an international initiative launched in December 2008 to promote the elimination of nuclear weapons. It proposes a phased withdrawal and verification for the destruction of all devices held by official and unofficial members of the nuclear club...

 has grown to 300 leaders, including current and former heads of state, national security officials and military commanders, and 400,000 citizens worldwide; developed a practical step-by-step plan to eliminate nuclear weapons; launched an international student campaign with 75 campus chapters in eight countries; and produced an acclaimed documentary film, Countdown to Zero
Countdown to Zero
Countdown to Zero is a documentary film released in 2010 which argues that the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons has increased since the end of the Cold War due to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, theft of nuclear materials and weapons, and other factors.The documentary film was set for a...

, in partnership with Lawrence Bender
Lawrence Bender
Lawrence Bender is an American film producer. He rose to fame by producing Reservoir Dogs in 1992 and has since produced all of Quentin Tarantino's films with the exception of Death Proof....

 and Participant Media.

Since 2010, Branson has served as a Commissioner on the Broadband Commission for Digital Development
Broadband Commission for Digital Development
The Broadband Commission for Digital Development was established in May 2010 as a joint initiative by the International Telecommunication Union and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization...

, a UN initiative which promotes universal access to broadband services.

In 2011, Branson served on the Global Commission on Drug Policy
Global Commission on Drug Policy
The Global Commission on Drug Policy was a 19-person panel which issued an assessment in 2011 of the global war against drugs, saying "it's an abject disaster" according to one report. The emphasis in drug policy on harsh law enforcement over four decades has not accomplished its goal of banishing...

 with former political and cultural leaders of Latin America and elsewhere, "in a bid to boost the effort to achieve more humane and rational drug laws."

Politics


In the 1980s, he was briefly given the post of "litter Tsar" by Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

—charged with "keeping Britain tidy". He was again seen as close to the government when the Labour Party
Labour Party (UK)
The Labour Party is a centre-left democratic socialist party in the United Kingdom. It surpassed the Liberal Party in general elections during the early 1920s, forming minority governments under Ramsay MacDonald in 1924 and 1929-1931. The party was in a wartime coalition from 1940 to 1945, after...

 came to power in 1997. In 2005 he declared that there were only negligible differences between the two main parties on economic matters. He has frequently been mentioned as a candidate for Mayor of London
Mayor of London
The Mayor of London is an elected politician who, along with the London Assembly of 25 members, is accountable for the strategic government of Greater London. Conservative Boris Johnson has held the position since 4 May 2008...

, and polls have suggested he would be a viable candidate, though he has yet to express interest.

Business Practices


Branson's business empire is owned by a complicated series of offshore trusts and companies. The Sunday Times stated that his wealth is calculated at £3.065 billion; if he were to retire to his Caribbean island and liquidate all of this he would pay relatively little in tax.

Honours and awards


In 1993, Branson was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Technology
Doctor of Technology
The Doctor of Technology degree is conferred upon candidates after having completed a course of study in technology, and a project of lengthy duration in a technologically-related field...

 from Loughborough University
Loughborough University
Loughborough University is a research based campus university located in the market town of Loughborough, Leicestershire, in the East Midlands of England...

.

In the New Years Honours list dated 30 December 1999, HM The Queen signified her intention to confer the honour of Knight Bachelor
Knight Bachelor
The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. It is the most basic rank of a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not as a member of one of the organised Orders of Chivalry...

 on him for his "services to entrepreneurship". He was knighted by HRH The Prince of Wales on 30 March 2000 at an investiture in Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace, in London, is the principal residence and office of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality...

.

Also, in 2000, Branson received the 'Tony Jannus Award
Tony Jannus Award
The Tony Jannus Award recognizes outstanding individual achievement in scheduled commercial aviation by airline executives, inventors and manufacturers, and government leaders. The award is conferred annually by the Tony Jannus Distinguished Aviation Society and was first bestowed in 1964 in Tampa,...

' for his accomplishments in commercial air transportation.

Branson is the patron of several charities, including the International Rescue Corps
International Rescue Corps
The International Rescue Corps is a volunteer organization involved in disaster rescue, based in Grangemouth, Scotland.It is an independent United Nations registered disaster rescue service with an accredited UK National Open College Network qualification in Urban Search and Rescue...

 and Prisoners Abroad
Prisoners Abroad
Prisoners Abroad is a UK-registered charity which supports British citizens who are imprisoned overseas. It also works with ex-prisoners returning to the UK and with families members and friends of those detained. The organisation aims to provide for the basic welfare needs of Britons who are held...

, a registered charity which supports Britons who are detained outside of the UK.

Branson appears at No. 85 on the 2002 list of "100 Greatest Britons
100 Greatest Britons
100 Greatest Britons was broadcast in 2002 by the BBC. The programme was the result of a vote conducted to determine whom the United Kingdom public considers the greatest British people in history. The series, Great Britons, included individual programmes on the top ten, with viewers having further...

" (sponsored by the BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 and voted for by the public). Sir Richard also ranks No. 86 on Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

's 2003 list of "100 Worst Britons". Sir Richard was also ranked in 2007's Time Magazine "Top 100 Most Influential People in the World". In 2009, Branson was voted the UK's "Celebrity Dream Boss" in an opinion poll by Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK
Cancer Research UK is a cancer research and awareness charity in the United Kingdom, formed on 4 February 2002 by the merger of The Cancer Research Campaign and the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. Its aim is to reduce the number of deaths from cancer. As the world's largest independent cancer...

.

On 7 December 2007, United Nations Secretary General
United Nations Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations....

 Ban Ki-Moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

 presented Branson with the United Nations Correspondents Association
United Nations Correspondents Association
The United Nations Correspondents Association was founded in New York City in 1947. It was the successor organisation to the League of Nations Journalists’ Association. It has 180 members from approximately 50 nations. It is well-known for presenting the annual UNCA Excellence in Journalism...

 Citizen of the World Award
Citizen of the World
The Sergio Vieira de Mello Citizen of the World award is given out by the United Nations Correspondents Association to those deemed to have made a significant contribution. It was initiated in 2003, in honour of Brazilian diplomat Sergio Vieira de Mello, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,...

 for his support for environmental and humanitarian causes.

On 24 January 2011 Branson has been awarded the German Media Prize (organised by "Media Control Charts
Media Control Charts
The official music charts in Germany are gathered and published by the company Media Control GfK International on behalf of Bundesverband Musikindustrie...

" ), previously handed to former U.S. president Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 and the Dalai Lama
Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Tibetan Buddhism. The name is a combination of the Mongolian word далай meaning "Ocean" and the Tibetan word bla-ma meaning "teacher"...

.

On 14 November 2011 Branson has been awarded the ISTA Prize by the International Space Transport Association in The Hague for his pioneering achievements in the development of suborbital transport systems with "Virgin Galactic".

Personal life


Branson is the eldest of four siblings. He has two sisters, Andrea and Vanessa Branson
Vanessa Branson
Vanessa Branson was born in Surrey 1959. She is the sister of Richard Branson and with her husband Robert Devereux is the owner of Eilean Shona. She is also a founder of the Marrakech Biennale.- Biography :...

. His brother, Tom, followed in their father's footsteps and became a barrister
Barrister
A barrister is a member of one of the two classes of lawyer found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. Barristers specialise in courtroom advocacy, drafting legal pleadings and giving expert legal opinions...

. Branson's poor academic records contrasted with excellent performance in sports, especially swimming.
With his wife Joan Templeman he has a daughter Holly (b. 1981) and son Sam (b. 1985). He stated in an interview with Piers Morgan
Piers Morgan
Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan , known professionally as Piers Morgan, is a British journalist and television presenter. He is editorial director of First News, a national newspaper for children....

 that he and wife Joan had a daughter named Clare Sarah who died when she was just four days old in 1979. The couple wed—at their daughter Holly's suggestion when she was eight years old—in 1989 at Necker Island
Necker Island (British Virgin Islands)
Necker Island is a small island in the British Virgin Islands just north of Virgin Gorda, located at . All of the land on the island is owned by Sir Richard Branson, famous for his Virgin brand, and it is part of the Virgin Limited Edition portfolio of luxury properties...

, a 74 acres (30 ha) island in the British Virgin Islands
British Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands, often called the British Virgin Islands , is a British overseas territory and overseas territory of the European Union, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S...

 that Branson owns. He also owns land on the Caribbean Islands of Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is a twin-island nation lying between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It consists of two major inhabited islands, Antigua and Barbuda, and a number of smaller islands...

. Holly Branson is now a doctor and is a keen supporter of the football team Oxford United
Oxford United F.C.
Oxford United Football Club is an English association football club based in Oxford, Oxfordshire. The club play in League Two, following promotion from the Conference National in May 2010. The club had been a non-League side since their relegation from the Football League in the 2005–06 season. The...

.

In 1998, Branson released his autobiography, titled Losing My Virginity
Losing My Virginity
Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography is a 1998 autobiography by Richard Branson. A paperback version was released in 2002.The book features Richard Branson's story from rags to riches....

, an international bestseller.

Branson was deeply saddened by the disappearance of fellow adventurer Steve Fossett
Steve Fossett
James Stephen Fossett was an American commodities trader, businessman, and adventurer. Fossett is the first person to fly solo nonstop around the world in a balloon...

 in September 2007; and, the following month, he wrote an article for Time magazine
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

, titled "My Friend, Steve Fossett".

Influences


Branson has stated in a number of interviews that he derives much influence from non-fiction books. He most commonly names Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom
Long Walk to Freedom (book)
Long Walk to Freedom is an autobiographical work written by Nelson Mandela, and published in 1995 by Little Brown & Co. The book profiles his early life, coming of age, education and 27 years in prison. Mandela was once regarded as a terrorist but he is now regarded as uncontroversial...

, explaining that Mandela is "one of the most inspiring men I have ever met and had the honour to call my friend." Owing to his interest in humanitarian and ecological issues, Branson also lists Al Gore's best-selling book, An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth
An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore's campaign to educate citizens about global warming via a comprehensive slide show that, by his own estimate, he has given more than a thousand times.Premiering at the...

and The Revenge of Gaia
The Revenge of Gaia
The Revenge of Gaia: Why the Earth is Fighting Back – and How we Can Still Save Humanity is a book by James Lovelock.- External links :* The Revenge of Gaia * , edited extract from The Guardian, 24 March 2006...

by James Lovelock
James Lovelock
James Lovelock, CH, CBE, FRS is an independent scientist, environmentalist and futurologist who lives in Devon, England. He is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis, which postulates that the biosphere is a self-regulating entity with the capacity to keep our planet healthy by controlling...

 amongst his favourites. According to Branson's own book, Screw It, Let's do It. Lessons in Life, he is also a huge fan of works by Jung Chang
Jung Chang
Jung Chang is a Chinese-born British writer now living in London, best known for her family autobiography Wild Swans, selling over 10 million copies worldwide but banned in the People's Republic of China....

.

See also

  • Virgin Group
    Virgin Group
    Virgin Group Limited is a British branded venture capital conglomerate organisation founded by business tycoon Richard Branson. The core business areas are travel, entertainment and lifestyle. Virgin Group's date of incorporation is listed as 1989 by Companies House, who class it as a holding...

  • Virgin Earth Challenge
    Virgin Earth Challenge
    The Virgin Earth Challenge is a competition offering a $25 million prize for whoever can demonstrate a commercially viable design which results in the permanent removal of greenhouse gases out of the Earth's atmosphere, so as to contribute materially to avoid global warming...

  • List of Richard Branson's business ventures

External links