I have been reading a biography of Richard Branson the man who built up the Virgin business empire. I love reading the stories of tycoons; their energy and the inventiveness I find very alluring. At the time of writing his auto-biography Branson was 60, the same age as me. I have no business empire and in fact struggle to stay afloat often. It is only by God’s good grace I am was not put in the poor house long ago!
Branson is a brilliant business man and old fashioned showman. He breaks all the rules; he has no real core business but sets up new and diverse companies all the time. He makes blunders but has the brutal honesty to see what these are and learn from them. He can see himself in a detached way and take criticism and advice. He is creative in business. I once flew Virgin to the States and found a pair of socks in my passenger’s kit to ward off the draught under the seats. Great attention to detail.
The book however is cloyingly self congratulatory and the other rich and successful he quotes as being his ‘good buddies.’ The rich always have ‘friends’ while they remain rich.
However, what is the net result of all his activity? Without judging the man the line in Ecclesiastes seems apposite. As he came from his mother’s womb he shall go again, naked as he came, and shall take nothing for his toil, which he may carry away in his hand. The Christian, however, stores his treasure his in Heaven where no thief can break in and steal it or insects destroy.