By Tom Bower
The picture continues to be pristine: a charismatic high-school dropout grew to become billionaire, whose stratospheric upward thrust and bold exploits have received him thousands of putting up with admirers and made him a version for aspiring marketers through the global. yet is that this tale nonetheless credible? during the last decade, has Branson matched the expectancies perpetuated by way of Virgin's relentless exposure computer? Or have all of us been seduced via a super showman? In his so much explosive booklet thus far, Tom Bower, bestselling biographer of Simon Cowell, Bernie Ecclestone, Conrad Black and Robert Maxwell, dares to discover the truth of the Branson empire. In doing so, he unravels the gripping tale of his contemporary actions - from the striking good fortune of cell phones to his stricken airways and his lengthy not on time plan to ship multimillionaires into house - and asks even if he relatively is still Britain's heroic buccaneer.
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Additional resources for Branson: Behind the Mask
Branson’s exaggerations were rewarded. The previews for Rebel Billionaire enthusiastically favoured him. ‘Trump may already know that nothing succeeds like success but here comes Sir Richard to remind him that what goes up must come down,’ chirruped a Chicago newspaper. The honeymoon ended after the first show was broadcast. Instead of excitement, there was a yawn. In the nature of show business, the blowback was vicious. Rebel Billionaire, wrote a Washington Post reviewer, joins the genre of reality shows ‘that are sillier, stupider and more ridiculous all the time’.
Nitrous oxide can be dangerous,’ they had warned their colleagues. ’ The warning was ignored by Glenn May, one of Scaled’s experts, who had just returned from extended leave. May treated nitrous oxide as a harmless plaything, even propelling his bicycle around Mojave using a rocket fuelled with the gas. ‘He’s comfortable with nitrous oxide,’ thought an engineer, dispassionately. During the countdown to the disaster, May had enjoyed the carnival atmosphere around the fence and encouraged his two colleagues to join him and get a closer view.
Now, a pathologist was assembling his body parts for examination, and an undertaker had been summoned to deliver three coffins. Burt Rutan, the Scaled director responsible for developing Virgin Galactic’s rocket, was attending a conference in Palm Springs. ‘I didn’t know that nitrous oxide was that dangerous,’ he later said. Taking risks, he added, was normal for pioneers. His British partner was less sanguine. ‘It’s not considered a hazardous material,’ said Richard Branson in a measured statement.