I was asked recently to name my five favourite books, and the task proved harder than I thought. There are so many that I’ve loved for all sorts of different reasons that it was hard to narrow it down.
Tie-loathing adventurer and thrill seeker, who believes in turning ideas into reality - Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson is an English businessman and investor. He is best known as the founder of Virgin Group, which comprises more than 400 companies. At the age of sixteen his first business venture was a magazine called Student.
This is in his top 5 favorite books list
Historians and reviewers worldwide have hailed Antony Beevor's magisterial Stalingrad as the definitive account of World War II's most harrowing battle. In August 1942, Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. In the five month siege that followed, the Russians fought to hold Stalingrad at any cost, then caught their Nazi enemy in an astonishing reversal. As never before, Stalingrad conveys the experience of soldiers on both sides as they fought in inhuman conditions, and of civilians trapped on an urban battlefield. Antony Beevor has interviewed survivors and discovered completely new material in a wide range of German and Soviet archives, including reports of prisoner interrogations, desertions, and executions. The battle of Stalingrad was the psychological turning point of World War II; as Beevor makes clear, it also changed the face of modern warfare. As a story of cruelty, courage, and human suffering, Stalingrad is unprecedented and unforgettable.
Branson wrote in his book Screw It, Let's Do It that his favorite books "are Stalingrad by Antony Beevor and Wild Swans by Jung Chang."
The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than ten million copies sold around the world, now with a new introduction from the author. An engrossing record of Mao’s impact on China, an unusual window on the female experience in the modern world, and an inspiring tale of courage and love, Jung Chang describes the extraordinary lives and experiences of her family members: her grandmother, a warlord’s concubine; her mother’s struggles as a young idealistic Communist; and her parents’ experience as members of the Communist elite and their ordeal during the Cultural Revolution. Chang was a Red Guard briefly at the age of fourteen, then worked as a peasant, a “barefoot doctor,” a steelworker, and an electrician. As the story of each generation unfolds, Chang captures in gripping, moving—and ultimately uplifting—detail the cycles of violent drama visited on her own family and millions of others caught in the whirlwind of history.
He has also cited Nelson Mandela's Long Walk To Freedom as a major inspiration
Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality. LONG WALK TO FREEDOM is his moving and exhilarating autobiography, destined to take its place among the finest memoirs of history's greatest figures. Here for the first time, Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela tells the extraordinary story of his life--an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph.
As a kid his favorite book was: "Swallows and Amazons - a lovely kids' adventure book."
This is the first title in Arthur Ransom's classic serires, originally published in 1930, for children and grownups. This first book introduces the Walker family and the camp on Wild Cat Island.
This is in his top 5 favorite books list
Also recommended by: Michelle Obama
Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Let the wild rumpus with Max and all the wild things continue as this classic comes to life as never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak's artwork. Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in May 2012. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, Where the Wild Things Are became an iconic book that has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. It continues to be one of the best loved books of all time the world over, by the one and only Maurice Sendak.
This is in his top 5 favorite books list
Dahl is a master at introducing readers to a new sense of what lurks beneath the ordinary.
This is in his bonus 6th in his top 5 favorite books list
Also recommended by: Anthony Bourdain
"I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone.
His answer to "What is your favourite book?"
An international best seller embraced and endorsed by policy makers, scientists, writers and energy industry executives from around the world, Tim Flannery’s The Weather Makers contributed in bringing the topic of global warming to national prominence. For the first time, a scientist provided an accessible and comprehensive account of the history, current status, and future impact of climate change, writing what has been acclaimed by reviewers everywhere as the definitive book on global warming. With one out of every five living things on this planet committed to extinction by the levels of greenhouse gases that will accumulate in the next few decades, we are reaching a global climatic tipping point. The Weather Makers is both an urgent warning and a call to arms, outlining the history of climate change, how it will unfold over the next century, and what we can do to prevent a cataclysmic future. Originally somewhat of a global warming skeptic, Tim Flannery spent several years researching the topic and offers a connect-the-dots approach for a reading public who has received patchy or misleading information on the subject. Pulling on his expertise as a scientist to discuss climate change from a historical perspective, Flannery also explains how climate change is interconnected across the planet.
The billionaire said that the cult books, by Luke Rhinehart, influenced his decision-making in the early days of his Virgin Records label.
The cult classic that can still change your life...Let the dice decide! This is the philosophy that changes the life of bored psychiatrist Luke Rhinehart - and in some ways changes the world as well. Because once you hand over your life to the dice, anything can happen. Entertaining, humorous, scary, shocking, subversive, The Dice Man is one of the cult bestsellers of our time.
I want to read A Brief History of Time to my grandkids, & start early so they can finish it like I never did! http://www.virgin.com/richard-branson... #Take10
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - A landmark volume in science writing by one of the great minds of our time, Stephen Hawking’s book explores such profound questions as: How did the universe begin—and what made its start possible? Does time always flow forward? Is the universe unending—or are there boundaries? Are there other dimensions in space? What will happen when it all ends? Told in language we all can understand, A Brief History of Time plunges into the exotic realms of black holes and quarks, of antimatter and “arrows of time,” of the big bang and a bigger God—where the possibilities are wondrous and unexpected. With exciting images and profound imagination, Stephen Hawking brings us closer to the ultimate secrets at the very heart of creation.