Richard Branson on being ticklish, negative people and the secret to his success

1. What does someone who has everything get for his birthday?

Richard Branson: It's a good question. I know what I would like. I absolutely love birds and animals and plants and I'm hoping that people might get me some small trees that I can plant. Things like Flamboyant Trees, which look beautiful out in the Caribbean. We're trying to breed things like flamingos and tortoises. Any kind of animals, I love.

2. Marmite?

Yes, I love Marmite. I really recommend Marmite with hot water stirred up. It's a really good drink.

3. If there's one thing you could change about yourself what would it be?

It has to be my age. I'd like to go backwards and not forwards now.

4. You've achieved a lot in your life already, what one thing would you like to achieve now?

One of the most exciting things we're involved in right now is The Elders, headed up by Nelson Mandela. They're trying to make conflicts a thing of the past. In fact I've just been reading this book: War of the World and realising the horrendous conflicts that have taken place in my lifetime and in my parents and grandparents lifetime. A few hundred million people have been unnecessarily killed. It would be wonderful if the Elders could do a lot of fantastic things

5. What's your favourite TV programme?

I love any programme that is to do with nature, like Planet Earth.

6. Is there anything you wanted to do by the time you reached 60 but haven't yet?

I think the thing I'd most like and I'm sure that my wife would like is grandchildren, so crossed fingers there.

7. Favourite band?

Would have to be the Sex Pistols. They made a big difference for Virgin. They were tremendous fun. But they only produced one record - didn't do very many tracks.

8. Favourite song?

That has to be My Way.

9. Who would you most like to stay with on Necker Island who hasn't been there already?

I'd love to be able to share it with the 60,000 people who work for Virgin and meet everybody someday. Sadly, the island's rather small but you never know...

10. Is there anybody that you're still in awe of now?

I think, of all the people in the world that I don't know very well (I've met him once or twice), it must be the Dalai Lama.

11. Did running the London Marathon hurt?

I was very lucky. I managed to find the time to train properly. The last two miles were very painful because I actually thought I'd finished two miles before the end so psychologically I was ready to finish. But the crowd carried everybody along. For myself, my children and the other 30 or 40 thousand people, it was one of the best days of their lives. Highly recommend it if you can.

12. You much have pretty much everything so what is your wife buying you?

I have no idea.

13. What makes you cry?

I'm one of those people that cry at happy things and sad things. If I go to the cinema my kids always bring a box of Kleenex along.

14. What makes you laugh?

I'm lucky, I laugh all the time. I love people, love life, love a good joke. Lots of laughter.

15. The key to success in three words?

People. People. People.

16. If you could meet a legend dead or alive, who would it be?

Sir Francis Drake. I would love to have been an explorer of that calibre.

17. Where has been the best place of country you have visited?

Australia. I love the people of Australia. It's a wonderful, vibrant country.

18. What do you have for breakfast?

Fruit salad or muesli. When I want to spoil myself I have kippers.

19. If you could turn the clock back 40 years and start again, would you do anything differently?

The answer has to be no. I've had an absolute blast.

20. Not including family, who is your best mate?

I'm lucky. I've got quite a lot of friends I've known for many years. Two particular special friends and both of their names is Andy. We've had a lot of laughs over the years.

21. I've you took the part of one of the seven dwarves, which dwarf would that be and why?

Must be Happy. I think I've been lucky and had a happy life and I'm always smiling.

22. Are you ticklish?

Not sure I should own up to this in case somebody gets me one day, but I'm about the most ticklish person I know.

23. What is one thing that contributed to your success but your never did it [sic]?

All the people at Virgin that have made the company what it is today.

24. If you had to be an animal, what would you be?

That has to be a tiger. Sadly there are very few left in the world. The more there can be the merrier. So, if could become a tiger, I'd be delighted,

25. What three words would you use to describe the Virgin brand?

A challenger brand

26. What motivates you to carry on?

I love learning. I love people. I love to make a difference. And I'm in a position to do so I definitely won't ever stop until I drop.

27. What are the three most adventurous things you've done so far?

On the adventure side, it must be my boating activities. My ballooning activities and my kite-surfing activities. That's three. And I must add: space adventures to come.

28. What's the one thing that you love and you hate about Richard Branson?

I love the closeness of our family.  And I hate not being able to spend every day with them. But I'm lucky. I think I manage to get more time with my family than most people.

29. What drives you crazy?

Negativity. It's people who look for the worst in people. And people who are always gossiping about other people.

30. How are you intending to spend your birthday?

With family and friends. And then in my birthday month, myself and my kids, my nephews and nieces, we're going to try to kite surf across the English Channel and have a bit of an adventure together.

31. What have you studied?

Most of my learning has been since I left school at 15 and it's been an education of life. Getting out and experiencing life to the full.  I do love to read a lot and I've got involved in a lot of different things in my life so I've learned a lot in that way.

 

Watch Richard Branson answering all the above questions here

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