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Michael Bloomberg vs. Richard Branson: Which Billionaire Wrote the Best Memoir?

With distinct backgrounds and strategies for success, which story is worth revisiting?

Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson Associated Press/Dave Bedrosian/Geisler-Fotopress/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Michael Bloomberg and Richard Branson are two very different billionaires. One is a straight-up suit, and the other a bon vivant entrepreneur and adventurer who is rarely seen in one, unless it’s the space variety. They’ve each published a memoir, however. Branson penned his, Losing My Virginity, more than 20 years ago, but has followed it up with various sequels, plus a personal blog on Virgin’s website that he still maintains. Bloomberg’s tome, named Bloomberg by Bloomberg (how do they think up these titles?), is similarly seasoned, but was republished and revised in 2019. So which is worth revisiting?

 

‘Bloomberg by Bloomberg’

‘Losing My Virginity’

THE COVER

A color photo of Michael Bloomberg staring down the reader against a stark white background (plus his scrawled signature).

Bloomberg by Bloomberg

The former NYC mayor’s book cover.  Wiley Publishing

THE COVER

A black-and-white shot of Branson proudly gazing into the distance like some kind of romance-novel hero.

Michael Branson Losing My Virginity Book

The mogul’s black and white book cover.  Virgin Books

AUTHOR’S CURRENT NET WORTH

$59 Billion

AUTHOR’S CURRENT NET WORTH

$4.4 Billion

WE OPEN ON…

Bloomberg getting fired from his first job, at Salomon Brothers, with a $10 million severance after a “Last Supper” meeting where executives ate “greasy steaks.”

WE OPEN ON…

A flight on the Virgin Global Challenger hot-air balloon. Branson and his friends were attempting to circumnavigate the world, starting in Morocco. They crashed in the Sahara Desert.

Virgin Global Hot Air Balloon

A shot of the Virgin Global hot-air balloon Branson was aboard.  Alamy

FIRST PAYDAY

$9,000 starting salary at Salomon Brothers, plus a $2,500 loan.

Salomon Skyscraper in New York

The Salomon Brothers headquarters in downtown NYC.  Patti McConville / Alamy Stock Photo

FIRST PAYDAY

10 shillings from his Auntie Joyce for learning to swim.

AMAZON RANKING

#582,909

in the Kindle Store

AMAZON RANKING

#106,078

in the Kindle Store

REVIEWS

“Reading it feels like being trapped inside a PowerPoint presentation about why billionaires are interesting.”

Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker

REVIEWS

“Surprisingly, Branson comes off as a lovable underdog battling the establishment, instead of a spoiled tycoon.”

Tom Faucett, CNN

WEIRD FLEX

“I was one of the youngest Eagle Scouts in that organization’s history.”

Boy Scouts of America Logo

The group’s signature logo.  Boy Scouts of America

WEIRD FLEX

Won a case where the manager of a Virgin Records shop was arrested because the poster for a Sex Pistols’ album used the word “bollocks” (the group was signed to Branson’s record label at the time). A linguistics professor argued on behalf of Virgin that “bollocks” was an old nickname for “priests” or “rubbish,” and that it was therefore not offensive.

Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols

Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistol.  Joe Holloway Jr./Associated Press

IN THE YEAR THE BOOK WAS PUBLISHED, HE…

Was CEO of his eponymous company, Bloomberg LP, a post he left to run for mayor only a few years later.

IN THE YEAR THE BOOK WAS PUBLISHED, HE…

Flew a hot-air balloon from Morocco to Hawaii. He still didn’t make it all the way around the world, though.

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