The image remains pristine: a charismatic high-school dropout turned billionaire, whose stratospheric rise and daring exploits have won him millions of enduring admirers and made him a model for aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the world.
But is this story still credible? Over the last decade, has Branson matched the expectations perpetuated by Virgin's relentless publicity machine? Or have we all been seduced by a brilliant showman?
In his most explosive book to date, Tom Bower, bestselling biographer of Simon Cowell, Bernie Ecclestone, Conrad Black and Robert Maxwell, dares to explore the reality of the Branson empire. In doing so, he unravels the gripping story of his recent activities - from the astonishing success of mobile phones to his troubled airlines and his long delayed plan to send multimillionaires into space - and asks whether he really remains Britain's heroic buccaneer.