dyslexia dropout

The Dropout



knight celebrity entrepreneurship
grade potential know/knew/known
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weirdo consider classmate
nerd smooth smooth sailing
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decide drop out altogether
prison cover (2) tell/told/told
end up wear (3) sell/sold/sold
try parakeet launch (2)
fail after all behind (2)
effect note (3) seed-money
seed venture headmaster
deter issue (3) high street
topic target (2) audience (2)
net (2) found (2) enterprise
restrict estimate mail-order
mail order (3) made up of
palace interview culminate
dub promote sell/sold/sold
consist discount appear (2)
price stress (2) driving force
create advertise grow/grew/grown
bridal combine inherently
buck jot down approximately
wish establish give/gave/given
publish fortunate net worth
Ltd. brain (2)



In March of 2000, Queen Elizabeth II knighted an individual at Buckingham Palace for “services to entrepreneurship.” From then on, he would be known worldwide as Sir Richard Branson.

This was indeed the culmination of years of great accomplishments.

It hadn’t all been smooth sailing, though.


At school, Richard’s classmates considered him a “weirdo” and a “nerd”. He had learning difficulties and poor grades, stemming from dyslexia, a condition that affects those parts of the brain that process language and reading skills.

At the age of 16, Richard decided to drop out of high school altogether. On his final day at school, his headmaster told him he would either end up in prison or become a millionaire. This was in 1966.

A Magazine

Having left school, Richard then tried, and failed in, selling both Christmas trees and parakeets.

Undeterred, he next launched a publication for students (his business plan consisted of nothing more than notes he had jotted down in a school notebook, including a list of potential advertisers for the magazine). The seed-money for the venture was a little more than $1,500 from his mother.

Dubbed Student Magazine, Richard’s articles only covered topics he — and his target audience — were interested in at the time: music and the Vietnam War.

The first issue appeared in January 1968 . . . just a year later, his net worth was estimated at £50,000.

The Record Business

Richard later used Student Magazine to promote his new mail-order record business by advertising popular albums, and interviewing celebrities such as Mick Jagger.

His records sold for less than the “High Street” stores, though at the time, many products were restricted from discount pricing.

Eventually, Richard started a record shop in London. With earning from it, he along with a partner founded the record label Virgin Records in 1972.

Virgin Atlantic Airways

By the late 1970s, Richard had served as the brain and driving-force behind the creation of Virgin Group Ltd. The company is now made up of over 400 businesses worldwide, including an airline, music publishing and recording studio, radio station, movie studio, bridal wear . . . the list goes on.

These enterprises combined have given Richard a net worth of approximately $4.1 billion.

While many wish they were as fortunate as Richard, he stresses that you don’t need big bucks to establish your own business. After all, he himself had started off small — and grew from there.

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1. Richard Branson was an excellent, A+ student at school, and went on to attend Oxford University. True or false? Was this because he was lazy?

2. Was Richard popular in school? Was his principal (headmaster) confident that Richard would become very successful in life?

3. His first job was working in McDonald’s. Is this correct or incorrect?

4. Did he have a meticulous plan for his magazine publication? Was it about politics, economics and society? Was his magazine profitable?

5. What were some of Richard’s business tactics?

6. Today his only enterprise is Virgin Atlantic Airways. Is this right or wrong?

7. Does he give any advice to people?


A. There have been excellent students in my class. Yes or no? What happened to them? Where are they now?

B. Have there been slow, failing, problem students in your school? Where are they now? What happened to them?

C. Is the educational system good, bad, both in the middle?

D. What will happen in the future?

E. Would you change or reform the educational system?

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