How Does Richard Branson Take Notes? - Senstone

How Does Richard Branson Take Notes?

27 Mar, 2024

If you know how Richard Branson takes notes, you get a glimpse of his mindset – and who would pass up that kind of opportunity?


Best known as a founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson is a rock star of an entrepreneur. His unconventional wisdom has made him obscenely rich, but more importantly, he succeeds in making his dreams come true.


According to Branson, he owes a large part of his achievements to one simple habit: robust, consistent, everyday note-taking.


I urge everybody to take notes, whatever they are doing, wherever they are going, he says. Get out there and ask people questions, and write down the answers.

So How Does Richard Branson Take Notes?


Most business people are extremely private, and others (like Elon Musk) intentionally cultivate the air of mystery. Researching their productivity tricks is quite a task, especially if we are talking about top execs.


Richard Branson breaks the pattern.


For years and years, Branson has been nothing but transparent about his mindset and strategy. He enjoys being a mentor and an example. That is exactly why we know a lot about his note-taking methods.


First of all, Branson’s note-taking is underpinned by practical reasons. He makes a compelling case for why you should record everything:


Some of Virgin’s most successful companies have been born from random moments – if we hadn’t opened our notebooks, they would never have happened.


Indeed, most ideas are lost. We forget up to 50% of new information within an hour. You can’t rely on your memory too much.


Next, Branson elaborates on how his note-taking technique works.


Step one is active listening.


Become a great listener. […] Really listen.


Then he suggests you pick a tool. (According to Branson, phones are not ideal for the job; interestingly, most successful people hold the same opinion.)


It doesn’t matter what form they [notes] take – laptops and phones are better than nothing – but I prefer a pen and paper.


And when Branson takes notes, he writes down a lot:


I was the only person who took notes the entire time – and boy did I take notes, I ran out of white space and had to write over my notes, my hotel notepad, my report and even my name tag!


Finally, Branson always reviews his notes trawling for gold. While this step is commonly overlooked, it might just be the key to Branson’s success.


…when it is time to review my notes I can see which themes bubble to the top and which issues keep coming up. Using this practical evidence, I can decide what to prioritise.


You do not have to work in business to follow his advice. Students, doctors, managers, content creators – no matter who you are, taking notes is a great way to improve your life.


More like this:

icon plus

Sign up to our Newsletter!