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401, 401V, 501V: English-Language Reading Diary

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

Institute 501, 502: An interview with Richard Branson

NEXT WEEK (December 29), we will have a test.



Here are the questions we used in class:
  1. Richard Branson is known for starting several companies. Name two of them.
  2. Why did people think buying a secondhand plane and starting a new airline was crazy?
  3. To help his fledgling airline financially survive combat with British Airways, what was Branson forced to do?
  4. Total employees in Branson's group of companies: choose... (a) 10-25,000; (b) 25,001 to 50,000; (c) 50,001 to 75,000; (d) 75,001 to 100,000.
  5. Philippe Starcke designed several aspects of Branson's space program, but why was he not the ideal person to design the engine? What was the basis of his design of the launching and landing facility?
  6. When Anderson asks, «What was the closest you got to--when did you think this is it, I might be on my way out?»--what kind of situation is he referring to?
  7. According to the interviewer, Branson's companies benefited from his balloon adventures in what way?
  8. What were some of Branson's characteristics as a pupil in school?
  9. What image or metaphor finally helped Branson understand the difference between gross and net?
  10. Anderson says that Branson has been accused of being a ruthless businessman. How does Branson respond?
  11. What is the problem with capitalism that «capitalist philanthropy» is intended to address?
  12. What are two major problems that Branson's capitalist philanthropy is trying to help solve?
  13. What Russian-born software engineer did Branson mention as a personal friend?


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