The day my work got ripped to shreds

It was the late 1960s and I was sitting in a school chemistry class, with my eyes glued to my work. I was reading page after page of exciting material about all sorts of issues I was interested in. 

richard branson vogue student magazine

Despite my reputation for having not enjoyed school, in this case I was absolutely engrossed in what I was learning about. My teacher came over for a closer look how I was getting on. He leaned up to my desk, and suddenly snatched my work out from my lap and ripped it to shreds!

I was actually paying no attention to the chemistry class, which was a complete mystery of complex figures. My undiagnosed dyslexia was making the sums and statistics swim on a distant blackboard. So I had carried on with my own education. Under my desk, I was editing the latest draft of my new magazine, Student.


The teacher didn’t realise it was my own magazine he had ripped up – and thankfully it wasn’t a finished draft.

My son Sam was having dinner recently and discovered he was sitting with an old chemistry classmate of mine, who remembered the incident. I can still recall the teacher’s anger too. It drove me on to complete the magazine. Before long, I had left school, published Student magazine and embarked upon the life of an entrepreneur.


I am by no means advocating that students don’t pay attention in class – but I am absolutely suggesting that everybody follows their dreams, and focuses upon projects that excite and inspire them. Plus, if somebody succeeds in destroying your work, stick it together again and continue where you left off.


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