Eve Branson knew early on that her oldest child was going to be a handful. "You were just a toddler but you were clearly someone who liked to do things his own way and on your own terms," she writes in a letter to her son, billionaire Richard Branson.
She and her husband Ted let the boy be himself. They even allowed him drop out of school at age 16 to start his first business.
"On a few such occasions we would say things like, 'Oh don't be ridiculous, Ricky! That's never going to work,'" she writes. "More often than not, however, your father and I instead opted to give you plenty of scope to learn by your mistakes and so left you to get on with your Christmas tree growing, bird breeding and all the other weird and wonderful enterprises you came up with."