Before Richard Branson amassed his fortune and bought his own island, he was a 16-year-old high-school dropout who lived on the canals of London’s Little Venice. “I couldn't afford a home,” he tells CNBC Make It, but “I could afford a houseboat. So when I moved to London, I bought a houseboat on the canal.” It cost him £2,000.
He named the the boat “the Duende,” which means "the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm,” and he moved in around the time he started Virgin, which began as a mail-order record retailer. “It was like living in a cottage in London. It was very cozy,” Branson recalls. Plus, “it was very good to attract the women, as a young teenage lad.”