Reach for the Skies by Richard Branson EPUB & PDF – eBook Details Online
- Status: Available for Free Download
- Author: Richard Branson
- Language: English
- Genre: Company Histories
- Format: PDF / EPUB
- Size: 6.1 MB
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Walking on Air
A few stories to begin.
The first, from Greek mythology, you probably know already: how
Icarus, wearing wings made of feathers and wax, flew too close to the sun;
how the wings melted, and he came to a sorry end in the Aegean Sea.
Actually, the story, as it grew over the centuries, got better than this. It
got more believable. Icarus was the son of Daedalus, a talented but irascible
inventor, constantly at odds with his patrons and jealous of anyone with the
talent to rival him. Daedalus’s sister sent him her son, Perdix, to be his
apprentice; but Perdix was too smart for his own good. He was always
wandering off, beachcombing, collecting, and observing. He studied how
nature worked. Inspired by the workings of a snake’s jaw, he invented the
Daedalus, whose inventions included the ax, the plumb line, the drill, and
glue, felt he was being upstaged. He made sure to accompany his nephew
on his next walk, led him up a tall tower to catch the view—and pushed him
to his death.
He didn’t get away with it. Daedalus was exiled to Crete and set to work
by King Minos, building a labyrinth for the royal family’s least favored son:
the monstrous half-human, half-bull Minotaur.
Down but not out, Daedalus kept half an eye on his work and the other
half on Naucrate, one of Minos’s mistresses, and soon enough he had a son,
Icarus. Not content with cuckolding his patron, he then gave away the plans
of the labyrinth to Minos’s daughter so that she could escape with Theseus,
a foreign adventurer and thief imprisoned there. Minos, when he found out,
threw Daedalus and his son into the labyrinth themselves.
This is where the wings come in. Daedalus made two pairs: one for
himself and one for his son. Together they would fly to Sicily, over the
heads of King Minos’s soldiers and his fleet of many ships. Like the
nephew he murdered, Daedalus took inspiration from nature, tying feathers
together in order of size to produce curved flying surfaces, just like the
wings of real birds. He secured the larger feathers with thread, the smaller
ones with wax, and warned Icarus to keep them out of the water and away
from the heat of the sun.
The way we usually hear this story, Icarus is the tragic hero: a romantic
figure, overcome with the thrill of flying, who yearned for the sun and died
for his trouble. We all too easily forget the upshot of the tale: his father
Daedalus flew successfully across the sea and landed in Sicily. There he
built a temple to Apollo and secured the patronage of the local king. When
Minos finally tracked him down Daedalus, with his patron’s assistance,
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