I spend a lot of time being curious about what makes some people great entrepreneurs. I recently found an article in BusinessWeek that discusses the fact that an abnormally high percentage of entrepreneurs are dyslexics. They raised the question – Does the struggle that is required to overcome dyslexia prepare dyslexics to become great entrepreneurs? And if so, what are these traits?
According to BusinessWeek, the ability to grasp the big picture, persistence, and creativity are a few of the entrepreneurial traits of many dyslexics.
In a study that was published in 2008, Julie Logan, professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London found that 35% of entrepreneurs in the U.S. show signs of dyslexia.
“The broader implication” says Logan, “is that many of the coping skills dyslexics learn in their formative years become best practices for the successful entrepreneur. A child who chronically fails standardized tests must become comfortable with failure. Being a slow reader forces you to extract only vital information, so that you’re constantly getting right to the point. Dyslexics are also forced to trust and rely on others to get things done—an essential skill for anyone working to build a business.”
“We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills,” Professor Logan said in an interview. “If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, you’ll hear over and over, ‘It won’t work. It can’t be done.’ But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems.”
James LeVoy Sorenson, a highly successful entrepreneur in the medical field says that overcoming dyslexia trained him to be persistent and to solve problems in new ways. He says “I like to add one word to the end of many sentences: ‘yet.’ Instead of saying, ‘I can’t do it,’ I say, ‘I can’t do it—yet.'”
I am not a dyslexic, but I think this is a good lesson for all of us who want to be better entrepreneurs. – RICK
Top Dyslexic Entrepreneurs
Take a look at the following list of Entrepreneur Dyslexics and see if you recognize a few names…
- Charles Schwab
- Steve Jobs (Founder of Apple)
- Paul Orfalea (Founder of Kinkos)
- John Chambers (CEO Cisco)
- Richard Branson
- Henry Ford
- Ingvar Kamprad (Founder of Ikea)
- William Hewlett (Founder Hewlett Packard)
- Steven Spielberg
- Ted Turner (Turner Broadcast)
- Tommy Hilfiger
- Alan Meckler (CEO of Jupitermedia)
- Walt Disney
- Nelson Rockefeller
- Thomas Edison
- Anita Roddick (Founder of Body Shoppe)
- Alexander Graham Bell
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Rick Salmon is an energetic entrepreneur who lives in Norway and believes that European startup companies can succeed and grow quickly if only they get the proper help and assistance. Please join the discussion and leave your comments. Subscribe to this newsletter/blog to receive frequent updates and tips.