What do Richard Branson, Charles Schwab, and John Chambers, CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., all have in common? Answer: they’re all dyslexic. They represent three famous examples of what is becoming increasingly more common in the business world: the presence of entrepreneurs who also happen to be dyslexic. Research carried out by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London, reveals that more than a third of the U.S. entrepreneurs studied–35%–identified themselves as dyslexic. This compares with only 1% of corporate managers. In an article published in Business Week, William Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business was quoted as saying: “Entrepreneurs are hands-on people who push a minimum of paper, do lots of stuff orally instead of reading and writing, and delegate authority, all of which suggests a high verbal facility. Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read.” Similarly, Emerson Dickman, president of the International Dyslexia Association, and himself a dyslexic, noted: “Individuals who have difficulty reading and writing tend to deploy other strengths. They rely on mentors, and as a result, become very good at reading other people and delegating duties to them. They become adept at using visual strengths to solve problems.” One of the implications of this study is that children and adults who are identified as having dyslexia should also have their strengths identified, and if entrepreneurship is observed, be given opportunities to develop this talent.
For more information on the strengths of individuals diagnosed with dyslexia, see my book: The Power of Neurodiversity: Unleashing the Advantages of Your Differently Wired Brain (published in hardcover as Neurodiversity)
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