Learning disabilities like dyslexia aren’t typically regarded as advantages, but for some entrepreneurs, being dyslexic has been a key part of why they succeeded.
That’s according to New Yorker writer and bestselling author Malcolm Gladwell, who, while researching his last book, David and Goliath, spoke to roughly two dozen dyslexic entrepreneurs.
“Their stories are all the same,” Gladwell says. “They don?t think they succeeded in spite of their disability. They think they succeeded because of it.”
While learning disabilities present unique challenges for individuals from an early age, they can also serve as what Gladwell refers to as “desirable difficulties,” or challenges that force people to learn new skills that prove extremely helpful later in life.
“They?re learning delegation, how to communicate with other people [and] motivate other people,” Gladwell says.
Successful dyslexic entrepreneurs that Gladwell points to include Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, JetBlue founder David Neeleman, and longtime movie producer Brian Grazer, whose dyslexia forced him to learn how to negotiate his way to getting better grades in school, according to Gladwell.
“By the time he hits college he?s brilliant at it, and then what does he do? He becomes a Hollywood producer, [which is] about negotiation, among other things, and he’s been practicing his entire life,” Gladwell says.
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