Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dsylexics as Entrepreneurs

Business Week had a fascinating article about new research suggesting that dyslexics may tend to become successful entrepreneurs, particularly in the United States. Here is a brief excerpt from the article:

That kind of rejection, along with a penchant for creativity, may help explain why so many dyslexics are inclined to become entrepreneurs. Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at Cass Business School in London, believes strongly in the connection.

In a study to be published in January, Logan found that 35% of entrepreneurs in the U.S. show signs of dyslexia, compared to 20% in Britain. Logan attributes the gap to a more flexible education system in the U.S., vs. rigid tracking in British schools, and better identification and remediation methods. "Most of the people in our study talked about the role of the mentor and how important that had been," Logan says. "The difference seems to be somebody who believes in you in school."

The broader implication, she says, 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.

The article raises some interesting points regarding dyslexics as entrepreneurs, but I think it also should cause us to consider some more fundamental questions about our entire education system . In the era of self-esteem promotion during the 1990s, our schools often heaped praise on children. They sought to bolster each child's self-image. For me, this article suggests that we should make sure that we also focus on building our children's capabilities with regard to coping with failure. All of us fail many times in life, and entrepreneurs, in particular, must be able to deal with failure. They must be able to experiment, learn from those experiments, and then adjust or adapt their strategies.

6 comments:

David Sorin said...

The study is interesting, although the sample size seems a bit small.

There is some logic in the argument and conclusion and I could see making a strong argument based on the facts as presented if I had to.

But trying to think critically, are there other possible explanations?

What other traits accompany dyslexia and could it actually be those traits that push people toward entrepreneurialism?

I saw a recent article that said that dyslexics are left handed to a higher degree than one would expect. Is this relevant?

I have worked with dozens of entrepreneurs and I would say (not diagnose, but observe) that many of them have ADD. How is that connected?

This is all fascinating for those of us that work with entrepreneurs and the more data that keeps coming out, the better.

Are female entrepreneurs showing the same propensities as male entrepreneurs toward dyslexia, ADD and whatever else they may have?

Interesting topic.

David Sorin
www.entrepreneursmentor.net

David Sorin said...

The study is interesting, although the sample size seems a bit small.

There is some logic in the argument and conclusion and I could see making a strong argument based on the facts as presented if I had to.

But trying to think critically, are there other possible explanations?

What other traits accompany dyslexia and could it actually be those traits that push people toward entrepreneurialism?

I saw a recent article that said that dyslexics are left handed to a higher degree than one would expect. Is this relevant?

I have worked with dozens of entrepreneurs and I would say (not diagnose, but observe) that many of them have ADD. How is that connected?

This is all fascinating for those of us that work with entrepreneurs and the more data that keeps coming out, the better.

Are female entrepreneurs showing the same propensities as male entrepreneurs toward dyslexia, ADD and whatever else they may have?

Interesting topic.

David Sorin
www.entrepreneursmentor.net

PestProJoe said...

Great article. I happen to know an extremely successful business owner who is dyslexic. He happens to be one of my heroes.

I believe that their challenge has become their strength as they have learned determination and tenacity... both are excellent qualities in a leader.

-Joe
Pest Control Products and Advice

PestProJoe said...

An additional thought...

It seems that when learning to deal with dyslexia they may have learned to organize and control what might have seemed random and chaotic.

Business is often random and chaotic, but for those that simplify it, business can be mastered.

Refreshing Leadership said...

I love the tenacity of my dyslexic friends they are so strong that I had to write an article about them. If you digg it let me know.
Mike
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2322720/Dyslexics-are-the-Best-Leaders-and-Entrepreneurs

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