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.