Richard Branson: “Dyslexia is my greatest strength”

By Kitty Knowles 7 July 2016
Photo from iStock/EdStock.

Richard Branson joins 22 leaders in sharing his experiences of dyslexia.

“In business, I believe dyslexia is my greatest strength. It has taught me to keep things simple, to rise above difficulties and to focus on what I’m good at.”

So starts a inspiring first-hand account by Sir Richard Branson in Margaret Rooke’s book Creative Successful Dyslexic.

This includes chapters from successful entrepreneurs (and Dragons Den stars) Kelly Hoppen and Theo Paphitis, as well as leaders in the arts like photographer David Bailey, comedian Eddie Izzard, actress Zoe Wanamaker and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.

Richard Branson’s story

What’s inspiring about so many of the stories – and especially Branson’s – is that dyslexia appears to teach people lessons we could all do with learning.

Branson, for example, explains how dyslexia helped him to embrace unconventional thinking, to never been embarrassed by failure, and to pinpoint ideas that are great because they are simple.

He writes of how he’s always learning, giving the example that he only discovered the difference between ‘net’ and ‘gross’ at 50.

To be a good business leader you must know your strengths, hire people who are smarter than you, and listen to their ideas.

“Delegation is a skill some people don’t develop but if you’re dyslexic you have to,” he writes.

Inspiring hope

Of course, Creative Successful Dyslexic, will have a particularly powerful impact on those who have a learning disability.

Branson’s experience of feeling like a “hopeless case” at school is sadly still common and this is a book all teenagers and adults should read.

His decision to quit school at 15 to start a magazine is inspiring, but so are chapters by sportsmen like Kenny Logan or ballerina Darcy Bussell.

“Dyslexia has taught me to rise to challenges. If you are not exceptional academically, you can still be exceptional,” says Branson.

“Accept you are different, question what others don’t, trust your instincts, go for the opportunities others miss, keep an open mind and learn by what you do. If you follow your dreams you can be even more successful than the others.”

Creative, Successful, Dyslexic is now available in hardback on Amazon from £13. A paperback release is due on July 21.