Tracing Business Acumen to Dyslexia By BRENT BOWERS December 6, 2007 It has long been known that dyslexics are drawn to running their own businesses, where they can get around their weaknesses in reading and writing and play on their strengths. But a new study of entrepreneurs in the United States suggests that dyslexia is much more common among small-business owners than even the experts had thought. The report, compiled by Julie Logan, a professor of entrepreneurship at the Cass Business School in London, found that more than a third of the entrepreneurs she had surveyed 35 percent identified themselves as dyslexic. The study also concluded that dyslexics were more likely than non-dyslexics to delegate authority, to excel in oral communication and problem solving and were twice as likely to own two or more businesses. We found that dyslexics who succeed had overcome an awful lot in their lives by developing compensatory skills, Professor Logan said in an interview. If you tell your friends and acquaintances that you plan to start a business, youll hear over and over, It wont work. It cant be done. But dyslexics are extraordinarily creative about maneuvering their way around problems. The study was based on a survey of 139 business owners in a wide range of fields across the United States. Professor Logan called the number who said they were dyslexic staggering, and said it was significantly higher than the 20 percent of British entrepreneurs who said they were dyslexic in a poll she conducted in 2001. She attributed the greater share in the United States to earlier and more effective intervention by American schools to help dyslexic students deal with their learning problems. Approximately 10 percent of Americans are believed to have dyslexia, experts say. One reason that dyslexics are drawn to entrepreneurship, Professor Logan said, is that strategies they have used since childhood to offset their weaknesses in written communication and organizational ability identifying trustworthy people and handing over major responsibilities to them can be applied to businesses. The willingness to delegate authority gives them a significant advantage over non-dyslexic entrepreneurs, who tend to view their business as their baby and like to be in total control, she said. William J. Dennis Jr., senior research fellow at the Research Foundation of the National Federation of Independent Business, a trade group in Washington, said the studys results fit into the pattern of what we know about small-business owners. 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, Mr. Dennis said. Compare that with corporate managers who read, read, read. Indeed, according to Professor Logan, only 1 percent of corporate managers in the United States have dyslexia. Article continues here.