15 CEOs With Learning Disabilities

branson

CEOs are a rare breed. They thrive on risk, when the rest of us would rather maintain the status quo.

So it makes sense that they process information differently. In fact, a number of them have learning disabilities — dyslexia is the most popular condition.

In spite of their difficulties, these businessmen have done quite well for themselves. We’ve gathered a list of 15 CEOs, many of whom you’ll recognise, who prove that perceived weaknesses can also be strengths.

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[slide
permalink=”richard-bransons-dyslexia-made-high-school-especially-difficult-1″
title=”Richard Branson’s dyslexia made high school especially difficult”
content=”The wildly wealthy head of Virgin used to routinely fail standardized tests in school due to his dyslexia. When he started an alternative newspaper at his high school and filled it with worthwhile content, the headmaster of the school said, ‘Congratulations, Branson. I predict that you will either go to prison or become a millionaire.'”
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[slide
permalink=”peter-kight-started-his-own-company-because-of-his-add-2″
title=”Peter Kight started his own company because of his ADD”
content=”The CEO of Checkfree said, ‘I would have had a great deal of difficulty if I had gotten into a staff job. I knew that. That’s why I started a company. I was fearful to the point of being paranoid that I would end up working in a big company.'”
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[slide
permalink=”the-ceo-of-kinkos-embraced-his-dyslexia-and-add-when-he-started-his-company-3″
title=”The CEO of Kinkos embraced his dyslexia and ADD when he started his company”
content=”Orfalea calls his learning disabilities ‘learning opportunities.’ In his case, his learning style helped him see the big picture and not worry about tiny details — very good skills for a businessman who has lots of ideas.

For group projects in school, Orfalea would take care of photocopying the notes for everyone in order to get out of writing them. It makes sense that he would end up starting the largest copy shop in the world.”
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[slide
permalink=”john-chambers-overcame-his-dyslexia-with-an-optimistic-attitude-4″
title=”John Chambers overcame his dyslexia with an optimistic attitude”
content=”The CEO of Cisco said he wishes he had made his struggles with reading more public: ‘You consider it a weakness and you don’t share your weaknesses. And you don’t realise that it helps others who have this issue, and also your family.'”
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[slide
permalink=”aspergers-syndrome-didnt-stop-bram-cohen-from-changing-the-internet-forever-5″
title=”Asperger’s syndrome didn’t stop Bram Cohen from changing the internet forever”
content=”While not necessarily a learning disability, Asperger’s syndrome kept Bram Cohen firmly rooted in a world of patterns, puzzles, and computers. This was a big asset when he created BitTorrent, a disruptive technology that lets people transfer huge amounts of information over the Internet.”
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[slide
permalink=”david-neeleman-is-famously-frank-about-his-adhd-6″
title=”David Neeleman is famously frank about his ADHD”
content=”The CEO of JetBlue calls his ADHD an asset. He said, ‘One of the weird things about the type of ADHD I have is, if you have something you are really, really passionate about, then you are really, really good about focusing on that thing.’

He says his ADHD led to him creating JetBlue’s e-ticketing system.”
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[slide
permalink=”charles-schwab-deals-with-his-dyslexia-every-day-7″
title=”Charles Schwab deals with his dyslexia every day”
content=”Schwab didn’t even realise his condition had a name until his son was diagnosed with it based on his same symptoms. He’s since become quite candid about it, and founded SparkTop.org to help kids aged 8-12 to tackles their own learning disabilities.”
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[slide
permalink=”ikeas-name-comes-from-its-founders-dyslexia-8″
title=”Ikea’s name comes from its founder’s dyslexia”
content=”Ikea is actually an acronym of founder Ingvar Kamprad’s initials, Elmtaryd, the farm where he grew up, and the nearby village of Agunnyard. He picked Swedish-sounding names for all the products so that he wouldn’t have to remember strings of letters and numbers.”
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[slide
permalink=”reading-difficulty-didnt-stop-tommy-hilfiger-from-designing-popular-clothing-9″
title=”Reading difficulty didn’t stop Tommy Hilfiger from designing popular clothing”
content=”Hilfiger said, ‘I performed poorly at school, when I attended, that is, and was perceived as stupid because of my dyslexia. I still have trouble reading. I have to concentrate very hard at going left to right, left to right, otherwise my eye just wanders to the bottom of the page.'”
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[slide
permalink=”the-apple-founder-is-dyslexic-10″
title=”The Apple founder is dyslexic”
content=”Dyslexia might make it more difficult for Steve to read, but it certainly hasn’t slowed down his desire to innovate.”
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[slide
permalink=”dyslexia-didnt-stop-the-founder-of-hp-11″
title=”Dyslexia didn’t stop the founder of HP”
content=”Bill Hewlett co-founded Hewlett-Packard, which at one point went on to become the second largest computer company in the world.”
image=”http://static.businessinsider.com/image/4dd3f0c9ccd1d5b8040b0000″
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[slide
permalink=”henry-ford-was-dyslexic-12″
title=”Henry Ford was dyslexic”
content=”He’s credited with building the first practical automobile and he helped create a middle class in America. He had fierce ambition: ‘Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal,’ he once said.”
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[slide
permalink=”ted-turner-made-his-fortune-despite-a-learning-disability-13″
title=”Ted Turner made his fortune despite a learning disability”
content=”The CEO of the Turner Broadcasting System surrounds himself with lots of talented people who specialize in different areas — that way, he can tackle any problem. That strategy has worked well: he’s worth roughly $2 billion.”
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[slide
permalink=”but-watch-out-for-the-notorious-ceo-disease-14″
title=”But watch out for the notorious “CEO Disease””
content=”Why Powerful People Make Really Bad Decisions Involving Sex >
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[/slideshow]