Billionaire and Virgin CEO Richard Branson has opened up about his experiences as a child growing up with dyslexia to mark National Dyslexia Awareness Month, in a bid to raise awareness of the condition.
Branson said it made him a better businessman.
In a blog post, Branson discusses how his dyslexia proved difficult during his studies as a child: “I struggled with dyslexia when I was at school, long before it was widely known—my teachers just thought I was just stupid, lazy or both,” he wrote. “Words just looked like jumbles of letters on the blackboard to me.”
Instead of letting it get him down, however, Branson said he used it as an opportunity to succeed.
“There are still many dyslexics out there, especially young people, who feel held back by their condition,” he wrote. “I used my dyslexia to my advantage and learned to delegate those tasks I wasn’t so good it. This freed me up to look at the bigger picture, and is one of the main reasons I have been able to expand the Virgin brand into so many different areas.”
Branson is in good company. The list of other CEOs and top business leaders who are dyslexic includes former Cisco (CSCO, -0.59%) CEO John Chambers, Barbara Corcoran of “Shark Tank” fame, Charles Schwab, and Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad.
In 2002, Fortune wrote about CEOs who’ve shared their struggles living with dyslexia. You can find the story in the archives here.
At a press conference, Branson said he hoped the crash would not scare away the 700 who have already paid for a seat.
‘We have had numerous messages of support from the people – the astronauts – who have signed up for this,’ he said. ‘We even had someone sign up yesterday in support of the programme.
‘Anybody who ever wants a refund will be able to get a refund.’
The billionaire vowed to persevere with his ambition to take tourists into space, insisting he would lead the way. He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I want to be on the first flight – I will be on the first flight.’
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