Anderson Cooper: Success Through Dyslexia
Writer, journalist, and host Anderson Cooper provides breaking news and hard-hitting journalism daily on the CNN news channel. His efforts and crusades are admired by millions of viewers. Cooper’s achievements have masked his struggles with dyslexia, which he coped with during childhood through a love of reading. Cooper is an inspiration to dyslexics everywhere that the desire to change the world doesn’t stop with a learning disability.
Anderson Cooper’s Life
Cooper was born in New York City on June 3, 1967. His mother was Gloria Vanderbilt, heir to the Vanderbilt empire. He appeared in high society magazines, talk shows, and modeled for Ford Models as a child. Cooper studied at the Dalton School and graduated early to travel the world. He attended Yale University and received a degree in political science in 1982.
Cooper’s brother committed suicide in 1988, and the tragedy sparked Cooper’s desire for journalistic truth. “I think when you experience any kind of loss, especially the kind I did, you have questions about survival,” he explains. “Why do some people thrive in situations that others can’t tolerate?”
Cooper is also gay, a fact he kept quiet about until he was ranked number two in ‘Out’ magazines Most Powerful Gay Men and Women in America. He has since been open about his sexuality and plans to marry his long-term partner.
Anderson Cooper and Journalism
Cooper interned at the CIA for two summers and began to work as a news correspondent before taking a hiatus and living in Vietnam to study language. Cooper briefly worked as a fact checker for Channel One news, but skillfully snuck in with students fighting the Burmese government and filmed coverage of their plight. He broadcast and sold footage of countries at war and became a correspondent for ABC News in 1995.
Cooper dabbled in hosting reality TV with the series, ‘The Mole,’ but left after the events of September 11th to return to his journalistic roots. He landed a job at CNN and swiftly rose through the ranks to a prime-time anchor spot and two television shows, ‘Anderson Cooper 360’ and ‘Anderson Live.’
Cooper has covered natural disasters and catastrophes, frequently breaking boundaries with his up-close-and-personal style. He is known to challenge the government and physically help victims.
Anderson Cooper: Reading and Writing with Dyslexia
“I would see some letters backwards,” Cooper explains of his mild dyslexia. His parents appointed him a reading instructor who instilled in him a love of books. He absorbed Helen Keller’s biography and novels like ‘The Quiet American,’ by Graham Greene.
“Part of the book’s lesson is to allow yourself, especially as a reporter, to go into a story with an open mind and heart,” he says of Greene’s work.
Cooper is a frequent contributor to both leisure and news publications. His 2006 memoir, ‘Dispatches from the Edge’ made the New York Times bestseller list and chronicles his life story and work as a journalist. “I grew up in a home where reading and writing had great value,” he explains.
Cooper refused to let his dyslexia stand in the way of his career. Through a love of literature, he found a thrilling job as a celebrated journalist. Cooper’s story shows the key to success through dyslexia is passion and determination.