Richard Branson’s Dyslexia


richard bransonRichard Branson is known as being one of the richest businessmen in the world. He founded Virgin Group, and is listed as Forbes list of billionaires. With all this success, it would seem strange that he struggles with a learning disability that millions of people all over the world struggle with every single day. Richard Branson has dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a disorder that affects the ability to read and interpret letter and words. Dyslexia does not affect intelligence.

Dyslexia makes it difficult for children in schools everywhere, and hides their true abilities. Richard Branson was no different. Richard Branson had to recite lines of words in front of the other children at school. A common practice in English schools. For Branson this was terribly embarrassing. Imagine what it would have been like, seeing the words as one thing, they are actually something else, and getting your lines wrong in front of everyone. Repeatedly.


Reciting lines was not the only challenge at school Branson faced. He has stated that he could not understand his school work, not because he was not intelligent, but because he had problems reading it. He also faced IQ tests. He did not score well on these tests. The IQ test is supposedly a test that measures intelligence. However, because of the way an IQ test is formatted a person suffering from Dyslexia will have trouble scoring well on it. Many questions on an IQ test are discerning patterns, something a Dyslexic person has difficulty doing in a very short time.

In Fortune magazine Richard Branson said Dyslexia made him a better businessman. “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.”

“Dyslexia made me a better businessman”

Richard Branson left school at 15 years old. Because of his Dyslexia school could not hold his interest. Having brilliant ideas and seeing where there were needs in the market? He was much more suited to that. Despite his Dyslexia, he started a student news publication at 17. This publication was marketed to different schools, but the students would be the focus, not the schools themselves. Branson got the genius idea to sell advertising. Major companies bought advertising space in this student publication, and with some help from his mother the newspaper was launched.

Branson had a gift for seeing holes in the market and the ambition to fill them. He was a person who would never be held back by anything. Fighting through his challenges in school seemed to have given him the ability to either move an obstacle out of his way or simply go around it. He saw a need for records students could afford, and he started a small mail order delivery system. The response was even larger than he could have imagined. He got so many orders he needed a physical store to handle everything. The store was a tiny little shop called Virgin Records. The first months rent was not even paid before the store was opened. Branson was good enough at business to know traffic would bring customers.

Virgin did not just stop at records. It has spread out to new business ventures and ideas that even Branson did not anticipate. He simply saw a need in the market and worked to fill it. He listened to ideas from people. Branson never wanted to embarrass anyone, perhaps because he remembered what it was like to not be able to recite lines in school. Branson has become one of the most easy to talk to billionaires in the world. Branson is a kind, caring, and ambitious person. This is all because while dyslexia held him back in one area, he was able to find other areas where he could do well.

Richard Branson never let his dyslexia keep him from reaching his dreams. If anything, his dyslexia gave him even more ambition than his peers. Dyslexia gave Branson the ability to work early on. It let him know what it was like to struggle at a young age. It also has taught him to be open and accepting of people. He is known to keep contact with all of his employees. They call him with their issues and concerns. Branson did not let his Dyslexia defeat him and he encourages others to use their problem to propel them forward. Each issue can have lessons and strengths inside of it. Branson is famous because he found the strengths inside of dyslexia.

Learn about Other Famous People With Dyslexia:


2 thoughts on “Richard Branson’s Dyslexia

  1. Richard Branson seems like an amazing person and he is an inspiration to many people. He is one of those people who you would love to meet in your life time.His openness about his struggle in school is something many of us face. Dyslexia causes people to feel bad about themselves ,and when you see someone so brilliant also had these issues It some how makes you feel better about what you experienced.

  2. At school 60 years ago I was classed as ‘thick’. I was unable to recite the alphabet and now at 73 years old I still can’t. I was unable to go through the ‘times table’ at school and again still can’t. I joined the police service at the age of 20 and had problems with spelling but managed OK. Many years later I had the occasion to meet Susan Hampshire who I knew had Dyslexia. I explained to her about my situation and she explained there was a type of Dyslexia called ‘Sequential Dyslexia’, which I had never heard of. I wonder how many school children are still classed as ‘thick’ if they have the same problem that I had.

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