Successful BECAUSE of Dyslexia or ADHD

Dyslexic and ADHD people are generally visual, multi-dimensional high-speed thinkers. They are intuitive, highly creative, and excel at hands-on learning.

Because dyslexics think in pictures, it is sometimes hard for them to understand letters, numbers, symbols, and written words, but for the same reason they tend to excel in their chosen area if they are given the right set of circumstances, motivation and support.

Here is a list of gifted people who have been diagnosed or rumoured as having dyslexia or ADHD.


Generally regarded as the most original and influential theorist in the history of science - discovered gravity
“Numerous anecdotes survive from this period about Newton’s absent-mindedness as a fledging farmer and his lackluster performance as a student.” Dr Robert A. Hatch - University of Florida

A modern icon of intelligence, mathemtician and the man behind the theory of relativity
"When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come close to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge. The words or the language, as they are written or spoken, do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought."
"He did well only in mathematics and in Latin (whose logic he admired)."
American Institute of Physics

One of America’s greatest inventors - invented the lightbulb and the gramophone
"My teachers say I’m addled . . . my father thought I was stupid, and I almost decided I must be a dunce."
"If modern psychology had existed back then, Tom would have probably been deemed a victim of A D S (attention deficit syndrome) and proscribed a hefty dose of the "miracle drug" Ritalin."
Thomas Alva Edison website

Founder of the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He is described as "undoubtedly the most venerable of all the new-media gurus". His company receives millions of dollars of funding each year from top international companies such as BT, Nike and Compaq. They usually want research on technologies that have a quicker payback. Being profoundly dyslexic has, ironically, been something of an aid for him. The digital world rather than the atomic world of paper and print is a godsend. The condition has also made him learn how to stand in front of huge audiences, without the need for notes or prompts or any other support.


Businessman, politician, statesman, art collector, and philanthropist
"I was one of the ’puzzle children’ myself - a dyslexic, or ’reverse reader’- and I still have a hard time reading today."

C.B.E Chairman and chief executive, Prodrive Group, a three-time World Rally Champion and a multi-millionaire.
A merely ’competent’ scholar, he went to the local comp and hated every minute of it. ’It was very frustrating, but I was always good at maths.’ He didn’t discover the source of his academic sidelining until much later; when his son was diagnosed with mild dyslexia, it transpired that Richards was dyslexic too. ’I build pictures instead of using words to understand things. The engineers will explain a complex technical problem to me and I will sit back and get a clear picture, which helps me explain it’.

Founder of the Virgin business empire
"I was trouble - and always in trouble. Aged eight I still couldn’t read. In fact, I was dyslexic and short-sighted."

Founder of Kinko’s printing empire
“More original are his autobiographical sections, which explain how a man with dyslexia, an uncontrollable temper and a mistrust of authority managed to grow a tiny California copy shop into a $2-billion-a-year company.”

Author of The Edison Gene
Thom has long been a spokesperson for a different view on AD/HD and refers frequently to his own experience of being a "hunter", which is his term for a person with the ADD label.

International speaker, consultant and author of dozens of books including Maximum Achievement
"I was what was called a "loser." I fooled around in class. I ran around with a bad bunch of kids. I was always shooting my mouth off trying to get attention, and I eventually became very unpopular."

The joint owner ofArgus Car Hire and E-Trawler, nominated emerging entrepreneur of the year 2005 by Ernst & Young
"I’m dyslexic, so school was a real struggle," Turley said. "It affects your reading, writing and everything. If I get tired, I can get numbers backwards."

Chief Executive of Axeon, a Technology company
They produce a new type of microprocessor. He suffered numerous nightmares at school. "I forced myself to be good at other things, especially at sport. It taught me later in life not to be nervous of failure and that every problem is a challenge, not an insurmountable obstacle. I have learned to live with dyslexia. I remember my BSc finals in chemical engineering and missing a huge chunk of a question, only for it to ’re-appear’ on the paper after the exam".

Chief Executive Officer, Terra Firma Capital Partners
One of the most powerful and influential men in the City of London. He is severely dyslexic and had to take the sciences rather than English at school, and was examined verbally for his degree finals. He would have liked to have been a writer or even an actor, but his pronunciation is bad too, so instead he decided to make money.

The dot-com millionaire started his first business at 15
"I was lucky enough to be recognised as dyslexic very early in my life. I know that dyslexia in many ways gives me an edge against the competition, but only because I received the specialist equipment to enable me to work with dyslexia rather than against it."


Leonardo da Vinci

Pablo Picasso

One of the most influential artists of the 20th century
Don’t think I didn’t try[learning at school]. I tried hard. I would start but immediately be lost. "For being a bad student I was banished to the ’calaboose’ - a bare cell with whitewashed walls and a bench to sit on.”


Wm. Butler Yeats

Poet; Nobel Prize 1923

Agatha Christie

acclaimed poet, playwright and author
"Being dyslexic has made me realise that the best readers and writers in the world can be very dull if they don’t use their imagination."

Professor and international best-selling author of several books, including "In the Mind’s Eye"
When asked to do a brief "First Person" account of my own early dyslexia and learning difficulties for LD Online, I thought first of Churchill. On re-reading his beautifully-written account, I was struck--once again--by how much his description of his school days seemed to correspond to my own. As with Churchill, for me school did make for a "sombre grey patch."

International best-selling author of "The Gift of Dyslexia"
He was functionally illiterate until age 38 when he discovered how to mentally orient his perceptions. Since then, he has dedicated his life to helping people with the gift of dyslexia achieve literacy and self-esteem.

Sally Gardner changed her name because she couldn’t spell it. So how does she manage to write novels?
Sally Gardner was originally called Sarah, but as a child she couldn’t spell her name. She knew that it started with an s, but the minute that was on the page the h would start to bug her. Did it go before or after the r? "I know people say ’at the end’ but I couldn’t make it stay where it was supposed to go. I never got it. My mother had a friend who was an actress called Sally who said, ’Look, darling, the best thing to do is Sally because the s is like a snake, you have a little a and two long lines and a y to catch it all.’ And I thought, I can do that." She changed her name.

Philip Schultz

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet
As a boy, Philip Schultz struggled with words. He was 11 before he learned to read -- with great effort -- and his teachers dismissed him as a poor student, exiling him to "the Dummy Class." How did this kid go on to become a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet? After his son’s diagnosis finally shed light on his own learning disability, Schultz wrote this graceful memoir, offering a beguiling look inside the dyslexic mind.

A.A. Gill

"My work at school was atrocious. I still remember some of the unkind comments, such as "there’s no point in you studying history. You can’t even write". To this day he goes to great lengths to compensate for his dyslexia. His articles would be illegible to copytakers so he dictates them instead."

Sophy Fisher

Journalist, former BBC correspondent to Geneva.
"I see children today doing everything I did to try to stop people seeing their failings - disrupting the class, lurking at the back, faking illness, losing homework. Letters on a page appeared a meaningless jumble - with no more logic than alphabet spaghetti. But in my small village school I couldn’t really hide the fact that I was the class idiot." She eventually went to Cambridge University.

Military/Political Strategy:

General George Patton

Prime minister of the United Kingdom during WWII
"While Churchill may have had traits of dyslexia (learning disability), it seems more likely that he was a gifted child who was bored quickly[ADHD?]. He probably inherited his father’s prodigious intellect. ...the education system in England probably lacked capacity to meet his needs."

28th president of the United States
"Suffering from dyslexia, Wilson remained unable to read at the age of 10."

Film making:

The most successful film director in history.

Director of Pulp fiction, and Reservoir Dogs
"Despite a reported IQ of 160, the dyslexic Tarantino dropped out of junior high school in Harbor City, Los Angeles, in ninth grade."


Quote fromThe Guardian newspaper: 

"Today... Eddie Izzard, Keanu Reeves, Guy Ritchie and Jodie Kidd are among the celebrities who have spoken about their dyslexia. Oscar winner Whoopi Goldberg admitted that she was considered "retarded" for years, while Tom Cruise confessed, "I felt really embarrassed" when it came to dealing with his dyslexia."

Harry Potter star
Daniel Radcliffe has revealed he suffers from dyspraxia, meaning he sometimes still has trouble tying his shoelaces. 

Most famous for her role in The Forsyth Family
In her autobiography, ’Susan’s Story’ she chronicled her own battle against dyslexia and how it took her years to summon up the courage to speak openly about her difficulties.

Oscar winning actor, most famous for playing Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs
"As a boy, I wasn’t very bright. I didn’t even know the time of day I was in school. I think I had dyslexia or some learning disability. I certainly didn’t fit in anywhere. The years passed and a feeling of failure was always with me until by accident I came across this career, and look at what has happened! Of course, I don’t regret anything because, in the long run, look what I’ve accomplished."
“Though dyslexic in his early life, he’s always possessed a fearsome memory for times, dates and scripts, and he blew away the crew by memorising a 7-page speech for the taut court-room finale.”

Dominc Wills

"I am dyslexic and they all laughed when I said I was going to act and sing and get out of Birmingham."

TV Presenter
"I was given the confidence at school to not worry too much about the things that I couldn’t do in life." (on the experience of being dyslexic as a child)

The Bionic Woman
"No-one really knew about dyslexia when I was at school. On one hand I was being told that I was really bright, and on the other being told I was lazy and should try harder, but I was trying as hard as I could, I just couldn’t make sense of the words."

Actress - Lord of the Rings
"My diary is a disaster - sometimes I can't even read it. I can't spell at all, it's embarrassing. Thank God for spell check on computers. I'll spell the same word completely differently in the same sentence."

"I'd like to do a bit more reading maybe. I've tried, but somehow I just can't get into that book thing."

Noel Gallagher

Singer in the british Rock band Oasis
"I have problems with words over six letters long. School days were the worst days of my life."

One of the most influential actors in Hollywood
"Cruise says he was diagnosed as dyslexic at seven, and tried to hide his learning disability from the other children at school. He has described his younger self as "a functional illiterate", through high school and his first several films."

Nominated for Oscar 2006 for her role in Pride and Prejudice
“In fact, her dyslexia meant she couldn’t read words and wrote numbers backwards. It got so bad that she’d get hold of book-tapes and memorise them so that no one would recognise her failings. It was an extraordinary success story. This dyslexic kid with no formal training had suddenly conquered Hollywood. And, with the films she has in production, it seems she’ll be at the top for some considerable time to come.”

Famous for his role as Legolas in The Lord of the Rings
Bloom says he was also given a rough time because of his dyslexia. He said: "I was also teased because I couldn’t spell. I’m still mildly dyslexic."

"When I was a kid they didn’t call it dyslexia. They called it... you know, you were slow, or you were retarded, or whatever."

Danny Glover 


A prodigy blues singer - the face of GAP
"I forget a lot of stuff. I’m not stupid, but I am dyslexic. I don’t remember the words to my own songs!"

Ed Sheeran

one of the world's best-selling music artists.

Star of numerous Marvel movies.

A Scottish actor and stand-up comedian - one of UK’s most popular comedian
"Connolly, 59, has admitted he has Attention Deficit Disorder, a condition linked to symptoms ranging from poor concentration to extreme hyperactivity."

Son of Ozzy Osbourne
From the tv show "The Osbournes"


Celebrated as one of Britains leading architects
Recognised for many stunning buildings and his pioneering views on sustainable cities - not bad for a man who, as a child, was told he was lazy and stupid. At 72, and with two major new projects just opening, what has been his motto? Never take ’no’ for an answer.

One of the best known clothes designers in USA
"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."

One of the best known clothes designers in Britain
In an interview with The Guardian in 2005, Smith said he had not excelled at school. "I couldn’t concentrate and I’m quite dis ... dis ... You see, that’s how bad I am, I can’t even pronounce it," he says of his dyslexia."


The most successful F1 racing driver in history

Simone Biles

Michael Jordan

Magic Johnson

The only person ever to have won gold medals at five consecutve Olympic games.
"Dyslexia was an embarrassment at school. At ten, I still had problems reading and writing."

Olympic and world diving champion, Athlete of the Year for 1988

Olympic and world champion track athlete

Former F1 world champion
Sir Jackie Stewart, said he thought he was "thick" at school before discovering he was dyslexic.


Famous lawyer and activist
"Most people don’t know that I have dyslexia. I don’t like to be labeled. We are taught not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s exactly what we do," Brockovich said. "People called me stupid — I knew that I could learn, but I just couldn’t learn the way that society wanted to teach me. There are no set answers, just be who you are."

John Cass business school in "The City" of London is a respected university. Inspired by a study commissioned by BBC in 2003, Cass Business school published a study in 2004 stating that "entrepreneurs are twice as likely to be dyslexic" than the general population. This makes perfect sense to us at Gifted Dyslexic, because dyslexic thinkers naturally think out of the box, are innovate and create. Thom Hartmann is a dyslexic thinker, one of America's leading authorities on ADD. You can view hos site here: