In a wonderful post from Seth Goldman at Inc.com:

“…dyslexics who manage to make it through high school will not only bring alternative

Seth Goldman of Honest Tea (@HonestTea)

Seth Goldman of Honest Tea (@HonestTea)

thinking to society’s problems, they also will have already proved their resilience because they’ll have overcome the academic and personal setbacks that many clerically talented students avoid.”

Goldman, Co-Founder and CEO of Honest Tea reflects:

“All of the Madison entrepreneurs we met were tackling problems from a new perspective–ranging from a different way for people to order from restaurants to a new way to create mobile code. And while each venture relied on engineering skills in some fashion, the catalyst that launched the enterprise was a creative insight the founders had about how to see the world in a different way … and that’s where the insight about dyslexia came in.

I had spent the preceding day with my cousins in Milwaukee, most of whom are dyslexic. I got to enjoy their artwork and delightfully different view of the world. As I talked with my nephews about some of the challenges they were encountering in school, it brought back memories of what we went through with my oldest son, Jonah, who is also dyslexic.

So much of our nation’s elementary school education is focused on clerical skills–including reading and math, but also, to the extent that there is art instruction, how to literally draw within the lines. Those can be painful years for children who are not linear, sequential thinkers. While many of his classmates were enjoying the Harry Potter books, our son was struggling with basic reading and writing, which led to bouts of frustration and a sense inadequacy, for him and for his parents.

Once we realized Jonah had dyslexia, we were able to help him retool his language skills. He ended up graduating from high school with honors, and is now on the President’s Council at Colorado College. But he arrived at that point only by working incredibly hard to overcome the academic barriers as well as personal feelings of failure, disappointment, and of being an outsider, which haunted his elementary school years. As hard as those formative experiences can be on a child, they can contribute to the traits that are prized in every entrepreneur:

  • Someone who is used to dealing with adversity, and bouncing back from daily setbacks
  • Someone who sees existing structures from a completely new perspective
  • Someone who is creative and persistent at finding solutions”

Education needs to be so much more than clerical skills – but if it’s not, things need to change.

Another big catch is Goldman’s phrase “dyslexics who manage to make it through high school”…how can we make sure that some all of these remarkably abled kids make it through?


Seth Goldman is a social entrepreneur Co-Founder for Honest Tea
“”Figure out how to achieve your goals on a tiny budget—then cut that number in half.” –Seth Goldman