Private equity investor Guy Hands is one of Britain’s top entrepreneurs. Founder of Terra Firma Capital Partners, Hands has had a varied career which has included being: chairman of EMI music, biggest pub landlord in the UK, owner of vineyards and olive farms in France, and hotel chain founder…

And he has dyslexia.

Hands struggled with academics from a young age. He was diagnosed as severely dyslexic and was sent to a special school for children with learning needs. By the age of 18, he had earned a place at Mansfield College, Oxford University!

His entrepreneurial spirit was evident from a young age. Before matriculating at uni, he had started an art business called ‘Artsake’; he continued running it through his Oxford years, employing several other people.

From there, he joined Goldman Sachs where his reputation for savvy investment grew and grew.

A friend of his has been quoted as saying:

“At the risk of dropping into amateur psychology, the dyslexia has driven him. He cannot read very long papers setting out investment rationales, so what he is forced to do is look at the key points of the business and the way the numbers work – which he can read very well.┬áThen, rather than think things through to the ‘nth’ degree, there’s something in him which instinctively sees things differently from other people. If there is a genius in there it’s seeing things that other people don’t. Now whether that’s the dyslexia or just that he’s a very clever man, who knows!”

DSCN0462Sarah Forrest is Programme Manager for the Easyread System, an online course for children with reading and spelling difficulties. Get a free 10-day trial at