Today I started reading Andreas Souvaliotis’ “Misfit”, a great memoir about a weird kid who was born in Greece and by the age of four, could tell you what day of the week it would be on Jun 4th 2025… He was born with remarkable math skills and abilities beyond his age. Before his teens he was performing piano recitals in concert halls, competing with much older and more well-trained pianists of his time.
But growing up weird– and incidentally, gay, in Greece in the 1970s was also a curse. Not “accepted” by his society and community, not “embraced” for his differences and instead marginalized, Andreas Souvaliotis “fled” to a place he believed would be more open, more welcoming of his differences. He fled to Canada and within a few decades, became one of that country’s top entrepreneurs and success stories.
Andreas’ book is full of advice and personal stories with a simple message, and one celebrated in his beloved country, which he often refers to as “the greatest society of the world.” Instead of marginalizing those who are different, people’s differences should be transformed into assets for community and national growth.
Harness the power of autistic people into laws and civic changes that make Canada a better place (ironically, something that was actually done in Ontario, thanks to the efforts of another Greek and dear friend, Marie Bountrogianni, whose vision and drive were instrumental in making the ground-breaking Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act a reality).
Instead of making laws and discriminating against people who are different– homosexuals and people of different races are two great examples of those targeted by people with opposing moral values– governments and communities should use “diversity” and learn from it to make the country and community a better place.
I’m half way through “Misfit” and can’t seem to put down this fascinating memoir. What a great example for families raising children, people working in corporate environments or those leading companies or communities.
Thank you Andreas for the gift of your advice, your openness and your amazing book.