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Attention Deficit Disorder: A Different Perception Paperback – August 1, 1997

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Editorial Reviews

From Scientific American

Innovative and fresh .... Rather than portraying the syndrome as a crippling disease, Thom Hartmann demonstrates that ADD can be associated with creativity, high achievement, and a most successful adaptive style. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Thom Hartmann demonstrates that ADD can be associated with creativity, high achievement, and a most successful adaptive style." -- Edward Hallowell, MD and John Ratey, MD, authors of "Driven to Distraction. "This book...indicates that uncritical acceptance of the notion of ADD may conceal the need for basic reforms in our nation's public schools. -- Jay C. Fikes, Ph.D., Cultural Anthropologist

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 189 pages
  • Publisher: Underwood Books; 2nd edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1887424148
  • ISBN-13: 978-1887424141
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #297,123 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Thom Hartmann is the four-time Project Censored Award-winning, New York Times best-selling author of 23 books currently in print in over a dozen languages on five continents.
Hartmann is also an internationally known speaker on culture and communications, an author, and an innovator in the fields of psychiatry, ecology, and economics.
The co-founder (with his wife, Louise) and former Executive Director of The New England Salem Children's Village (1978) and The Hunter School (1997), he has led national innovations in the areas of residential treatment for abused children and private/public education for learning-disabled children.
He has helped set up hospitals, famine relief programs, schools, and refugee centers in India, Uganda, Australia, Colombia, Russia, and the United States through the German-based Salem International program. Formerly rostered with the State of Vermont as a psychotherapist, founder of The Michigan Healing Arts Center, and licensed as an NLP Trainer by Richard Bandler (who wrote the foreword to one of Thom's books), he was the originator of the revolutionary "Hunter/Farmer Hypothesis" to understand the psychiatric condition known as Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD).
A guest faculty member at Goddard College in Vermont, he also synthesized the "Younger/Older Culture model" for describing the underpinnings - and possible solutions - to the world's ecological and socio-political crises, suggesting that many of our problems are grounded in cultural "stories" which go back thousands of years.
Leonardo DiCaprio was inspired by Thom's book "The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight" to make the movie "The 11th Hour" (in which Thom appears), and Warner Brothers is making a movie starring DiCaprio and Robert De Niro from the book Thom co-authored with Lamar Waldron, "Legacy of Secrecy."
Talkers Magazine named Thom Hartmann as the 8th most important talk show host in America in 2011, 2012, and 2013 (10th the two previous years), and for three of the past five years the #1 most important progressive host, in their "Heavy Hundred" ranking. His radio show is syndicated on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial-Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, across the entire North American continent on SiriusXM Satellite radio, on cable systems nationwide by Cable Radio Network (CRN), on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store. The radio show is also simulcast as TV in realtime into nearly 60 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide.
His evening TV program, The Big Picture, is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US, and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries via broadcast and cable by the RT TV network, and distributed worldwide on the web on Hulu.
As an entrepreneur, he's founded several successful businesses which still are operating, and lived and worked with his wife, Louise, and their three (now adult) children on several continents.
He was born and grew up in Michigan, and retains strong ties to the Midwest, although he and Louise have lived in New Hampshire, Vermont, Georgia, Germany, and Oregon...and now live on a boat in Washington D.C. with their attack-cat, Higgins.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

90 of 91 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
The most insightful book on ADD I have read to date. While not the perfect diagnostic starter's manual for ADD newcomers, this book is an imperative read for all ADDer who have a negative view of their condition.
Hartmann has crafted a scientifically supported theory that empowers ADDers. Hartmann asserts that ADDer are "hunters" living in a society that has literally evolved into a culture of "farmers." While the common ADD traits of distractibility and quick thinking were essential in hunting an antelope, they are less desirable when planting rows of crops or balancing a checkbook.
Unlike many ADD books, this is not a substance-less, feel-good read. Hartmann acknowledges the working realities/difficulties of being an ADD "hunter" in a non-ADD "farmer" world. Only Harman's model, based on the evolution of the human brain, frames the ADD debate in a manner that brings ADDers on equal intellectual footing with their non-ADD counterparts. In the hunter/farmer model, ADD is not a disorder or defect of the brain, rather a set of traits that are not perfectly suited to getting through the many mundane tasks of a farmers world.
Drawing upon ADDers like Einstein, Franklin and Edison, Hartmann illustrates how many ADDers have utilized their quick-react "hunter" brains to achieve incredible success in a "farmer" world. Not only is this book empowering for people who view their ADD as a "disadvantage," this book is must read for the parents and teacher who shape the perceptions of ADD children.
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43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Robinson on May 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
Hartmann is a successful multitasker: not only does he write popular books on ADD/ADHD, he has published numerous books of poetry, has opened four hospitals in Third World countries, and so on. His point is that ADD/ADHD is a curse if it is not channeled properly, but can be a great blessing, and an enormous goad (and even key) to success if the "sufferer" learns to handle it, learns to cope with it.

As someone who was bored in school not just because it was repetitive, not just because teachers spent way too much time on task for the attention spans of children, but because it was all too EASY, I recognized myself in Hartmann's case studies immediately. But I was never diagnosed with ADD or ADHD because I learned to cope early. I taught myself to stay on task long enough to finish projects. And as Hartmann stresses, that's the key: finishing projects. When you're ADD, or a "hunter," it requires an extra effort of focus to do it, at first--not just a burst of focus, but a willingness to keep your nose to the grindstone for long periods of time (HOURS! DAYS!) no matter how much it hurts--but soon enough the effort is internalized and success on the world's terms becomes much easier.

Not that the "farmers" will necessarily understand that success. My colleagues say I publish "too much." I'll be working on a scholarly book and a play and a translation at once, and they'll all get done, pretty quickly, within months, because I know I have to push hard to finish or I'll lose interest. As a result I've published something like 15 books, and have a hard drive full of unpublished and unproduced manuscripts as well. I can't understand people who spend fifteen years writing a single magnum opus. Don't they get BORED?
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Robert Kall VINE VOICE on January 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you only read one book on ADD, read th is one, or Thom Hartmann's Complete Book on ADHD, which covers the same turf as this one. This book shouold be required reading by any health care provider, educator, counselor, etc. who works with ADD/ADHD. It offers a positive, hopeful view of ADHD. The truth is, many, if not most of the leaders, visionaries, explorers, pioneers and people who make the big differences in this world have been or are people who would meet the characteristics of an ADD person. Hartmann's book explains it. if you are ADD or love someone who is, it wold be tragic for you to not know the ideas in this book.
If you listen to many of the "experts" on ADD/HD, people with this diagnosis are not only disordered, they are pathologically defective. Thom Hartmann went through this destructive labeling with his child, and came out of the dark tunnel with a new light-- people with ADD are Different-- Hunters in a Farmers world. And in many cases, they function better than the farmers... if the setting is right. This book should be required reading for parents of children with ADD and adults with ADD. It is a wonderful breath of fresh air for people who are feeling bad about the diagnosis and their future.
I'm a relatively successful person who is clearly ADD. Thom's way of thinking about it enables me, and my ADD daughter to be proud of our attentional differences. The human race evolved for millions of years as hunters, and for the last 10,000 years as farmers. What do you think evolution prepared us better for? This book will bolster your attitude for dealing with teachers and others who push Ritalin or other stimulants as a quick fix to your or your child's differences.
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33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 28, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Your reviewers experience: a few short years ago my youngest son was in real trouble. Skipping school and failing I had him tested at his therapist's request. Near genius IQ. In eight grade his math aptitude (which he failed through most of school) was above 12th grade. He was miserable and so was our family. In search of answers he was diagnosed as ADD. It was a dark dark time for me to the point I believed I might lose this child.

The book is a well written argument that the child is not defective, but rather these ADD "hunters" are forced into a "farmer" environment we have grown to demand of public school system children. It also offers helpful advice on how to deal with this issue.

The book allowed me to see that my son wasn't "broken" and if he had a disability it was because he was ill suited to the public school environment which demanded dull witted compliant students and wasn't interested at all in offering any alternative. Reading this book allowed me decide the world wasn't on my son's side, but I had to be, and have confidence that when I could help get him into a different environment it would be better.

I can now report he dropped out of high school, a thing I came to look forward to. He immediately went to take the GED and passed most scores with 99th percentile (nothing below 93rd percentile), finished his Eagle scout badge, and is starting his own craft business doing glass work. I believe the result could have been much different without the perspective of the author and thank him for it.
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