I've known about my ADHD for a very long time (since I was 7 - I'm now 23). I've had better and worse moments throughout my life, but my recent step into "REAL!" adulthood and living on my own has, at times, brought out the worst in my motivation, distractibility, and organization. These issues pushed me to look for books that would not only explain my situation (hopefully from a new perspective), but also give me concrete, useful, and detailed solutions/ideas to fix said issues. I saw this book when I was searching, but decided not to buy it and ordered two others instead. Two days later, while babysitting, I saw this exact book sitting on the shelf. I pulled it out once the kid went to sleep to see if I had missed out by not buying it. I didn't read the entire thing in the few hours I had, but I got through most of it pretty thoroughly, and skimmed the parts I didn't get to. So with that being said, take my review with a grain of salt: I did not read it cover to cover. I read enough, however, to feel that I could give a relatively decent and intelligent review.
(-) From an aesthetic standpoint, this is not really an ADHD-friendly book. I was on my medication and I wasn't even able to read entire chapters without wanting to skip through crap. It's just page after page after page of text, which gets really boring really fast. Big things that bothered me: (A) There are no chapter summaries. (B) There are no chapter previews. With chapters as long and dense as his are, having at least one of these two things (previews/summaries), if not both, would have been REALLY helpful. (C) I didn't find the ways in which the sub-sections of chapters were organized all that helpful. I wasn't sure when (or if) to expect them in any chapter, and I was never sure what they would be about (more on this in my next point). There was also, at times, so much text between sections of the sub-sections that I didn't even remember what he was talking about to begin with. It doesn't have to look like a children's book, with colors and pictures and cartoon turtles holding signs listing the five main points, but honestly? ....I wouldn't say "no" to a turtle or two, as long as it succinctly summarized what it took the author seven pages to explain, because the information was generally good!
(-) Maybe it's just me, but I needed more structure to the chapters. They read like stories, which is great, except that I was never really able to get a firm grasp on (and continue to remember) the point of each chapter while I was reading it. It felt like I was reading Huckleberry Finn (or whatever) for school; I'd finish an enjoyable chapter, but then suddenly have to figure out the overlying theme. Huck sailed down the river, yes, but WHY?! WHAT DOES IT MEAN?! It's been about 3 hours since I last looked at the book, and all I really remember content-wise are a bunch of unrelated case study stories. I know there were themes to each chapter, but I didn't feel like I GOT them, if that makes sense. (And for the record, because I know I would think it if I were reading this, I don't struggle with reading comprehension or anything like that.)
(+/-) Oh, and about the case studies... DANG there are a lot of them. The (+) about this: yes, it is comforting and reassuring to see myself in some of these examples and stories. I recognize my problems in someone else's story, and go "Oh thank God, I'm not alone!" They were also pretty entertaining. At first. Then they started to get old... The (-) about this: they got old. There are only so many times I can go "OH YAY, I'M NOT ALONE!!!". Eventually I start saying, "Okay... soooooo can you give me some LEGITIMATE ways to deal with the problems these people are having? How did they fix them??" Story after story doesn't give me solutions; it tells me that someone had problems, and then they were fixed! Hurrah! He talks about some solutions for this stuff at the end of the book, but.... we have ADHD... by the time we get to the end of the bok, we can't remember the case studies well enough to connect them with the proposed solutions. It would have been much more helpful if he added the solutions to each of the case study's problems at the end of each case study (or chapter) AND a big "summary solution" chapter at the end.
(-) I honestly don't think I've ever said this about an author because I don't think m/any do something like this on purpose, and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt, but I sorta felt like he was just showing me all the great examples of how he has successfully helped people with ADHD via case study stories. It was almost like guarded previews of where 15 therapy sessions with him might get you. The issue I have with this is that it's discouraging, to me. It was like, "Hey look - these people were successful after sessions in therapy with me and practicing good habits they learned in therapy, and this and that, and also the other, and...." It was deceptive, because at first I felt like I WAS getting something out of all his case study stories! But then, the more I thought about what I was reading, the more I felt like I WASN'T getting anything out of it. I was getting bits and pieces of things he had done with clients, and suggestions (keep a strict schedule, slowly incorporate new routines into your current one, etc.) but never the whole thing. Maybe that's just a personal problem though, haha.
(-) Didn't feel like the book actually gave me any good solutions for the symptoms ADHD. He suggests that you tell your boss about it to improve your work experience, but then doesn't tell you how. HOWWWW?! Seriously! It would be important to know HOW to tell the guy who SIGNS YOUR PAYCHECKS that you might be "screwing up" (per se) all the time... arriving late, turning things in late, forgetting meetings, etc. Yes, your boss needs to know. How do you tell him?!? The author suggests to be patient, be prepared to counter misconceptions, etc., and that's all fine and dandy, but it really doesn't tell me a damn thing that I don't already know. Also, "keep lists" and "stick to a schedule", etc. ....yeah, if those worked I wouldn't be here looking for a book to help me. Normal people do that without problems. ADHD people can't do that without problems. Tell me HOW do to that without having problems.
So ultimately, I don't think this is a bad book. Am I glad I didn't buy it? Yes. I feel like I didn't get enough structured and concrete examples/explanations of how to solve my ADHD problems, which is what I was expecting to get. It more felt like I was being comforted for not being alone with my problems, and that they are solvable through being organized by keeping a schedule in a planner! Maybe it's just a difference of what I needed vs. what this book gave me, or maybe I just missed all the good parts, or missed all the parts that actually included the things I disliked about the book. I am indeed looking for very specific advice about how to deal with the issues I'm having, and maybe this book just isn't that. For what it's worth, I did order (and am very excited to receive) Organizing Solutions for People With Attention Deficit Disorder: Tips and Tools to Help You Take Charge of Your Life and Get Organized
, which is much different than this book. But regardless of what I am/was looking for, I quite honestly didn't find this book all that helpful. It was an enjoyable read for the stories, and had some useful information, but I feel like it was lacking somewhat.
I do, however, appear to be in the minority, so maybe it's just me :)