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The Disorganized Mind: Coaching Your ADHD Brain to Take Control of Your Time, Tasks, and Talents Paperback – December 23, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 112 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ratey has produced a valuable resource for people addressing the daily challenges caused by the neurobiological condition of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Symptoms of ADHD include difficulty with organization, focus, and time management. Ratey, a professional ADHD coach who was diagnosed with the disorder herself while in graduate school, provides a set of concrete tools that ADHD adults can use to help themselves traverse both personal and professional situations, though the author emphasizes that her book is not a substitute for diagnosis and treatment. Short sections explaining the biological reasons for the disorder's more exasperating symptoms are contributed by Ratey's husband John, a psychiatrist specializing in treatment of ADHD and co-author of Driven to Distraction, a seminal ADHD book. With a nod to her audience, Ratey divides her book into sections that can be absorbed in small increments, including her own struggles with the disorder, her six-step "A.N.S.W.E.R" system, case studies and tips from spouses and employers. For ADHD sufferers, Ratey's book might not be a one-stop remedy but it's an extremely helpful starting place.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Nancy Ratey, the queen-maven of coaching, has written a masterful and practical guide to the world of promoting peak performance and peace of mind through the power of coaching. The Disorganized Mind will make all who read it more successful, less stressed, and happier in their pursuit of their goals. This book is a total winner!” ―Edward Hallowell, M.D., co-author of Driven to Distraction and author of CrazyBusy

“In a very warm and personal style, Nancy Ratey, a true pioneer in the field, demonstrates the depth of her expertise and empathy for adults with ADHD. In her book, The Disorganized Mind, Ratey skillfully guides the reader through a potentially life changing process!” ―Sari Solden, MS, author of Women with ADD and Journeys through ADDulthood

“Well done! This book will really help ADDers understand what coaching is and how they can self-coach. It's a compassionate book clearly based on years of successful coaching experience. I'll recommend it to my clients.” ―Judith Kolberg, Award-winning professional organizer. Co-author, ADD-Friendly Ways to Organize Your Life

“Speaking as a mother of a child with LD and ADHD, I knew little about coaching prior to reading Nancy Ratey's extremely insightful book. I particularly liked the chapter on Time Mismanagement as I have seen first hand how challenging this can be. Nancy's book will inspire, and serve as an invaluable life guide for those who lead scattered, disorganized lives.” ―Anne Ford, Chairman Emeritus, National Center for Learning Disabilities and author of Laughing Allegra and On Their Own

“Through her years of experience coaching others with the disorder, Nancy Ratey has seen firsthand that people can change their lives. The book demonstrates the power of coaching and/or self-coaching and the difference it can make for those with ADHD.” ―From the Foreword by John J. Ratey, M.D., co-author of Driven to Distraction


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 Reprint edition (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312355343
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312355340
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,172 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Linda Hensens on September 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I bought this book because I was hoping that it would provide me with the necessary tools to calm my otherwise disorganized ADD mind. The book description on Amazon seemed to fit my situation perfectly, and I impulsively bought the book here on eBay. I thought that in a worst case scenario, I may pick up a tool or 2 that would help me somehow. My best case scenario of actually being able to USE the information was what I was shooting for.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I received this book and found that it would help me in numerous situations that I struggle with every day. If you have ADD/ADHD, then you would be familiar with the impulsivity, distraction, hyperfocusing, finanacial distasters, clutter in your home, and on and on. I deal with one or more of these situations every single day that rolls over my head. For me, it is very frustrating.

Nancy Ratey has ADD and dyslexia, and she has grown up with it all of her life. She has managed to carve out ways to deal with ADD through being a life coach for adults with ADD. This book is a testament to her abilities as a coach, along with client histories to show how she helped those clients conquer the very ADD symptoms that we all struggle with on a good day.

She developed the A.N.S.W.E.R. strategy that gives the reader a way to analyze what is working for them and what is not. My favorite part of the book is how she consistently teaches her clients and her readers to not look at ADD as a problem child, but rather look at it as a neurological condition that has to be managed. ADD patients are NOT a disease. We are all people, creative people, and we all deal with the same or similar situations in our every day world.
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Format: Hardcover
I found JackofMostTrades' review reasonable. Perhaps if he gave it one star, one might consider bias - but three stars for this book is very reasonable. I did have trouble finishing it - I guess I'm one of those that got bored half-way through. (Although for the sake of this review I have skimmed the rest) Personally I think everyone with ADD/ADHD should read the book, "A Perfect Mess." Guess what, being somewhat messy can actually be MORE efficient and productive than being a neat-nik. This understanding allows one to focus on those messy habits that truly lead to inefficiency rather than those that just make one's home ineligible to be displayed in Better Homes and Gardens. Reading that book first will help one ignore any inadvisable recommendations and proscriptions in Ms. Ratey's book (and there certainly are some.)

If one has ever set about to clean/organize a room/closet by emptying all the stuff out only to become overwhelmed and left with a greater mess than one began with, this book promotes a psychological equivalent. Yes in theory inventorying all aspects of one's life can help with priority setting - but in practice it's about as successful as organizing a room by dumping everything on the floor first.

It's not surprising that coaches would of course advocate for this book. (Note the vast majority of 5 star ratings are by coaches.) However, Jack is correct, there never has been a study showing the effectiveness of coaching in ADHD. Of course, coaches will like a book that promotes coaching. That doesn't mean there is any science behind it. For a non coach like me - I didn't find the book that useful.

The book doesn't really acknowledge/discuss that ADHD is not about having a disorganized mind but rather a differently organized mind.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am familiar with nearly every popular book written on the subject of ADD/ADHD, and I have to state I did not particularly like this one. I make the proviso that if you are newly diagnosed with ADD (and I'll assume it's an accurate diagnosis), and you don't know anything about the syndrome from a factual perspective or are not clear about the nature of or the way to address your own behaviors, perceptions, and thoughts, I suppose this book is OK. However, if you read it from cover to cover, it is, to me, quite paradoxical. Here's briefly why. The author provides so many behavioral suggestions--both technological (external) and cognitively-based (internal)--that to set up an environment to accommodate them all would be impossible. Notes on your computer, timers, signs, noises, reminders, calendars, diaries: the list goes on. Although the author begins by stating you have to find your own means to organize your life, this recommendation is soon swallowed up by a cacaphony of suggestions that no working person, at least, could follow. Another problem I found is that the book is very proscriptive regarding what is 'normal.' For example, if you have ADD and have a penchant for going into narratives instead of getting to the point, well, there's a mental reminder to change your communication style. But maybe the narrative IS an essential part of the point.

I understand that the book is meant for the educated, affluent (the author states that these make up the bulk of her clientele) and therefore must conform to a corporate style of managerial behavior, but there's too much and/or thinking in the suggestions. A book can be written that way, but a life is rarely lived that way. Anyone who works with others knows the best time managers are at the mercy of the unexpected.
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