- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Sterling (November 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781454920762
- ISBN-13: 978-1454920762
- ASIN: 1454920769
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Overcoming Distractions: Thriving with Adult ADD/ADHD Paperback – November 1, 2016
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About the Author
An entrepreneur at heart, he owns Street Smart PR/Video, a small public relations and video marketing firm. Over the years, David has owned other small businesses including a karate school, as well as a popular restaurant in suburban Boston. With the exception of twelve years, he has always been self-employed as an adult.
As a person with ADHD, he feels ADHD has always fueled his desire to be his own boss. For him, ADHD has given him a creative and energetic edge in the business world. In writing Overcoming Distractions, he set out to find others who also felt that ADHD was, in fact, a gift if managed properly. David has always been driven to create his own path to success, and he wanted to tell the stories of other successful people with ADHD.
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Other than that, this is an odd book without a lot of concrete advice for how to overcome distractions. The author uses a lot of personal anecdotes in his writing to talk about how he achieved success despite ADHD, but his takeaways in his own careers don't go beyond the surface. These anecdotes feel a lot like when an interviewer asks you "What is an example of something you had to overcome?" and you quickly spin an answer that puts you in the best light. There's a paragraph about how he jumped from one job to a completely different one, and the message is basically: "It was a success! And then it wasn't. But I learned a lesson!"
And it's perhaps this sort of spin that really reveals that the author is primarily a PR professional. This isn't a bad thing, or a judgement at all, but there's a strong sense of promotion — as in "Look, I'm successful! Here are my achievements." — instead of going into the nitty gritty, or even going into specifics. If your expertise on the topic is basically made up of your experience, then it's odd to read a short paragraph about a failed business venture that sounded pretty significant, then devote more pages to your current successes (but even these won't tell you the specific methods or systems he used to be successful).
This is also a problem with the many quotes from other experts or successful people who have ADHD. There's a lot of empty quotes that essentially say: "You gotta do what works for you!" Speaking as something with ADHD, my response is "I wouldn't be reading a book if I knew what works for me." When you do learn something substantive, it's only briefly covered — like the "mind dump" technique from one successful professional. It's where you write everything going on in your head. This is definitely helpful advice. But as soon as this method is described, there's a quote that says: "If it doesn't work, you have to try another system!" And that's that.
Some of the anecdotes from others also lack helpful takeaways. He interviews a professional with ADHD who had a very impressive background, racking up a degree at Harvard and all sorts of honors. If you're interested in finding out how he developed a system that allowed him to get into Harvard or keep up with the workload at Harvard, you'll learn that his secret to success was joining an acapella singing group on campus. Again, not a bad thing to learn, since novel activities can be stimulating to the ADHD brain. But, how did he find time to do acapella? How did he not just spend all his time on his extracurricular instead of his schoolwork? So many questions. Then, we learn about this particular person's current system, which is waking up super-early. It's acknowledged that ADHDers can have a tough time with getting up or maintaining a schedule, but you won't get any concrete advice on how to get to that point, aside from "Well you just have to do it!" If we could do it, we wouldn't be reading this.
In general, this is a disappointing read for those who are looking for concrete advice and will leave you with more questions than answers. It's also disappointing because it was such a missed opportunity — the author has an interesting background, the interviews are with interesting people, anecdotes are always a helpful way to learn about systems, but it just never goes beyond the surface.