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Top 5 Adult ADHD Books

Updated on July 30, 2015

"We must seek to understand before we can be understood"

- Stephen Covey


Infographic for Top 3 Adult ADHD Books


You Can't Fix What You Don't Understand

  • Are you confused by your ADHD?
  • Do you wonder if you can ever be successful?
  • Is work and school very difficult?
  • Do you feel like you will never get ahead?

You are not alone. As research has advanced the myths and thoughts about ADHD have changed greatly. In years past, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) was thought to be only a child hood disease, children with ADHD were believed to always be hyperactive, and ADHD was thought to be a disability. Over the last few years, mental health research has made great strides in understanding the ADHD mind.

We have learned that ADHD:

  • ADHD is not a disorder but a set of genetic traits passed down from our ancestors.
  • ADHD does not stop at childhood
  • ADHD comes with as many potential benefits as it does drawbacks.

These are just a few of the lessons we have learned. Whether you are an adult with ADHD or a family member of a person with ADHD, these five books are essential for your personal library and understanding ADHD.

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The ADHD Book That Changed My Life

Driven to Distraction should be the primer for ADHD. In face, many people believe that Driven to Distraction is such a primer. This book is written by two psychiatrists living with ADHD. It was the book that opened my eyes to the possibility of ADHD. I attribute this book to saving my life and making any success possible. Without this book, I would still be bouncing around in life, wondering why I am not like anyone else.

I was introduced to this book by a co-worker. We were working one day and she asked me if I had been diagnosed with ADHD. I told her that I didn't believe it existed. The next day she brought this book in. It took me five pages to believe in ADHD. I saw myself in these pages. It was two weeks later that I met with a psychiatrist and was diagnosed.

This book is written to where anyone can understand it. It is not in medical jargon. It does not talk down to you. It is simply written by two people who are trying to educate everyone. Anyone can pick up this book and understand ADHD. You are taken through case stories and examples. Whether you have ADHD or love someone who does, you need to read this book. It will help understand what ADHD encompasses and how it affects a person.

Dr. John Ratey Interview


Find Out Where ADHD Actually Came From

The origins of ADHD are highly contested. Some believe that ADHD is a set of learned behaviors. Some blame ADHD on bad parenting. There are many other ideas such as genetics, bad diet, immunizations, and many others. The debate about ADHD's origins is almost as contested as "which came first, the chicken or the egg?" In The Edison Gene, Dr. Hartman puts this debate to rest. Dr. Hartman shows us that ADHD is as old as humans themselves. ADHD is not a mental disorder at all but a set of traits used in hunter/gatherer societies.

The Edison Gene explains that ADHD is actually a set of genetic traits used by our ancestors. In hunter and gatherer societies hunters possessed certain traits. They were able to scan their whole environment while hunting (they didn't focus on one thing). They had a diminished fight or flight response. This allowed them to face large animals without being paralyzed by fear. These are just two examples of genetic traits that make up ADHD.

The Edison Gene explains why there are a multitude of Famous People with ADHD. These people have been highly successful. Their success has not been in spite of their ADHD. It has been because of the benefits their ADHD gives them. is a must read for anyone with ADHD because it explains why we do what we do. Knowing the origin our ADHD allows us to understand what it is, why we have it, and how we can better deal with it. It also helps us to understand that we are not "abnormal". Anyone with ADHD should add this book to their library. A comprehensive explanation of ADHD and the hunter/gatherer genescan be found here.

How ADD Can Save the World (1/4)


Questions You Were Too Scared to Ask

Answers to Distraction is the third book by Drs. John Ratey and Edward Halliwell. I bought the book because of my enjoyment of their first book, Driven to Distraction. Drs. Hallowell and Ratey also are uniquely qualified to not only answer questions about but also know which questions people with ADHD ask. They are both medical doctors that were diagnosed with ADHD. This has led them to establish a center for ADHD and spend their careers researching ADHD.

Answers To Distraction is culmination of decades of ADHD work. Drs. Ratey and Halliwell list ADHD questions that they are repeatedly asked. Providing the same answers to you as they give to their ADHD patients. Answers to Distraction will not replace visiting a psychiatrist. Answers to Distraction will highlight questions you may not even know to ask.


Tired of Fighting Your ADHD Kid?

Learn More Now

Learning is the basis of American life. As our country moves from an industrial to knowledge based society, success is no longer measured in how many hours you work. Being able to stand at a machine for 16 hours a day and make parts no longer guarantees a job. Too many employers do not care how long you have worked for them or how loyal you have been. Staying consistently employed and making a living for your family is dependent on how much knowledge you have and how you can apply that knowledge. Learn More Now is directly related to these needs.

Learn More Now is the first non-ADHD book on my list. However, Learn More Now provides valuable information to assist you in learning and applying new skills. I have found that the more I learn about myself, the more I am able to harnessing the hidden gifts of ADHD. A large part of this knowledge comes from reading and researching ADHD itself. Another part of this knowledge is learning more about the other parts of my life.

Not everyone is motivated by the same things. Everything we do is because we are motivated to do it. Often, we do not even think about what is motivating us. Motivation becomes important we are faced with a task that we are not interested in. Learning whether you are goal, relationship, or learning motivated? Learn More Now does not just identify your motivational style, it also provides style specific coping mechanisms. These mechanisms will help you identify ways to harness your motivational style to learn more and get more done.


Learning the ADHD Sub-Types

As mentioned earlier, a plethora of misconceptions surround ADHD. Several misconceptions stem from the belief that ADHD is ADHD, is ADHD. That every person should show a certain set of ADHD symptoms. Since ADHD symptoms do vary from person to person, some state that ADHD is not a mental condition at all but a learned set of behaviors. Healing ADHD shows how wrong this thinking is.

Healing ADHD shows that there are actually six types of ADHD. Healing ADHD is a must read for anyone who knows someone with ADHD, has a family member with ADHD, or has ADHD themselves. Healing ADHD explains why ADHD seems to leave at adult hood for some but sticks with others their whole lives. 

Dr. Amen Redifined ADHD Types

Traditionally, the DSM states there are three types of ADHD. Dr. Amen's work challenges this. He has proven there are 7 types of ADHD. He was able to do this by looking at brain scans. He studied what parts of the brain are active for different ADHD patients. He found seven different Ostend. He discusses these seven types in healing ADHD.

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Used under Creative Commons License | Source


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    • embee77 profile image

      embee77 7 years ago

      Your book recommendations are wonderful. I've read most of them and appreciate your take that ADD is just a "way of being." Yet it does cause problems, without a doubt. We are fortunate to have so much information out there, and coaches, and seminars, etc. If you haven't read Ratey's book, Spark, I recommend it for your list. Thanks for the info. You might like to check out my take on all this, too, in my hubs. I found out I had it when I was 40. What a journey!