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Delivered from Distraction

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Delivered from Distraction

Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder


15 min read
10 take-aways
Text available

What's inside?

If you have ADD, you already know it can be a curse. Did you know it could also be a blessing?

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable


All educators, HR professionals and parents should read this book, along with those who are concerned that they might have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Doctors Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey obviously know what they are talking about: Both have coped with ADD and flourished, in part due to it. They share case studies that illustrate how harrowing life with ADD can be, but they never relinquish their supportive tone. In fact, the book is so reassuring, and so consistently champions the possibilities of treatment and a successful life, that this advocacy is probably its main (though minor) weakness. The authors sound a positive note so strongly that it may overstate the case. This is most evident when cheering the successes of children with ADD, and schools that support them. That one fleck of salt aside, this book is very careful. It discusses the possibilities, even the likelihoods, of misdiagnoses. It reviews mainstream treatments, other treatments for which much professional experience but few studies exist, and new or experimental treatments for which little data exists, describing each and distinguishing among them. Given that it is organized to take the target audience’s needs into account, and full of rich metaphors and personal asides, getAbstract finds this book as pleasant as it is useful.


What is ADD?

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is a complex condition, a collection of traits, rather than a single defining characteristic. People with ADD are distractible, impulsive and restless. Sometimes they jump from one thought to another; sometimes they stay hyperfocused. They are often frustrated, especially by the gap between their good ideas and what they actually accomplish, in their attempts to explain themselves to others, and in their achievements at work or school. They tend to be inconsistent, disorganized and uneven. They find it hard to learn from experience, or, more generally, to stay anchored in the present or a single topic. If these traits sound familiar, you’re right. Everybody feels or acts this way sometimes. It’s just that people with ADD live this way more often and to a much greater extreme. Everyone’s mind wanders during a dull lecture, but it comes back, especially if the subject is important; someone with ADD might find his or her mind wandering and never focusing back, even when a lot is at stake.

What Does ADD Do to You – and for You?

Having ADD is like driving a race car with an extremely powerful engine. Your ADD lets your...

About the Authors

Edward M. Hallowell and John J. Ratey are doctors who have ADD. Both served on the faculty at the Harvard Medical School. In 1995, they co-authored Driven to Distraction (also on ADD), and each has independently published other books and articles.

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