There are hundreds of books on ADD, most of them very condescending towards ADDers. I’ve listed only the more positive books here. My reviews are really short because amazon.com has plenty of “Reader Reviews” and a rating system for each book (click on the book title to see a synopsis and the reviews). I encourage my readers to leave their own reviews at amazon.com and to let me know about any good books that I’ve missed here.
I personally buy most of my books at amazon.com, but you can order them from any bookstore, and some may be available at the library. I’ve made about 40 purchases at amazon.com and had excellent service each time. They are also rated the number one online bookstore at consumer reports.com and gomez.com.
The Edison Trait: Saving the Spirit of Your Nonconforming Child (Dynamos, Discoverers and Dreamers) by Lucy Jo Pallidino. One of my personal favorites, this books describes “divergent thinkers” (about 20% of the population). The author believes that ADDers are included in this group.
The Mind of Boys: Saving our Sons from Falling Behind in School and Life by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, 2005. Most people diagnosed with ADHD are boys. The authors use hard evidence to show how boys’ brains work differently, how schools are designed for girls, and give practical advice on how to deal with it.
Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of Your ADD Child by Jeffrey Freed, M.A.T., and Laurie Parsons. I found this to be a fascinating book and especially important for parents whose children are having problems learning at school. Jeffrey Freed is an educational therapist and consultant who works exclusively with both gifted and ADD children, who he describes as visual rather than verbal thinkers. For example, using his unusual (but simple) approach to teaching spelling, I was surprised to hear my six-year old son quickly spell the word “exercise” forward and backwards out loud. Not only that, but I even know how to spell the word (after 38 years!). This book was recommended to me by several readers who say the methods espoused by the authors made a tremendous difference in their child’s ability to learn to read. See also In The Mind’s Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and The Ironies of Creativity by Thomas G. West.
Nurture By Nature: Understanding Your Child’s Personality Type and Become a Better Parent by Tieger & Tieger. Not specifically about ADD, but this is a Must Read for all parents of ADD kids. Many ADD traits can be explained by a child’s inborn and normal temperament: non-stop talking and interrupting, for example, is natural behavior for a strong extravert. This book explains temperament variation using the MBTI approach and gives you tips on how to deal most effectively with different temperament types. Excellent book.
The Myth of the ADD Child – 50 Ways to Improve Your Child’s Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion, by Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D., Plume, 1995. The book is not as radical as it sounds: The author concedes that some children (but only a few) require medication, and that many children are naturally prone to hyperactivity and attention differences. Armstrong differs from the mainstream in that he believes most of what is labeled ADD is not a singular “disorder.” Rather, it is behavior which can be modified, often by changing the environment instead of the child. The presumption is that the child is OK. Most of the book consists of practical tips.
I Know My Child Can Do Better: A Frustrated Parent’s Guide to Educational Options by Anne Rambo, Ph.D. This book offers parents tips on how to deal with the public school system as well as suggestions for kids who are having trouble learning, kids who are bored, and kids who can’t concentrate. It also has the best synopsis of the whole ADD-dilemma facing parents that I’ve seen so far in that it presents a complex picture rather than the simplistic and over-generalized views I usually read in the press.
Treating Huckleberry Finn by David Nylund. “Treating Huckleberry Finn offers a drug-free alternative to treating rambunctious children. Author David Nylund’s SMART approach is a five-step strategy to understanding, nourishing, and learning to control the millions of youngsters who have been unfairly branded with the diagnoses of attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.” I’m told this book actually references Born To Explore.
Living With the Active Alert Child: Groundbreaking Strategies for Parents
by Linda S. Budd. This book was recommended to me by a reader. This book “is for anyone who is confused, frustrated, and sometimes pushed to the limit by the seemingly uncontrollable behavior of their bright, lovable child. Author and psychologist Linda Budd offers hope, and helps parents and teachers see these highly intense children in a new light. Living with the Active Alert Child spells out the characteristics of ‘active alerts’ and teaches readers how to help these children thrive in school and family.”
Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer? by Dana Scott, Dr Spears, Ron L., Dr Braund This book was recommended to me by a reader. “Children with creative-sensitive personalities are imaginative and compassionate, and they possess a unique vision of life. However, they often feel misunderstood, are easily hurt by criticism, and can seem stubborn. This guide is designed to help parents know whether or not their child is a dreamer, and offers encouragement and advice for raising the dreamer child in an atmosphere where he or she can flourish.”
Beyond Ritalin: Facts About Medication and Other Strategies for Helping Children, Adolescents, and Adults With Attention Deficit Disorders, by Stephen W. Garber, Ph.D., Marianne Daniels Garber, Ph.D., and Robyn Freedman Spizman, Villard Books (Random House), 1996. The authors focus on practical strategies to improving problem behavior beyond simply handing out medication, although the authors are not opposed to meds.
Balktalk: 4 Steps to Ending Rude Behavior in Your Kids by Audry Ricker, Ph.D. and Carolyn Crowder, Ph.D., 1998. I found this to be the most practical book on discipline that I’ve seen, and the authors’ approach highly useful to parents of ADD kids, who respond to action rather than words. Very practical, with strategies that are easy to remember and really work.
Raising Your Spirited Child: a guide for parents whose child is more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, energetic by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka, 1991. The author unknowingly describes kids who are likely to meet the DSM IV criteria for ADD. She focuses on how to use positive terms to describe these kids and provides some tips for surviving as a parent. A bit like “The Edison Trait.”
The Parents’ Guide to Alternatives in Education, by Ronald E. Koetzsch Ph.D., 1997. Learn all about alternatives like homeschooling, Montessorri schools, Free schools, Essential Schools, and more.
The Wildest Colts Make the Best Horses by John Breeding, 1996. Many people have recommended this book to me, although I haven’t yet read it myself.
Talking Back to Ritalin : What Doctors Aren’t Telling You About Stimulants for Children by Peter Breggin, 1999. A controversial book recommended to me by quite a few people, although I haven’t read it.
Running on Ritalin: A Physician Reflects on Children, Society, and Performance in a Pill by Lawrence Diller, 1998. The author is a Pediatrician and Family Therapist who occasionally prescribes Ritalin but feels in most cases it’s not appropriate.
No More Ritalin: Treating Adhd Without Drugs, by Mary Ann Block, 1997. Readers at amazon.com gave this book excellent reviews, and the book is really cheap.
Being in Control, by Jason Mark Alster, is written for kids to read. There are lots of graphics, not too much reading, and each page offers very upbeat tips on how to relax, be positive, and focused. A particularly good book for kids who are uptight, agitated and feeling overwhelmed. Good coping skills for kids to learn.
Driven To Distraction, Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood through Adulthood, by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., and John J. Ratey, M.D., Touchstone – Simon & Schuster, 1995. This is considered by many to be “The Classic” and definitive book on ADD. What makes it different from other ADD books is the detailed case studies of ADDers (showing ADD in its various forms) rather than the short list of behavior problems common in most ADD books. One of the authors is ADD himself and prefers not to think of ADD as a ‘disorder.’
Books by Thom Hartmann: I highly recommend Hartmann books to all “Explorers” (or shall I say “Hunters”?). These books make you feel good about ADD, teach you how to change your own behavior and accept responsibility for your own actions.
Attention Deficit Disorder – A Different Perception, 1993. This popular and ground-breaking book launched the “Hunter in a Farmer’s World” way of looking at ADD. ADDers just love this book.
Beyond ADD — Hunting For Reasons In The Past & Present, 1996. In this book, Hartmann explores a variety of topics in nearly brain-storm fashion, such as our reliance on German-style schools and the affect of TV on kid’s attention spans. One of my favorites.
Healing ADD: Simple Exercises That Will Change Your Daily Life
1998. Another practical and positive book by Thom Hartmann.
ADD Success Stories – A Guide to Fulfillment for Families with ADD
Think Fast! The ADD Experience, Edited by Thom Hartmann & Janie Bowman with Susan Burgess, Underwood Books, 1996. A collection of writings by others.
Add and Creativity – Tapping Your Inner Muse by Lynn Weiss. For the ADD artist who can’t seem to get going (or who can get going but can’t finish the project!). The author acts as a coach and cheerleading squad to get you going. The book is NOT an essay about the connection between ADD and creativity, which is what I had been hoping for. But I think some people will enjoy it.
Moms with ADD: A Self-Help Manual by Christine A. Adamec. An upbeat book for harried mothers who feel pressured to be a super-organized Supermom. Includes a chapter on the good aspects of ADD, including creativity, sensitivity, curiosity, deep commitment to children, multitasking ability and more. I prefer this book to the next one because it is a bit more positive and doesn’t assume all women have the inattentive form of ADD.
Women With Attention Deficit Disorder — Embracing disorganization at home and in the workplace, by Sari Solden, MS, MFCC, . This is an excellent book for any woman who has ADD, or thinks she might have ADD, without hyperactivity. For those women with hyperactivity, the book may be a bit of a disappointment, although there is still good information on how ADD affects women differently than men, like how we’re supposed to be inherently organized and really enjoy doing repetitive tasks all day long.
The Pathfinder : How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success by Nicholas Lore. I’ve been told this book is written by an ADDer and is the second best selling book on careers in the world. The book shows how traits that are liabilities in one career might be an advantage in another. It incorporates MBTI temperament theory and a whole lot more, and is really more like a very involved workbook to use at a time when you’re looking for a new career path.
The Added Dimension : Celebrating the Opportunities, Rewards, and Challenges of the Add Experience by Kate Kelly, Peggy Ramundo, D. Steven Ledingham, 1998. I haven’t read this book yet but it sounds interesting.
The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. Some ADDers will identify with the book quite a bit, especially the more introverted ones, but some of the extraverts as well.
Undoing Depression : What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You
by Richard O’Connor. Author’s quote: “I wanted to write a book to address the issue of preventing depression. The emphasis is too often focused on treatment after someone has hit rock bottom. There is a sense that depression is something that happens to you without warning. I disagree. I think there is a warning – that people do lead a depressed lifestyle before they feel depressed – and that people should be encouraged to believe there is a lot they can do to avoid hitting bottom and to make their recovery much faster.”
Beyond Prozac : Brain-Toxic Lifestyles, Natural Antidotes & New Generation Antidepressants by Michael J., M.D. Norden. “The drug Prozac, while useful for millions, supplements a process that occurs naturally in all humans. In this book, Norden, a pioneer in developing applications for Prozac, looks at natural processes to supplement or replace the drug in the treatment of depression. By allowing for our natural cycles and mental needs, we may be able to increase our mental health naturally. The author also looks into other new anti-depressants which may offer advantages over Prozac in the treatment of depression.”
Nature’s Prozac : Natural Therapies and Techniques to Rid Yourself of Anxiety, Depression, Panic Attacks & Stress by Judith Sachs, Lendon H. Smith. Reader review: “This book was easy to read and offered viable solutions to a variety of emotional states such as fear, anxiety, depression, stress,etc. A wide range of alternative choices were offered such as yoga, herbal remedies, meditation and others. The author encourages the reader to use the therapy that feels the most comfortable. This book is easy to read and every time I have read it, I have always felt more hopeful and reassured. I highly recommend it.”
Books on MBTI Temperament Theory
Please Understand Me — Character & Temperament Types, by David Keirsey & Marilyn Bates. A classic. I read the whole book in one sitting, and have reread several parts over since then. The writing style may be a bit obtuse for some people, however. Parts of the book are online at the official Keirsey website.
Nurture By Nature: Understanding Your Child’s Personality Type and Become a Better Parent by Tieger & Tieger. Long descriptions of each of the sixteen temperament types in children. One of my favorites: well written and easy to read. Very down-to-earth, practical and useful.
Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets
of Personality Type by Paul D. Tieger, Barbara Barron-Tieger, 1995. After reading this book I have a better understanding as to why I keep getting bored at my work.
Type Talk at Work/How the 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on
the Job by Otto Kroeger, Janet M. Thuesen. This book helps you learn to interact more effectively and understand your coworkers better. I haven’t read it yet.
Worktypes by Jean M. Kummerow, Nancy J. Barger (Contributor), Linda K. Kirby (Contributor). Another book that sounds interesting. Hmmm, maybe I’ll buy it.
Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence
by David Keirsey, Ray Choiniere, 1998. This is a new and expanded version of the original Please Understand Me, longer, updated, more detailed. Mixed reviews.
Gifts Differing: Understanding Personality Type by Isabel Briggs Myers, Peter B. Myers, the originators of the MBTI approach to Jungian temperament theory. An alternative to Please Understand Me.
Books About Creativity, Intelligence and The Mind
In The Mind’s Eye: Visual Thinkers, Gifted People With Dyslexia and Other Learning Difficulties, Computer Images and The Ironies of Creativity by Thomas G. West. I think most people who are ADD will understand this book. The author uses the term dyslexia to mean all people who are relatively weak verbally. The same people are very often spatial thinkers, that is, they have an entirely different way of thinking. Instead of serial, linear thinking and remembering details, they are global thinkers who are quick to pick up concepts, relationships, and they are good creative problem solvers. He profiles eleven historic figures, including Einstein, Edison, da Vinci and Churchill.
Touched with Fire: Manic – Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament, by Kay Redfield Jamison, 1993. A fascinating look at how often great creative achievements are linked with bipolar disorders.
Art, Mind & Brain – A Cognitive Approach to Creativity, by Howard Gardner
Multiple Intelligences – A Theory in Practice, by Howard Gardner, Basic Books, 1993.
Creating Minds, An Anatomy of Creativity Seen Through the Lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi, by Howard Gardner, $14.40 Basic Books, 1993.
The Mathematician’s Mind – The Psychology of Invention in the Mathematical Field, by Jacques Hadamard, 1945. An older book, but a classic.
Music, the Brain, and Ecstasy – How Music Captures Our Imagination, by Robert Jourdain, 1997.
The Cerebral Code – Thinking a Thought in the Mosaics of the Mind, by William H. Calvin, The MIT Press, 1996.
Mapping the Mind – The Secrets of the Human Brain and How It Works, by Joel Davis, Birch Lane Press, 1997
Diet, Nutrition and Allergies
Your Miracle Brain by Jean Carpenter, March 2000. The author discusses recent studies pertaining to nutrition and the brain, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fatty acids. There is also a discussion of some herbal remedies like Gingko Biloba. Some reviews by important sounding people:
Norman Rosenthal, M.D., Research Scientist, National Institute of Mental Health “Your Miracle Brain is a dazzling achievement. It turns complex, scientific research into exciting and fascinating reading that will give hope and comfort to millions of people.”
Denham Harman, M.D., Emeritus Professor of Medicine, University Of Nebraska Medical Center “A beautifully written, authoritative, informative book of extraordinary interest to everybody. Sure to be a bestseller and deserves to be.”
Smart Fats: How Dietary Fats and Oils Affect Mental, Physical and Emotional Intelligence” by Michael A. Schmidt. There is so much valuable information in this book I found myself wanting to reprint every chapter on the web for my readers. Clearly written, fascinating, and it’s not a “pop” book.
Is This Your Child? Discovering and Treating Unrecognized Allergies in Children and Adult by Doris Rapp, M.D. An excellent book that describes the types of reactions people can have to foods and other substances, including hyperactivity, behavior problems, learning problems, difficulties concentrating and others. A very heavy book with lots of important details and case studies.
Why Can’t My Child Behave? The Feingold Diet Updated for Today’s Busy Families. This book tells you all about the Feingold Diet and how people can react to certain food additives and a natural substance related to aspirin found in many fruits.
The ADD Nutrition Solution : A Drug-Free Thirty-Day Plan by Marcia Zimmerman. Decent reviews, but I haven’t yet read it. “Attention deficit disorder is a nutritional deficiency, not a psychological condition. This is the revolutionary discovery Marcia Zimmerman made during her ten years of research as a nutritional biochemist. That conclusion led her to develop a diet that addresses the specific needs of the 17 million adults and children suffering from ADD.”
The Omega Plan, by Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D. and Jo Robinson, 1998, contains lots of information about Omega-3 fatty acids and their relationship to various diseases and conditions like cancer and heart disease, as well as recipes and fatty acid information for some common foods. I was glad I bought this book: The authors explained clearly many things which I had run across but didn’t quite understand.
Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases. This book was written in 1959 by Dr. Johanna Budwig, nominated seven times for the Noble Peace Prize for her pioneering work with fats. I found reading this book much like reading Rachael Carson’s “Silent Spring”, the book that first warned about pesticides like DDT. That her warnings have been ignored by the medical mainstream for forty years is almost a crime.
Beyond Prozac: Brain-Toxic Lifestyles, Natural Antidotes & New Generation Antidepressants by Michael J. Norden, M.D. This book includes a discussion of how diet profoundly affects one’s emotional health.
The Zone, by Barry Sears, Ph.D. , and the official Zone website. “The Zone” refers to a 40-30-30 balance (carbohydrates-protein-fat) in which the intake of oils is carefully monitored, mostly by using lots of olive & fish oil and avoiding other types of fats.