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The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a…
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The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest…

by Dale Archer MD

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As the mother of a grown son who was diagnosed with ADHD, I have read quite a few books and articles over the years on the subject. I do not by any means consider myself an expert or even highly knowledgeable about ADHD other than my own experience. That said, I found this book to be a good encouragement for both those who are diagnosed or suspect they have ADHD as well as those of us who share their lives, whether parent, teacher, friend, or spouse.
Many books on ADHD focus on data and symptoms along with treatment options. Dr. Archer touches on some of that and also does the frequent current lament about the over diagnosis and treatment of children as well as the inability of schools to find adequate ways to adapt to different styles of learning. However, a large part of the book focuses on showing how the individual and those wishing to help them can turn the traits of ADHD from a disadvantage into an advantage. The author tells the stories of many people, including himself, who have learned to parlay these challenges into real success, often achieving high levels of recognition or satisfaction in their lives and careers. There are some specific tools that he identifies to help in different areas. I found many of these to be spot on with my experiences with my son. Thankfully, my son discovered some of these on his own, and through teachers and mentors along the way who encouraged some of his best qualities. One of his skills is the resilience that Dr. Archer describes as a frequent trait in the ADHD individual that comes from their recurring "failures" and can be transposed into a powerful strength. My son also shows a high degree of compassion which is another of the traits on which the author focuses.
Because Dr. Archer covers a broad range of current information, it is a great overview of what is known about ADHD. It is written particularly for the young adult or adult who is dealing with it, but is very helpful as well for parents and others who want to better understand. I recommend it for both. It brings a positive and uplifting outlook to something that is all too often incorrectly looked at as a disadvantage.
I thank the publisher and Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title. FYI: Although I share the last name of the author, I have no relation to him. ( )
  c.archer | Aug 13, 2015 |
The ADHD advantage is both frustrating and admirable, which would be the case for an ADHD educational/ self-help book! I thoroughly appreciated the positivity of the book, which focuses on the advantageous attributes of ADHD and nonlinear thinking such as the ability to be the 'Calm in Chaos' while at times hyper-focusing, multi-tasking with boundless energy and possessing the traits of Resilience, Sense of Humor and Charisma. When conversing about ADHD, it seems the negative is always the focus, such as restlessness, easy boredom, forgetfulness, etc., so this was a refreshing change. The toolkit at end of each section is fabulous, especially for those of us with ADHD relationships, and those of us with ADHD ourselves! Real life, personal stories & examples throughout the book lend to a flow, and keeps it interesting.

As a daughter of, and mother of, a 10+ ADHDer, I have seen the miraculous transformation of their psyche with medication. I would have liked to have seen something more on the positivity of an appropriately dosed medication regimen. As a country are we over-medicating? Absolutely, but that 's not in every case, and in those who are 10+ers, their lives are dramatically, and advantageously changed when they are able to focus long enough to employ strategies that help them live with their ADHD to their upmost ability. There is a time and place for medication, as many of your examples have stated, but a less judgmental view would have been nice for those of us who have experienced the torment of those who cannot function without it.

The strategies and mechanisms for functioning with ADHD that many use are imperative in order to survive and thrive in daily life, and have lent many successful situations, as I have personally witnessed along with the examples in the book. Bravo! If teachers and parents would employ some of these strategies with their students and children, many of the inferior feelings would disappear and a greater understanding of the advantages of this condition would shine through.

Finally, I agree with Dr. Archer that much more needs to be done in the realm of females and ADHD. Having experienced it, on a dramatic 10+ level with my mother and daughter, I can tell you there is a whole lot more to it than your textbook ADHD tale. I would implore anyone who works with ADHDers to delve more thoroughly into this topic, as it would save many in this half of our population.

In all, a worthy book, touting the positivity and advantages of ADHD which will lead to a greater understanding of the condition for those who read it.
  KimMcReads | Aug 10, 2015 |
There are many points that I agree with Dr Dale Archer in his book, The ADHD Advantage. I agree that it is over diagnosed, I agree that big Pharma is making a bucket full of money off of this diagnosis and I agree there is so much systemic change that can be made in schools, for example, to turn ADHD into a neutral condition rather than a detriment. What we need is the political, and therapeutic, will to do so. We should be able to celebrate difference's rather than punish and castigate. That's where my agreement ends. Otherwise, I thought this book was fairly shallow, muddled and at times, unprofessional. It seems inappropriate to diagnose yourself or make medication recommendations to others without seeing them personally. I have too many family members who have used medication that has helped, not hurt them. They didn't become zombies or robots but were able to become more productive and socially skilled; make friends, do their school work, etc. This was life-changing for them. Some of them talked about how grateful they were for it. For others, they hated being on medication and stopped taking it. In other words, it is complex and this book is too simplistic. At times I felt like I was reading the diaries of the rich and famous who have the means to make certain types of big changes while ordinary people do not. The chapter on schools seemed so superficial.. Has the author been in a typical city public school? They look nothing like the one he described and I think it is more important to put our collective wisdom together and make systemic change for all of our children that are not getting their needs met than the few who can pay for special schools. Dr Archer's assertion that ADHD is a gift, an advantage while ignoring the realities on the ground is unscientific, potentially dangerous and very simplictic. Let's look to see what political and therapeutic changes can be made around doctors and Big Pharma, end the over diagnosis of ADHA and also let's make sure that ordinary, everyday people who need intervention, medication and otherwise (especially in school) receive it without dramatizing how special and advantageous it is to have ADHD. I suspect most people with ADHD would do without all that specialness and just want to live a fulfilling, ordinary live like every one else.

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to review this book for an honest opinion ( )
1 vote Karen59 | Jul 28, 2015 |
A comprehensive contribution to the discussion of ADHD with role models who rose above their limitations and descriptive diagnostic with action plans for various character traits. Very useful for parents who have gone through the travail of ADHD with their children who are now ADHD adults... ( )
  mcdenis | Jul 23, 2015 |
If you’ve been diagnosed as ADHD, or have a strong suspicion that this diagnosis fits you to a T, then this book will definitely lift your self-esteem and make you feel very special…almost like you’re endowed with superpowers. And if you’re a parent of a child diagnosed with ADHD, then this book will encourage you not to medicate your child unless he or she is on the very high end of the spectrum. The reason for this is that you don’t want to rob these exceptional children of their inherent gifts…especially while they are still in a critical developmental stage. It’s all explained in detail in the book and I certainly don’t have the time in this review to go over that material here, even in summary. I believe the author does a good job of presenting this material in an enthusiastic and clear manner.

The point I’d like to make about this book is that I found it to be unbalanced. The author at times sounds like a cheerleader for the ADHD community. He’s diagnosed himself on the ADHD spectrum and his intense enthusiasm for the benefits of this syndrome often sound somewhat like narcissistic braggadocio.

Don’t get me wrong. I completely agree with the author that there are many positive benefits that people with ADHD possess that they can leverage into successful careers if they only had the self-awareness to recognize these powers and capitalize upon them. Where I take issue with the author is that the book is almost 95% about the advantages of ADHD and only 5% about the disadvantages. Thus the author gives tons of advice about how to recognize the hidden superpowers and exploit them in the world of commerce and business. What he does not spend much time on is this: 1) how to recognize and minimize the disadvantages, and 2) how to not end up being socially ostracized by friends, peers, and loved ones precisely because they get fed up having to deal with your negative traits.

In other words, this book is primarily about how to use your ADHD superpowers to make yourself into a financial and commercial success, but it does very little to help mitigate ADHD behavior to become a better friend. There is a small single chapter at the end that tackles how a person with ADHD can learn skills to become a better spouse, but there is little about how difficult it is for ADHD people to maintain long-lasting friendships. In fact, the author admits that most of his own friends fall into the category of people with whom he shares a temporary passion for an activity (e.g., bicycling, kayaking, etc.). Once the passion for that activity wanes, the “friends” disappear, too.

I do not have ADHD, but I’ve had have to deal all my life with an older sibling who has the syndrome in spades. As a result, I’ve developed tolerance, understanding, and coping skills; over the years, I’ve made lasting friendships with a large number of people outside the family with ADHD. Being a family member or close friend to someone with ADHD is not easy. It is never balanced. The person without the syndrome is always the one who must work extra hard to keep the relationship going. Often it is so exhausting and fraught with emotional pain that it is tempting just to abandon the relationship altogether.

People with ADHD do have superpowers. They need to feel good about themselves and be in a position to capitalize on their strengths. But they also need to be counseled throughout their lives on techniques to improve their self-awareness at being better friends and partners. These skills are surely as vital to the ADHD person’s overall wellness as skills that help them to succeed in the business world!

If I were a mother of an ADHD child, I’d take the author’s advice and not medicate except in extreme cases. But I’d also provide frequent psychological counseling to my child to help him or her learn skills to navigate the social world better. If you are an adult with ADHD and didn’t have this guidance as a child, I’m sure that just about any psychologist would be able to counsel you on what you need to learn about this in a half a dozen or more beneficial sessions…perhaps with follow-ups from time to time as specific problems arise.

Although this book is very good at selling you on the advantages of possessing a brain wired for ADHD, it is getting only three-stars from me because it should have been more balanced…especially in dealing with the social problems that this syndrome can cause. These social problems can often have a profound effect on the ADHD person’s ability to enjoy his or her life to the fullest. What good is it to be a big financial success if you don’t have long-lasting friends and a loving partner to enjoy your life along with you? What good is it being the life of the party if the friends you make this way do not end up being or staying your friends for long? ( )
  msbaba | May 10, 2015 |
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"Why ADHD could be the key to your success For decades physicians delivered the diagnosis of ADHD to patients as bad news and warned them about a lifelong struggle of managing symptoms. But The ADHD Advantage explodes this outlook, showing that some of the most highly successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and entertainers have reached the pinnacle of success not in spite of their ADHD but because of it. Although the ADHD stereotype is someone who can't sit still, in reality people with ADHD are endlessly curious, often adventurous, willing to take smart risks, and unusually resilient. They are creative, visionary, and entrepreneurial. Sharing the stories of highly successful people with ADHD, Dr. Archer offers a vitally important and inspiring new way to recognize ADHD traits in oneself or in one's loved ones, and then leverage them to great advantage--without drugs. As someone who not only has ADHD himself but also has never used medication to treat it, Dr. Archer understands the condition from a unique standpoint. Armed with new science and research, he hopes to generate public interest and even debate with his positive message as he guides the millions of people with ADHD worldwide toward a whole new appreciation of their many strengths and full innate potential"-- "For decades physicians delivered the diagnosis of ADHD to patients as bad news and warned them about a lifelong struggle of managing symptoms. But The ADHD Advantage explodes this outlook, showing that some of the most highly successful entrepreneurs, leaders, and entertainers have reached the pinnacle of success not in spite of their ADHD but because of it. Simply put, ADHD is a diagnosis of boredom. Although the ADHD stereotype is someone who can't sit still, in reality people with ADHD are endlessly curious, often adventurous, willing to take smart risks, and unusually resilient. They are creative, visionary, and entrepreneurial. Sharing the stories of highly successful people with ADHD, Dr. Archer offers a vitally important and inspiring new way to recognize ADHD traits in oneself or in one's loved ones, and then leverage them to great advantage--without drugs. As someone who not only has ADHD himself but also has never used medication to treat it, Dr. Archer understands the condition from a unique standpoint. Armed with new science and research, he hopes to generate public interest and even debate with his positive message as he guides the millions of people with ADHD worldwide toward a whole new appreciation of their many strengths and full innate potential"--… (more)

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