by Lara Honos-Webb
New Harbinger, 2008
Review by Rob Harle on Apr 21st 2009
This book is an absolute gem. A must read for all adult sufferers of ADD (ADHD), and especially their partners, associates and close friends. It is a well written, fast-paced, popular style, self-help book easily accessible to everyone. Even full-on ADD folks, who find it difficult to read for long periods at a time, will find this book easy to get through because of its layout and structure.
The Gift of Adult ADD: How To Transform Your Challenges & Build On Your Strengths consists of ten chapters divided into two sections. Listed are the catchy and at times provocative titles to help convince sceptical ADD readers that this really is a special book for them. It is not a boring, long-winded, academic theoretical study by clinicians for clinicians that don't suffer from ADD.
Part 1 – Getting Ready To Rumble
Ch. 1 – "Is It Me or Is the Whole World ADD?"
Ch. 2 – Find Your Sweet Spot
Ch. 3 – In the Workplace: Now Patch Up Weaknesses
Ch. 4 – Relationships, Parenting, and ADD
Part 2 – The Five Gifts of Adult ADD
Ch. 5 – Creativity: Cultivate Your Daydreams
Ch. 6 – The Trailblazer: The Gift of Ecological Consciousness
Ch. 7 – Interpersonal Intuition
Ch. 8 – Translate Hyperactivity into Exuberance
Ch. 9 – Your Emotionally Expressive Gifts
Ch. 10 – Promise and Pitfalls
Lara Honos-Webb, herself a sufferer of ADD, has drawn on many years of formal study and experience treating ADD to write this important book. It is written in such a way that it is both engaging and fun to read, but also presents practical ways for ADD sufferers to recognise and come to terms with their "gift"; learn through self-determined exercises how to better live in the world; and how to use their gift to make exceptional contributions to society.
Throughout the book Honos-Webb relates remarkable stories of individuals who have turned the characteristics of ADD into positive attributes that have helped them succeed way beyond normal expectations. As she mentions herself, this book does not prescribe a carte blanche attitude to using ADD as an excuse to behave in an irresponsible or anti-social manner and then say the ADD made me do it. "The gifts ADD confers do not eliminate the many challenges and failures that will be faced by an individual in a culture that does not value differences. Even with success, you may always feel like the proverbial round peg in a square hole". "For every wildly successful ADD businessperson, there is one who lands in prison for tax evasion – whether due to disregard for details or pure recklessness". (p. 199-200)
Honos-Webb's main thrust is to help individuals minimize the negative effects of ADD and maximise the positive ones. This brings about a win-win situation where both ADD individuals are empowered, feel truly worthwhile and also others they associate with don't have to endure the, at times, intolerable impatience, raving, and scattered tornado-like energy.
The book discusses some rather novel and speculative insights, over and above the factual research based information, concerning the benefits to our society and economies by engaging the very special innovative talents of those with ADD. As an example; China produces excellent engineers but does not produce technology creators. If they fail to do this they will simply keep producing the technology conceptually designed in Western countries like the US, Europe and Australia. They need to cultivate the talents of those with ADD to show the way, in other words those who can and do naturally "think outside the box". (p. 216)
Honos-Webb's final advice to ADD folks is, "to live within your own personal ADD zone. This means giving yourself permission to mix it up, live outside the box, and most of all, respect your big ideas". (p. 219) She is author of a number of other books concerning ADD and ADHD specifically, The Gift of ADHD and The Gift of ADHD Activity Book. I honestly believe adult ADD sufferers who have only recently become aware of their so called "mental illness" will find this book a revelation. Its benefit to young adult sufferers (17 to 25 year olds) cannot be overestimated; I only wish I could have read such a book when I was this age.
© 2009 Rob Harle
Rob Harle is an artist and writer, especially concerned with the nature of consciousness and high-body technologies. His current work explores the nature of the transition from human to posthuman, a phenomenon he calls the technoMetamorphosis of humanity. He has academic training in philosophy of mind, comparative religious studies, art and psychotherapy. Rob is an active member of the Leonardo Review Panel. For full biography and examples of art and writing work please visit his web site: http://www.robharle.com