by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole
Simon & Schuster, 2000
Review by Prem Dana Takada, B.B.Sc. (Hons) MA Clin Psych. on Oct 27th 2001
I was attracted to the title of this book in the hope of further
understanding and learning novel solutions for the challenges
associated with living with a Learning Disability and ADHD. What
I actually received was not so much a novel approach as a combination
of inspirational ideas and a series of boring but incredibly useful
facts on the "how to" of studying.
In Part 1 of the Book- "Deviant Minds" Jonathon Mooney
and David Cole relate their story. We get a close-up of the pain
and trauma of having learning problems in a tightly run educational
system that values the 3 R's over uniqueness in learning styles/personhood.
We are introduced to "Leo the late bloomer", a lion
from a children's book who "couldn't do anything right. He
couldn't read and he couldn't write". The anger and shame
are graphically depicted amidst the constant implication of stupidity.
Part 1 is inspirational since Leo does bloom-and gets into Brown
University and both David and Jonathon demonstrate that they are
far from average. In this first section they also advocate exploring
your past and doing a personal review of your educational history-
both the victories and the wounds.
In Part 2 "Schooled" we are moved onto the "how
to" section. This involves a myriad of tips that in and of
itself requires quite a bit of study and focus to absorb. This
makes up the bulk of the book and emphasizes demystifying the
educational process and individualizing your education. A lot
of tremendously useful ideas here - i.e. it's a good idea to skim
(they caught me on that one); when reviewing your writing, color-code
for relevance; and a lot of information about personalizing your
note taking system so that it enhances it's meaning and organization
for you. Throughout this section the authors continue to challenge
the standard teaching morality that values form i.e. grammar/sentence
construction over content and ideas. As in the first
section, there is a lot of psychological content here i.e. what
to say to the critical voices in your head telling you that you
can't write and tips on dispelling the myth of perfectionism.
It is clearly written in largely a conversational style utilizing
a boxed highlights format.
In Part 3 their thesis is reiterated - "the act of self reflection
is an act of defiance. We are not taught to look inward for guidance,
but outward to our academic success for approval and acceptance".
Overall, an excellent text for college students who have ADHD
or a Learning Disability. Actually a great book for anyone who
has been negatively effected by the legacy of his or her education.
Learning Outside of the Lines is really about living with passion
instead of shame, daring to live a "life less ordinary".
© 2001 Prem Dana Takada
Prem Dana Takada, B.B.Sc. (Hons) M.A. Clin Psych, originally trained as a Clinical Psychologist in Melbourne, Australia where she also acquired registration as a Family Therapist. After leaving Australia, Prem Dana worked as a Principal Clinical Psychologist in West London where she continued to work with individuals, couples, families, and as a group therapist and received further training as a Hypnotherapist in Oxford. She has traveled widely having also lived and worked in India, and has been in Japan for the last five years where she currently runs the Psychotherapy and Healing Practice and is President of Mental Health Providers Japan--a professional organization established for Western Therapists.