Top critical review
Based on journalism, not science
Reviewed in the United States on September 25, 2019
I read this book in hopes of finding practical tips based on science that would help my daughter use her ADHD to her advantage. I was sorely disappointed, enough to write this review because it was not practical at all. His tips at the end were non specific: do what excites you, know your strengths and weaknesses, raise your expectations and try, try again. (Two paragraphs later he tells you to quit if it doesn’t ignite your passion. Read quote below). The only specific tip was to find a career coach, which is not something many of us have access to.
This book was extremely biased, and not based on science but journalism. If you decide to read it, I suggest you turn first to the notes in the back and look at the the sources that the author sites. He quotes mostly from Additude.com, webMD, NY times, business insiders, psychology today, Huffington Post, and his own previous books. Although these sources may be interesting to read, they are not scientific studies. To be fair, there are a couple psychiatric journals and cdc sources but those are the minority and are not used to highlight his main points but to illustrate statistics for minor points. He relies heavily on journalistic sources that echo his own belief that stimulants should only be used in the most severe cases of ADHD. I could not find any valid scientific studies amongst his sources that support this. The majority of the evidence the author users to support his assumptions are from anecdotes of people who have already succeeded without medication so this was a skewed population to draw from. There were no anecdotes of people who tried living with ADHD without medication and ended up needing it. There was no balance in point of view.
Also his conclusion was unhelpful for the average person who is not wealthy or have a good support system to rely on if the direction of their impulsiveness fails them. This is a quote from the last chapter before the epilogue. (Why does this book need an epilogue if it’s not a story?): “Listen to your ADHD voice! Let your strengths guide you, and trust that they are taking you in a direction you were meant to go. If something doesn’t ignite your passion, quit it! Life is too short to spend contorting yourself into that box called normal.” Uh no, I don’t believe that encouraging a person with ADHD to quit when they’re bored is going to help keep a job or have healthy relationships.
If you want to read a positive book with practical tips for a person with ADHD, I recommend Faster than Normal by Peter Shankman. He doesn’t pretend to be the ultimate authority about ADHD like Dr. Archer does. Mr. Shankman simply gives tips that works for him and is pretty positive about ADHD. Another book I’ve found helpful was All About ADHD by Thomas Phelan, whose writing was more balanced and objective and not so desperate to disparage medication.