ADHD Book Reviews: Driven to Distraction and Changing for Good

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through any links that you click. This post may also contain sponsored links.



patreon cta


If you’re listening to this, it’s 2019 so Happy New Year!

Last year, in the spirit of being a better resource to the online community I signed up for a self-paced ADHD coaching course. I wanted to learn more about how to help others with ADHD and be more than just a host of the group.

Part of that course has involved an extensive amount of reading. And I wanted to start sharing my thoughts on these books as I finish them. In today’s episode we’ll be talking about Driven To Distraction by Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratley, as well as Changing for Good by Drs. James Prochaska, John Norcross and Carlo Diclemente.

Best Books for Women With ADHD | Review: Women With Attention Deficit Disorder by Sari Solden

Driven To Distraction

  • It’s a classic and also available in Audible version.
  • Use it for the case studies. Know going in that it’s dated and don’t get your feathers ruffled if there are references to Rolodexes
  • Right off the bat I related to Jim, but in the entire book there were so many relatable moments. My favorite part, aside from the stories, were the lists of practical actions at the end of each section.
  • My least favorite part were some of the stories seemed repetitive or seemed to go on and on forever. In the end, I liked it in general because I didn’t even mind the re-hearing things I already was aware off. It was good reinforcement.
  • Favorite Part: Beginning of the “Parts of the Elephant” chapter.

Changing for Good

  • As a former binge drinker and chain smoker, I really liked this book. Not only is it research-backed, I found it to be incredibly spot on about how “self changers” change.
  • It happens in cycles. You have to have the right awareness for it and be in the right mindset before making the change, and there are setbacks. It’s rarely this linear line and it rarely goes like you’re loved ones (or prime time TV) would have you believe.
  • I give this one really high marks for anyone who needs to make a change in their lives. We need more literature like this, grounded in science, rather than nagging relatives and draconian health professionals who are garbage at meeting patients where they already are.



This is the adulting with ADHD podcast, self-empowerment and tricks and tips for women with ADHD. You’re listening to this. It’s officially 2019 so happy new year to all of you. A little known fact last year in the spirit of being a better resource to the online community, I signed up for a self paced ADHD coaching course. I’m not really sure that I want to be an ADHD coach, but I was curious about it and I wanted to learn more about ADHD and how to help women, so I signed up for this course alone with the course came an extensive reading last, which I started on last year and now this year it’s going to be a huge goal of mine to get through all the reading is as I’m going through the reading, I’m just done that. I even made it through college pre diagnosis when I think of all the reading and studying how to do back in college and I think it is a challenge even with treatment and even with all the interventions, but that’s neither here nor there.

The reason I bring that up is because I’m going to start sharing, Oh, it’s on the books I’m reading on this podcast. And so that way if you guys are curious about those books out there and you want to know my thoughts, that’s, that’s what this episode is going to be about. Not all of them, just the, um, for this episode we’re going to be talking about too. And so those two books are driven to distraction. You’ve probably heard of it by doctors, Edward Hallowell and John rattly. And the second book is changing for good by doctors James FreshCo and probably bitching that dr John Norcross and dr Carlo DiClemente. Now the second book is not specifically for ADHD but it’s about, um, any sort of change like um, drinking smoke game or um, a variety of mental health challenges and it runs the gamut across a lot of things.

So just wanted to clarify that before I jump in. But, um, let’s first talk about driven to distraction, which a lot of you have probably either read or have heard of. It’s a classic and it was always on my hit list. And so I’m sending up for this class, there was a perfect opportunity to give that a shot. So what I’ll say about it is it’s mostly dr Hallowell and mostly uses, um, storytelling as a device. He uses case studies from his patients and I really like how he did that and I think it really is a lot more engaging and he probably knows that because he also has ADHD. And so it’s just, um, it’s a lot easier to dig into when you’re relating to a story. And, um, there are lots of stories in this book and, um, you know, I went and read some reviews and you know, people, that was one of the cons.

Some of the people listed was it, Oh, it’s just, it’s too many stories. Well, that’s all, it’s all case studies, but I will say that, um, he digs in this specific aspects of ADHD and at the end he actually has tactical tips and strategies that you can try. So it’s not all quote unquote flock, which I don’t think it’s fluff at all. But that was one criticism I saw in there, which I don’t, I don’t particularly agree with. Um, the one thing I did notice is, um, it can feel repetitive over time when you’re hearing these stories over and over again. But, you know, I really, that was the only kind of, I was forced to pick one and I don’t even think it’s a con because I, I liked having that reinforcement of hearing it over and over again. Um, so I, yeah, obviously I’m giving this one really strong works and the end, I just really liked it in general and I didn’t mind re hearing things that I already knew or re hearing things that were, he said earlier, like I thought it was really great reinforcement alien thing.

I was so going in, it’s just go in knowing this was, um, written quite a time ago. And so all the information is still relevant and it’s still, it still carries today, but don’t get your feathers ruffled if, you know, he refers a Rolodexes and people use Rolodexes anymore, you know, that kind of stuff. And I’m obviously, there’s been a lot of research and breakthroughs since this text, but if you could just get past all that and just focus on the fundamentals, this books still rings true today and so yeah, totally. I would give this four to five stars. I’m never really give five stars. I to me, I feel like that would make you perfect and no, no book is perfect. So some very, one of my favorite parts of driven to destruction, and it’s chapter six parts of the elephant. I’m just going to read the very beginning.

We do not yet have one concise definition for add and said we have to rely on descriptions and symptoms to define add. Often the descriptions focused on one part of this syndrome or another, highlighting this aspect or that. Anyway, that is reminiscent of the story of the blind men describing an elephant. Why blind man feels the trunk and describe something long and tubular emitting more Mayer. Another feels the tail and described something narrow in pliable. Another other feels a leg and describes something like a tree trunk still another feels the belly and describes something massive yet sponging none of the blind men is able to sit back and see the elephant as a whole. That’s going to changing for good. I really liked this one. I’m just going to open it up and just say I am gaining it four and a half stars. I like just so much and um, a lot of this because I’m really as a, um, previous problem drinker and a previous, and having kicked both of those things, I, I was reading this book and the way they were attacking how people change for good.

The name of the book is changing for good. The way they approached it was so spot on and so accurate as someone who’s already made huge changes in my life. And, and so reading it, this is one of the few times I’ve really seen people on the medical community really take a scientific approach to finding bad habits. Now we all know about programs out there and, and some of them are, um, Tulsa programs, which I have nothing against. It works for a lot of people or you have, um, kinda tough love methodology, all those traditional ways of, you know, people trying to change like cold Turkey and all or nothing thinking. The reason I like this book cause I acknowledge is all the stages you have to go through. And it was actually stages of pre-contemplation, contemplation and so on where you, it’s not this linear thing where you wake up and say on January 1st I have no longer going to consume carbohydrates and then all of a sudden you either fail or succeed and that’s it.

Like they’re very, not only is it accurate, but it’s actually, you know, proven actually researched this actually have test subjects and there’s amounts. And so this isn’t just a bunch of conjecture. This is actually like, these are how people have changed and they identified the different phases of the cycles and you can cycle back and forth because that’s how real people change because we’re not robots. And so I’m, as you can tell, um, I liked this one quite a bit and you just, um, anybody who wants to make any sort of change in their life, um, I would highly recommend this book. And it’s really one of those books that you can pick up again and again, no matter what phase you’re at. And um, whatever habit you’re trying to change, it’s, it’s not really something the first time around you’ll want to read it cover to cover.

But then whenever you address, you know, a specific behavior, you really can go to the part of the book that’s most relevant to you at that time. That’s not something that you have to do in Cornell. Logical order in a linear sense. So what are read my favorite part of changing for good. And I think it’s really demonstrates just how numbers driven is approaches and just I just like it so much. So this would be the, the chapter on preparation that morning I had a feeling I had experienced so many a few times before when I explored something unknown and unexpected. I felt this at the back of my head had opened up and light was pouring in my eyes felt as if they were on fire with an intense glow. Enlightening the raw data in front of me. I love that. First I noticed that the pros of changing always increase from pre-contemplation to contemplation.

The first principle of progress is therefore that you are to advance from pre-contemplation to contemplation. You must increase your perception of the pros changing your problem behavior. Don’t worry about the cons are changing up the stage. They come later. Yes, the cons are changing. Always decrease from contemplation to action. The second principle of progress States correspondingly that you are, you are to advance from contemplation to action. You must decrease your perception of the college changing your problem behavior. Don’t worry about the pros are changing at the stage. They come later. It goes on from there and you actually get some good more detail about, um, by what degree do the columns change compared to the pros and and so on and so on. He even takes this principle that he found in his existing studies and he implied it to some previous research and the numbers came out.

It was a completely unrelated study, but it was, you know, um, people who were trying to kick a habit and it came out that the numbers came out similarly. So that’s just an example of why I really, I love the approach of this book. I can’t say it enough. There’s the first two books. Um, the next time I do this, I’m pretty sure we’ll be done with, sorry, Sullivan’s book on, um, add, um, and women, um, don’t have the exact name of the title hand, but it’s something very basic like add and women. And so, um, I’ll be really excited to talk about that. I already started it and I really, really like it. And so I’ll, I’ll probably dedicate a whole episode of that book. But, um, anyway, on that note, I would just say happy reading, man. Happy adulting.


Recent Posts