One of my favorite books of all time… a must for ADHD students.
There are only 2 books that I truly love and refer to frequently for my ADHD coaching. Nether of them is new. But with college starting soon and my promise to my marketing partner to write a few blogs on college with ADHD I decided to offer you one of my secret weapons. The book is “Learning Outside the Lines: Two Ivy League Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD Give You the Tools for Academic Success and Educational Revolution” by Jonathan Mooney and David Cole.
I love, love, love this book. Why? Because it doesn’t suggest that students suddenly overcome their ADHD by acting like really well organized non-ADHD students. It doesn’t have that weird underlying tone that some books have that make you feel a little broken from needing to read them. It has a punkass tone and foul language that resonates as very, very real. AND the suggestions are spot-on what I need, what we need, what students, professionals, ADHDers need. For example, there is a section about what to do when you lose your notebook. The authors know we’re going to lose things. One of my favorite suggestions from the book, and it is a suggestion that I think of whenever I’m buying something that I’ll carry around often, is that your stuff (notebook) should really stand out. Like, if your notebook is covered in fun fur and you misplace it there are several things that could happen. One, you step into a room and scan quickly for your notebook. In a sea of notebooks and school stuff your notebook stands out. Bam, found. Two, everyone you interact with knows that you have fun fur notebooks, so you when they see yours off somewhere on its own they pick it up and return it to you. Would they do that if there was a basic black notebook sitting on a table? No. I’m pretty sure there’s a third way that the fun fur helps, but I can’t refer directly to my book because… I misplaced it somewhere and need to go from memory here 😉
While I am making ADHD confessions here, I can probably admit that I may never have read every bit of this book. I skimmed very lightly over the beginning chapters that were biographical. But, I made up for it by rereading the end chapters that offer advice many times over. I guess this shouldn’t be much of a confession as it is a strategy that the authors approve of. I was reading for what I needed and using a tool the way it worked for me rather than reading the book from front to back the way society suggests.
Oh wait, another reason I love this book because it really does go outside the lines with its suggestions. If you have never had someone in your corner who knows and understands ADHD or disabilities then this might just be mind-blowing for you. In a world where everyone suggests some variation of “be more organized” this team comes up with many varied approaches to solve a problem. Whether it is how to study when you learn associatively or plan to establish relationships with your professors and participate in class to offset your shortcomings. In ADHD coaching school we learn to help people create systems based on their personal strengths and tendencies. Mooney and Cole are masterful in this regard.
I feel like there is some “writing a book review” etiquette that says you should start one sentence with “who should read this book”. Here’s my version. I think this book is incredibly valuable to students… and entrepreneurs… and anyone who has been diagnosed with an LD or ADHD and not given guidance on how to manage their issues. People who walk to the beat of their own drummer should read this book. Who shouldn’t read this? Anyone who is easily offended by coarse language or married to the idea that there is one proper way to do something.
(Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, my other favorite book that I refer to all the time when coaching is Worry by Edward Hallowell. It isn’t really about ADHD… but it is so useful when dealing with ADHD.)