Longtime readers know that I read A LOT of books. My goal is 52 nonfiction books a year (one a week) and for the four years that I have been tracking it on Goodreads, I am averaging 69 a year. I say this only to make the point that I think I am a pretty decent judge of what makes a good book. I rate them all on Goodreads and am not shy about saying when one blows… I am reticent however to sing the praises of any book too highly. This is one of those times.
Faster Than Normal: Turbocharge Your Focus, Productivity, and Success with the Secrets of the ADHD Brain by Peter Shankman spoke to me unlike any other. I was diagnosed as ADHD as an adult (just a few years ago.) The psychologist said it was the most obvious case she had ever seen. Between her and my doctor, they were wondering how I managed to get anything done and I told them about my systems I have used since childhood to keep me on task and still allow me to go off on wild tangents without fear.
Picking up Faster than Normal, I wasn’t looking to understand my ADHD, I was simply looking to read about a subject that interested me – much like the 300 books over the previous few years. What I found was wonderful. The reframing that Shankman starts with as the premise fit exactly to my belief system. ADHD is not a condition, not a problem, not a disability… instead, it is a gift. It is simply a brain that runs faster than normal.
I would wager that most of the great things that happen in the history of the world happened because someone was thinking outside of that normal box. Looking at ADD and ADHD as a superpower is not political correctness, it is truth. My wife has mentioned to me (long before the diagnosis) “I can’t imagine what it is like inside your brain” or “you think too much” because I am always wondering about things that seem disconnected and go off on oddball tangents because it interests me.
Because of this book I have not changed any behavior yet (although I have a couple of internal experiments starting) but I now more fully understand why I post things like my “Where in Texas is Chris?” “Name that Song” or the “Lame Jokes Rule” series on the socials. It is how my mind jumps to different things but I channel that into a functional and (arguably) useful context.
Whether you have ADHD, suspect you have it or more importantly, live with someone with this superpower, this is a must-read. And while you’re at it – check out the podcast of the same name:
by Chris Doelle