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The ADHD Advantage: What You Thought Was a Diagnosis May Be Your Greatest... by Dale ArcherWhile a diagnosis of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is most often received as bad news, psychiatrist Dale Archer argues that this condition may be an asset and that medication should not be the primary solution. Many people -- including Dr. Archer himself -- do not need medication. Those who are curious, have high energy levels, and may be easily bored can learn to take advantage of those traits both in school and in the workplace. In The ADHD Advantage, Archer encourages those diagnosed with ADHD and their families, teachers, and doctors to approach the condition with creative thinking.
Bald is Better with Earrings: A Survivor's Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer by Andrea HuttonAfter learning that she had breast cancer, author Andrea Hutton delved deeply into information on treatment, how to tolerate surgery and chemotherapy, and friends' experiences. Despite all this preparation, many aspects of her treatment surprised her. She responded first by writing the blog at baldisbetterwithearrings.com, then by publishing this book. Addressing everything from choosing a surgeon to drug reactions to wig selection, Hutton brings compassion, humor, direct experience, and detailed research to the subject. For additional breast cancer guides with a personal touch, try Madhulika Sikka's A Breast Cancer Alphabet or Teresa Rhyne's The Dog Lived (and So Will I).
The Gratitude Diaries: How a Year Looking on the Bright Side Can Transform Your Life by Janice KaplanJournalist, writer, and television producer Janice Kaplan participated in a study on gratitude sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation and learned that fewer than 50 percent of those surveyed regularly expressed gratitude. Motivated to investigate further, she vowed one New Year's Eve to practice being grateful. In The Gratitude Diaries, Kaplan explains how her focus on thankfulness improved not only her outlook but that of people around her. Drawing on her journal entries, interviews with experts, scientific research, and discussions with individuals from cancer survivors to celebrities, she offers an account of her practice of thankfulness that is sure to inspire others to do likewise.
The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can... by Jessica LaheyIn The Gift of Failure, teacher, journalist, and mother Jessica Lahey offers accessible, practical advice on the topic of overparenting -- as opposed to guidance that allows failure while building capability and confidence. She first reviews the history of parenting in America, rejecting outmoded concepts while identifying useful approaches. Confessing that she sometimes has difficulty striking a balance between overprotection and letting events take their course, she shows how failure can teach children about independence and problem-solving. For another recent book that cautions against overparenting, try Julie Lythcott-Haims' How to Raise an Adult.
The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your... by Bernard RothArguing that it's possible to make achievement habitual by following specific steps, the head of Stanford's design institute (or d.school) demonstrates how to use design planning to meet all kinds of goals in life. In The Achievement Habit, Roth lays out a step-by-step process of determining needs, identifying problems and solutions, creating prototypes and testing them, and incorporating feedback. Explaining how to navigate around barriers such as negative attitudes and apparent roadblocks, he adds real-life examples as well as engaging anecdotes. Booklist notes the book's clarity and pragmatic insights, saying it "might change one’s life outlook for the better."
Focus on: Addiction and Recovery
Ninety Days: A Memoir of Recovery by Bill CleggIn this "brutally honest" (Booklist) memoir, former literary agent and crack addict Bill Clegg (author of the recent novel Did You Ever Have a Family) chronicles his struggle to stay clean for 90 consecutive days. Starting with a tense description of his return to New York City from a rehab facility, Clegg summarizes the huge losses he suffered as a result of his crack addiction and details the obstacles to sobriety that surround him and confront him at every turn. Ninety Days vividly illuminates what it means to be addicted and why it's so hard to stay in recovery. For details about Clegg's life before rehab, read Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man.
Inside Rehab: The Surprising Truth About Addiction Treatment -- And How to Get... by Anne M. FletcherFor this in-depth report on substance abuse treatment in the U.S. (where there are more than 13,000 rehab options), author Anne Fletcher visited 15 treatment programs (both residential and outpatient) and interviewed patients, staff, and administrators. The result provides an insightful -- and sometimes critical -- look at America's drug and alcohol treatment industry. Additionally, Inside Rehab guides potential patients (and their family members) through the process of selecting an appropriate facility. Using her research into expert studies and interviews with patients and families, Fletcher has created a book that is both helpful and "eye-opening" (The New York Times).
Her Best-Kept Secret: Why Women Drink -- and How They Can Regain Control by Gabrielle GlaserCurious about the reported rise in alcohol consumption among American women, which she had noticed while reporting on women's issues, journalist Gabrielle Glaser started looking more closely at the statistics. From binge drinking among college women to "mommy-juice" to happy hour, Her Best-Kept Secret documents not only changes in cultural attitudes towards women drinking alcohol but also the tremendous increase in middle-aged women seeking addiction treatment. Glaser also questions whether traditional recovery programs are effective for women. Balancing "humor, thoughtfulness and skillful research" (Parents.com), this is an insightful book for anyone concerned with alcohol addiction in women.
The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise... by David J. LindenIn The Compass of Pleasure, neuroscience professor David J. Linden offers an engaging, accessible, and scientifically detailed explanation of the biological process that leads to addiction in some people. Describing how a particular region within the brain responds to activities and substances that give pleasure, he distinguishes between the positive results of enjoyment (tasty food promotes survival) and the negatives (addiction interferes with normal living). His analysis also shows why beating addiction isn't just a matter of will power. Publishers Weekly praises Linden's "successful coupling of wit with insight" in this informative and thought-provoking book.
Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America's Greatest Tragedy by David SheffIn his memoir Beautiful Boy, journalist David Sheff chronicled his desperate attempts to get treatment for his addicted son. In Clean, he follows up with an incisive discussion of American society's failure to deal with the disease of addiction. Drawing on his own learnings from his son's experiences and on additional research, Sheff depicts the course of an addiction, explains how treatment works (or doesn't), and convincingly argues that both societal attitudes and medical approaches need a radical overhaul. He also offers specific science-based alternatives to the current standards, replacing punishment with healing.
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