Six of the Best Books on ADHD for Adults

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Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention

Due to the high degree of heritability for ADHD, it turns out that many times when a child is diagnosed with the condition, one or both of the child’s parents may also receive a diagnosis. The parent of a child who has ADHD has about a 40% likelihood of also having ADHD.

This makes Katherine Ellison’s new book , “Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention,” all the more relevant. It tells the story of Ellison’s experience parenting a child (Buzz) who was diagnosed with ADHD just a few months before she was diagnosed with it herself.

When put in this situation Ellison, a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist, decided to do what she does best: investigate. The result is a well-researched book that incorporates personal experience into a compelling survey of the current knowledge about ADHD. She shares the results of her trials and errors, offering a candid review of medical treatments such as Ritalin as well as non-medical approaches such as meditation and neurofeedback.

Coping with adult ADHD often includes figuring out how to parent a child with ADHD as well. This book is interesting for anyone who is impacted by ADHD or just curious about it, and offers guidance for the many adults who are wrapped up in a family dynamic similar to Ellison’s.

Books on ADHD by Hallowell and Ratey

Psychiatrists Dr. Edward Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey have teamed up to write authoritative and bestselling books on ADHD for over 15 years. Both Hallowell and Ratey have ADHD, and their writings combine professional insights with personal reflections on the condition.

Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood” was published in 1994, and it is the first book they co-authored. This book provides an overview of attention deficit disorder and focuses on addressing several myths and common misunderstandings about the condition. Many people claim that this book changed their lives, and it is typically considered to be a classic among books on ADHD.

Shortly after “Driven to Distraction” was published, Hallowell and Ratey wrote another book titled “Answers to Distraction.” This work focuses on providing useful information in response to common questions about ADHD in a concise question and answer format. It is often described as a helpful supplement to their books on ADHD, and it was fully revised and updated for the new edition (published in 2010).

Delivered from Distraction

The most recent book published by Hallowell and Ratey came out in 2005 and is titled Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. This book contains updates and new information about the advancements that have been made in the field over the decade since their first book came out. It focuses on highlighting the positive aspects of ADHD and providing advice on limiting the negative aspects. Its four sections look at:

  1. What it’s like to have ADHD.
  2. Case studies which illustrate common experiences of people with ADHD.
  3. Discussions of ADHD symptoms and diagnosis.
  4. Information and advice on a wide variety of treatments for and approaches to ADHD.

The last section takes up roughly half the book, and does not over-promote any single approach to treatment. Instead, it covers a wide range of medical and non-medical treatment options, providing helpful pointers and tips along the way. “Delivered from Distraction” is both insightful and uplifting for individuals who have ADHD or are close to someone who does.

Taking Charge of Adult ADHD

Dr. Russell Barkley is a leading authority on ADHD, and has written several popular books on ADHD outside of his professional research. Barkley published “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” in 2010, and it has been met with a favorable reception since.

It is separated into five steps which are designed to help adults manage their symptoms. These steps focus on doing things that eventually help facilitate workplace success, healthy relationships, healthy lifestyle habits and financial control.

This book is great for adults who are looking for books on ADHD which suggest concrete changes that can be made to help manage their ADHD symptoms.


Barkley, Russell. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD. The Guilford Press, 2010.

Dr. Hallowell Homepage,

Ellison, Katherine. Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention. Voice, 2010.

Hallowell, Edward, and Ratey, John. Answers to Distraction. Anchor, 2010.

Hallowell, Edward, and Ratey, John. Delivered from Distraction: Getting the Most out of Life with Attention Deficit Disorder. Ballantine Books, 2005.

Hallowell, Edward, and Ratey, John. _Driven to Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood._Touchstone, 1995.

Katherine Ellison Homepage,

NPR. “‘Paying Attention’ With an ADHD Mother and Son”,