Definition of Awesome

We were recently sent a copy of ADHD is Awesome: A Guide to (Mostly) Thriving with ADHD by Penn and Kim Holderness to review. This book presents the good and bad aspects of having ADHD in a fun and easily understood way.

We requested this book for review for two reasons. Number one, we watch the Holderness’s videos on YouTube sometimes and like the honest and accepting way they deal with relationship and mental health issues (and some of their humor). Number two, we have a close family friend who is officially diagnosed with ADHD. We are also certain that most of our immediate family has ADHD even if none of us have an official diagnosis yet.

The book is divided into three parts, Getting to Know ADHD, Changing the Narrative, and Thriving with ADHD. Each part is divided into several chapters. Each chapter is broken down into smaller chunks with lots of headings and sidenotes. There are also lots of illustrations, charts, and bright colors. All of this makes the book easy to read in small chunks and more approachable for the typical person who has ADHD.


Harper Horizons provided this book in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review, only an honest one. All opinions are my own.


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Getting to Know ADHD

ADHD is Awesome

The introduction and first section explain what ADHD is and a little about what it isn’t. It gives you information about getting a diagnosis and how ADHD might affect your day-to-day living. It also discusses how it can affect you emotionally. This is the most technical part of the book and does contain some discouraging facts.

Penn and Kim are experts in one sense because Penn has “a scorching case of ADHD” and they live with it every day. They have consulted lots of other people including medical experts while researching this book. They approach ADHD from a mostly positive mindset. A lot of personal anecdotes are used to both entertain and inform the reader. They do point out that every case is different and their experience will differ from yours.

“A Note from People Who Have ADHD to People Who Don’t” and “Inside the ADHD Brain” are the must-read portions of this section to me. The first is a thoughtful explanation of how ADHDers know that their problems affect others and how that affects them. The second explains how ADHD brains work differently. This causes them to do things in unexpected ways.

Changing the Narrative

ADHD is Awesome Illustrations

A lot of misconceptions about what ADHD is could be cleared up with a more accurate name. Penn hates the name Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. He thinks it needs a new name because three of the four words are negatives. This tends to make everyone think of it only as a bad thing. That makes being diagnosed with it much harder on people. I think it needs a new name because it describes how it inconveniences others around the person who has it not what the ADHDer is actually dealing with in their brain.

One of the main goals of this book is to help ADHDers come to terms with it as a difference, not a defect. This section details that in several ways. There is a quiz about successful people despite, or maybe even because of, having ADHD.  A couple of chapters deal with recognizing the things that truly are harder. They also deal with hard not being impossible and that some of what people see as flaws are benefits in other situations. The last chapters in this section talk about the upsides of ADHD for those who have it and those around them.

This section’s must-read would either be “Facing Your ADHD” or “Operation Mindset Shift” depending on how new to ADHD you are. The first deals with accepting that you are different but not alone which is what all newly diagnosed need to hear. The second deals with looking at your differences in a more positive light so you can move forward.

Thriving with ADHD

Pain Point Chart

The last section has lots of practical advice for habits and systems to help you manage your life with ADHD. Lots of specific examples that Penn uses are explained. There is also lots of advice for finding your own solutions as well. The chapters discuss treatments, recharging your battery, creating routines, and controlling your environment. There are also chapters about taking care of your caretakers, pushing through when things are hard, and listening.

There are two and a half chapters directed to people who work with or take care of ADHDers. These cover the best ways to explain things, the things they most need your help with, and how important your patience and understanding are. The half chapter offers advice for taking care of yourself as well. If you are reading this book and don’t have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder these are the must-read chapters for you.

Any of the remaining chapters could be must-reads for those who have ADHD depending on what you are struggling with the most right now. Honestly, if you have ADHD you should probably read all of them sooner or later. The third section of the book is the one you will probably reread the most.  I would recommend “Charging Your Battery” and the second half of “Taking Care of Caretakers” be high priorities though. It is harder to do anything if your mental, physical, or emotional battery is drained. The people who take the time to be patient and understanding with ADHDers deserve to have patience and understanding applied to them. Both of these will make any other changes and systems you use work better.

Final Thoughts on ADHD is Awesome

ADHD is Awesome Cover

We feel that at least some of our readers will find this book useful because ADHD doesn’t stop when you walk through the church doors. There are parts of this book that helped me better understand some of my and my families actions.

This book is almost certainly not for you if you are looking for a scholarly, serious book about the problems Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder causes. This book is a good choice if you want an easily understood book about what ADHD is and how to better deal with those around you who have it. If you have ADHD and are looking for an encouraging book that will help you cope with problems it causes and explain what is happening in your brain to others you need to read this book. I enjoyed this book so much I read it in three days. I highly recommend ADHD is Awesome to anyone in the second or third category.