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Publisher's Summary

A newly revised and updated edition of the classic guide to reframing our view of ADHD and embracing its benefits 

• Explains that people with ADHD are not disordered or dysfunctional, but simply “hunters in a farmer’s world”--possessing a unique mental skill set that would have allowed them to thrive in a hunter-gatherer society 

• Offers concrete non-drug methods and practices to help hunters--and their parents, teachers, and managers--embrace their differences, nurture creativity, and find success in school, at work, and at home 

• Reveals how some of the world’s most successful people can be labeled as ADHD hunters, including Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Andrew Carnegie 

With 10 percent of the Western world’s children suspected of having Attention Deficit Disorder, or ADHD, and a growing number of adults self-diagnosing after decades of struggle, the question must be raised: How could Nature make such a “mistake”? 

In this updated edition of his groundbreaking classic, Thom Hartmann explains that people with ADHD are not abnormal, disordered, or dysfunctional, but simply “hunters in a farmer’s world.” Often highly creative and single-minded in pursuit of a self-chosen goal, those with ADHD symptoms possess a unique mental skill set that would have allowed them to thrive in a hunter-gatherer society. As hunters, they would have been constantly scanning their environment, looking for food or threats (distractibility); they’d have to act without hesitation (impulsivity); and they’d have to love the high-stimulation and risk-filled environment of the hunting field. With our structured public schools, office workplaces, and factories those who inherit a surplus of “hunter skills” are often left frustrated in a world that doesn’t understand or support them. 

As Hartmann shows, by reframing our view of ADHD, we can begin to see it not as a disorder, but as simply a difference and, in some ways, an advantage. He reveals how some of the world’s most successful people can be labeled as ADHD hunters and offers concrete non-drug methods and practices to help hunters--and their parents, teachers, and managers--embrace their differences, nurture creativity, and find success in school, at work, and at home. Providing a supportive “survival” guide to help fine tune your natural skill set, rather than suppress it, Hartmann shows that each mind--whether hunter, farmer, or somewhere in between--has value and great potential waiting to be tapped.

©1993, 1997, 2019 Thom Hartmann. All Rights Reserved. (P)2019 Inner Traditions Audio. All Rights Reserved.

Critic Reviews

“In this groundbreaking book, Thom Hartmann makes a unique contribution to our understanding of ADHD. In considering ADHD in an evolutionary context, Thom was the first to point out the survival advantages of ADHD in hunter-gatherer societies and also the first to identify the link between ADHD and creativity. As such, Thom will be recognized as a pioneer contributing to the reconceptualization of ADHD from being considered only a ‘disorder’ to being viewed as a ‘mode of thought’ characterized by enhanced flexibility and creativity.” (Richard Silberstein, professor emeritus of cognitive neuroscience at Swinburne University)

“It is refreshing to find a book that places ADHD in a framework that does not imply dysfunction.... The metaphor of a ‘hunter in a farmer’s world’ fits so many of the ADHD youngsters and adults with whom I have worked.” (Margaret (Peg) Dawson, EdD, NCSP, codirector of the Center for Learning and Attention Disorders)

“Why are attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and related conditions so common? Could they in some way be advantageous? These questions and some possible answers are woven through this book, providing basic factual information about ADHD with a twist that helps readers recognize the value - sometimes quite special - of people who have it.” (Dale E. Hammerschmidt, MD, FACP, emeritus professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota)

What listeners say about ADHD: A Hunter in a Farmer’s World, 3rd Edition

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it was decent

it was a decent audiobook but the arguments werent conclusive for me on ADHD and it seemed as if she backpedaled on some arguments of the hunter vs farmer dichotomy. for instance, if adhd is as useful as she proclaims then their would be a minimalistic need to self medicate for it to semi adapt in a farmer world of delay gratification. next it's not necessarily clear whether or not a privileged neurotypicals could manifest their own form of impulsivity while having the benefits of being a farmer. As a person with ADHD I dont consider myself a hunter at all and found the arguments fairly trivial way to empower people who are looking to use their ADHD in a productive manner. Unfortunately many of the success stories she mentions were during the 18th and 19th century back when their was less technological automation and more vocational for ADHD folk. honestly ADHd in the right situation is useful but being able to direct your focus consistently is the current of the 21st century where everyones attention span is only 30 seconds. In this sense farmers still come out ahead.

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Quote-Unquote

The reader verbally said "quote unquote" throughout the book. It was very distracting and could have been implied via inflection. Otherwise, Robin was ok. The book has information that was new to me, but it was repetitive.

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All my life...

After 48 years of wondering, I learned this week why my brain does the things it does. Learning I have ADHD has felt like being handed the key to the cell I have lived in my entire life. This book was recommended and is part of why I feel set free. I’m truly grateful for this primer and the insight it has provided.

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Love this book!

The only thing that could have been better is if Thom himself had read it.

1 person found this helpful

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Very thought provoking

Great insights and perspectives. ADHD is not a handicap, but an asset. That’s good news for sure.

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Insightful

A must read for anyone that might be affected in any way by ADHD or ADD.

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Newly diagnosed ADHD

This book was so very helpful for me to understand my new diagnosis- prior to this reading I only though ADHD was for the outburst kids, never realizing that many go undiagnosed as kids and find out in their adulthood. The analogy in this book, makes me understand not only myself better and how I’m a hunter, but also those farmers in my life. Highly recommend!

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  • Robyn Wilson
  • 05-26-20

The best book I have read about Adhd

I really loved it and will probably read it a few more times. The narrator wasn't too monotone aswell.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Edward
  • 06-29-22

Fascinating but repetitive in places

Does a good job of explaining “Hunter” and “Farmer” adaptations but does begin to get a bit repetitive. The examples are good and reference to other bodies of work in the field are useful for continuing with the subject.

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  • mrs prince
  • 06-25-22

informative, interesting and great short chapters!

very useful and interesting. super to have others' real life stories as well as so much professional insight.

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  • Martin Migal
  • 04-16-22

A great book, with a poor read

Quote. So let me get this straight. We'll take a book about/for people with short attention span, and have its lector do their absolute best to read it in the most boring possible way? I think I know someone. Unquote. The Audible board meeting somewhere. Probably.

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  • Mrs. Aster L. Sadler
  • 04-06-22

Excellent view of ADHD

A great book from a fresh perspective of ADHD. Very positive and not just advising medication. A great explanation of adult and child symptoms and solutions.

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  • James Casey
  • 03-30-22

boring

I found it very hard to listen to, managed to listen to the end but it was very dry

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  • Seoi
  • 03-21-22

Wonderful

An extremely empowering and liberating book. Well researched, sensitive and practical. It should be compulsory for anyone working in the field. can’t recommend it enough.

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  • Chris Barnard
  • 03-11-22

Superb

An excellent read for anyone struggling from ADD or who has a friend or relative who is struggling.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-01-22

Revelation for anyone interested in adhd

Great approach to understanding adhd. Lots of useful anecdotes as well as scientific study information.

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  • Connor Paul McCarthy
  • 02-09-22

Sounds like a biography

Inspiring for people like me with the Hunter gene, sounds like someone telling me my own life story.

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  • Tim Gruchot
  • 05-18-22

Really informative

After reading this, I'm no longer looking at my condition as limiting, but rather, it is something manageable.

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  • Aliy
  • 11-30-21

Brilliant if. You can overlook the utterly inappropriate 1990s language

Language is very inappropriate(“normal”, “blacks”, “n3groes”) but concepts are super interesting. Helpful for ADHDers, families and professionals in understanding how this affects our places in the world.

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  • Matthew S.
  • 04-02-21

empathetic+empowering alternative 2 pathologizing

I think this book is a must-read for anyone grappling with the impact of ADHD on their lives, particularly for parents trying to understand how to approach and understand a fresh diagnosis of their children.

The book offers an alternative narrative and pathway to understanding oneself, and one that I wish had been given to me a long time ago.

Too often, from childhood, (undiagnosed) ADHD is treated as "just being bad, lazy, stupid", or (when diagnosed) ADHD is treated as the scapegoat for every mistake or failure ("i acted out but it's only because of my ADHD")

often the diagnosis carries the judgement "you are less than others".

The book presents an alternative to this, and one that enabled a robust understanding of oneself, and how ADHD affects oneself, without deflecting the responsibility for one's actions to a disorder, or labeling ADHD people as "broken"