CrazyBusy – aka: Culturally Induced ADD

I picked up and began to read Crazy Busy by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. before I realized that Hallowell was the author. I actually reviewed my favorite book by him last year around this time. This may be the first time I’m going into “same author” territory. I’ve been careful thus far. I have several books by authors you know from this blog! The door has been opened, so… get ready on that for the near future!

There are many things to love about this book. I almost don’t know where to begin. Let’s see…

  1. Culturally induced ADD is Hallowell’s phrase and it fits. But without meaning to, he’s opened up the notion that we – as a society – have culturally induced “a whole bunch of things”. At least, in my not-so-humble opinion. Back when my son was school-aged, I coulda told you that we were over-medicating children who did not fit the mold of “quiet, bright, well-behaved” students. My son is non-verbally intelligent but couldn’t get it out of his mouth. (He compared himself to a computer with a printer that doesn’t work – tell me that’s not highly intelligent thought!) He’s in his 30s and still can’t! Why? Because he was actually born with a disability that could only be overcome with accommodations. I might add: accommodations the school district was not willing to provide to my son, which is why he ended up having a teacher come to our house to teach him – at the district’s expense, I might add. Don’t mess with special need’s moms! We get the job done! Or – at least – try to. The problem is actually even deeper than kids with actual special needs. It goes to a world with a whole whack of kids that are NOT special needs but treated like they are… specifically, with medication. I think this lays the groundwork for Hallowell’s descriptor, though it’s not exactly what he meant. In this book, he is truly speaking to all of us who suffer from Crazybusy-itis.   
  2. Hallowell has designed a new language to describe how we came to this “CrazyBusy” place in history. He reasons that just as the automobile gave us new words like “traffic jam, gridlock, road rage” this new culture has given us experiences without words to describe them. Screensucking is an obvious one and pertains to any screen at all: from TV to your phone. I laughed at EMV, because we’ve all heard what this describes: “Email voice” or actually, any voice of someone who is talking to you on the phone and doing anything online at the same time. Tell me you didn’t laugh at the knowingness? I sure did! Junk Time is just what it sounds like except Hallowell uses Doritos as an equivalent, which I laughed at, since um, yeah, Doritos. Love ’em! It’s the timesuck (my word, not original) and wormholes you fall into when you went for one thing and ended up wondering what happened to the last two hours.
  3. My favorite (OMG, this is all of us!) chapter is called, “Folks Ain’t Got No Time” and ain’t it the truth? He gives examples but really, do we need them? We still it in our homes, on the road, and at work. Hell, we even see it at events that are supposed to be relaxing! “Wasn’t this supposed to begin at 7:30? It’s 7:35!!!”

So, you may wonder if Hallowell offers a solution? Yes, actually, he does. But be prepared… it sounds simple but it isn’t. He warns you of it by saying (pg 137) that if it were simple, he wouldn’t have written a book! Well, yeah, there ya go!

I’m not gonna give you the solutions but you already knew that. My goal (as a reviewer) is ALWAYS to get you interested enough to buy the books. This is one of those cases, for sure! It’s a darned good book! If you are crazybusy, you should buy it. 🙂

However, I will give you a head’s up: the last several chapters of the book are not a “If you do this, you’ll get that” list of ideas. It’s not pablum. Yes, there are charts, calendars, lists and questions that will make you think but most importantly, if you DO what Hallowell suggests, you will organize your inner and outer LIFE. For real.

This is a fantastic book!

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