May 2, 2023

The Books That Changed My Life

It’s my birthday week! I love birthdays, getting older, and celebrating life and growth. So for this special birthday episode, I’m sharing a comprehensive list of the books that have changed my life and the reasons why.

Books that have changed my life:

  1. ADHD-focused:
  2. Taking Charge of Adult ADHD, by Dr. Russell Barkley 
  3. Rethinking Adult ADHD, by Dr. Russ Ramsay
  4. Delivered From Distraction, by Dr. Ned Hallowell
  5. Personal Growth:
  6. Essentialism, by Greg Mckeown
  7. Effortless, by Greg Mckeown 
  8. Atomic Habits, by James Clear
  9. Atlas of the Heart, by Brene Brown
  10. Loving What Is, by Byron Katie
  11. Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents, by Dr. Lindsay Gibson
  12. Recovering From Emotionally Immature Parents, by Dr. Lindsay Gibson
  13. Boundaries:
  14. Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend and Dr. Henry Cloud
  15. Set Boundaries, Find Peace, by Nedra Glover Tawwab
  16. Necessary Endings, by Dr. Henry Cloud
  17. Trauma:
  18. The Body Keeps the Score, by Bessel van der Kolk
  19. What Happened to You, by Dr. Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey
  20. Was It Even Abuse, by Emma Rose Byham
  21. Healthy Spirituality:
  22. Emotionally Healthy Spirituality, by Peter Scazzero
  23. Honorable Mentions:
  24. A World Without Email, by Cal Newport
  25. Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown
  26. Good to Great, by Jim Collins

I’m also excited to announce that I am getting my trauma-informed coaching certification, which has been a major goal for me. If you aren’t already a part of my group coaching program FOCUSED, it’s a great time to join! Lastly, if you’d like to get me a little something for my birthday…*wink wink*…it would mean the world if you could subscribe to the podcast and leave a review! Thank you all. I hope you enjoy these books!



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Kristen Carder

Welcome to the I have ADHD podcast, where it’s all about education, encouragement and coaching for adults with ADHD. I’m your host, Kristen Carter and I have ADHD. Let’s chat about the frustrations, humor and challenges of adulting relationships working and achieving with this neurodevelopmental disorder. I’ll help you understand your unique brain. Unlock your potential and move from point A to point B. K, what’s up? This is Kristen Carter and you’re listening to the I have ADHD podcast. I am medicated. I am caffeinated. I am regulated, and I’m ready to roll. What’s up? What’s up? How are you? Welcome to the podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. I know there are millions of podcasts that you could choose from. And the fact that you pressed play on this one makes me so happy. Thank you for listening. Thank you for being here. I’m so grateful to you for your time and attention. I sure don’t take it for granted. I really don’t. I’m so excited to tell you that it’s my birthday. It’s

Okay, technically, is it after my birthday. But I’m the kind of person who thinks birthday should be celebrated for days, weeks, maybe even the entire month. So let’s just go ahead and say it’s my birthday my whole birthday. And I actually really like getting older, I’ve always wanted to be older. I’ve always looked forward to the future, I still do look forward to the future. I am 42 years old and still looking forward to getting older. I’m glad to be here on this earth. I’m glad to be part of this ADHD community, what a gift what a gift. I’m going to take just a quick second and make an awkward request, which is just a small and free birthday gift from you. To me, my dear listener, it’s totally free. totally great. Would you please make sure that you’re subscribed? Would you please make sure to add this podcast to your library? Would you please make sure to rate and even review if you have the time and the executive function to review like, oh my gosh, that would be amazing. But just simply tapping that five star rating button means so much. So like that’s enough. And it would make a huge difference to this show.

As of this week. This podcast has 4.7 million downloads. And we’re number 19 on the mental health charts, which is really amazing and cool and crazy. And you rating. The podcast matters, you subscribing to the podcast matters, not just because if you have ADHD, your working memory totally sucks. And so if you’re not subscribed, you’ll probably forget to listen again. But it also matters because the more people subscribe, the more ADHD ears can find us. And so it gets the word out about this helpful resource. And it just it makes a really big difference.

So if you have a second for a quick birthday gift, please rate the podcast, please make sure you’re subscribed. I haven’t asked you to do this in a while. It feels super weird. It feels super self serving, but also it’s my birthday. So I would just love, love, love for you to take a second rate review if you have the capacity to do it. And it would just mean so much to me. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you today we are talking about 10 books that changed my life. And I’m someone who has always really liked self development. And I like to read when I go in spurts and I’m sure you can relate to this. Like sometimes I read a ton. And sometimes I can’t be bothered and it really does kind of ebb and flow. I like to have paper books but also just like with the way my life is set up. I’m I listen to books on audible as well. And so I’m going to go through 10 books that have changed my life. I thought this was fitting for like a birthday podcast episode.

Not all of these books are ADHD related as a matter of fact, most of them are not. I’ve read so many books on ADHD and I don’t know if you can relate but it’s like how many can we really how many can we really like digest? You know what I’m saying? So, I’m going to go over like my couple of favorite books on ADHD. But other than that these are going to be ADHD friendly books that have really made a big difference in my life.

The first book you’ve heard me talk about a million times it’s taking charge of adult ADHD by Dr. Russell Barkley. He has a like a second edition that he just came out with this year to be honest, I haven’t read the second edition because I’ve already like marked up the first edition. I already have all of my notes. And I don’t know, like, do I really need to read the second edition? I’m not sure. But I have it in my possession just in case I need it. This book, I think is the most useful introduction to ADHD. The first half of it is incredible. It walks you through all of the steps of understanding what ADHD is, how to seek a diagnosis, what the type of medication, different types of medications there are, it’s a great book, the second half of the book I don’t really love. It is kind of, you know, tips on managing your ADHD that include like making a list, which, I mean, I just don’t love the second half of the book, but the first half real good, highly recommend.

My favorite book on ADHD, by far is Dr. Russ Ramsey’s, rethinking adult ADHD. This book is incredible, but I will warn you, it’s like a textbook. It’s written for clinicians. So it’s not really user friendly. In that, like, if you don’t, if you’re not a super nerd, if you’re not a super nerd, you might not like this book. But what I love about it is it includes a ton of research. And he has so many interesting things to say about progressivity and perfectionism and thought distortions for adults with ADHD. It’s so helpful. It’s been really helpful for me as a coach, you know, helping my clients understanding my clients more. So if you’re like an extreme ADHD nerd who really loves to dig in, you’re gonna love this book. If you’re just someone who needs kind of like an overview of ADHD I would really recommend taking charge of adult ADHD. And I want to do an honorable mention of delivered from distraction from Ned Halliwell. So great book. It’s a great book.

And God bless Ned Halliwell. Like he is an ADHD pioneer. He’s been on the forefront of the ADHD movement for decades. And I just appreciate him so much. I think I forgot to mention at the beginning, that I, I know that I said this was 10 books, but it’s actually like way more than 10 books. It’s kind of like 10, groupings of books. So like, this is the ADHD section. And in that ADHD section, I actually have three books. So I’m sorry about that. It’s gonna be more than 10 books, taking charge of adult ADHD rethinking adult ADHD delivered from distraction, love, love, love those books.

Alright, the next grouping of books are not ADHD specific. Actually, none of the books that I’m going to mention moving forward are ADHD specific how, however, I have found these three books to be the most helpful for the ADHD brain. The first two are essentialism and effortless by Greg McEwan. And I have the book essentialism here, I love the paper copy of it, it is so ADHD friendly. It is written with lots of just I don’t know, he just writes it as if he has ADHD. I appreciate it so much. So essentialism, talks about knowing exactly what is important in your life, like just really focusing on what is essential and eliminating everything else. And for someone who struggles with ADHD, you know, that’s me, the idea of constraint, the idea of not doing all of the things all of the time, the idea of prioritizing is so difficult and as we know, because we’ve all listened to my episode on prioritizing, that is one of our executive functions that is deficient. And so this book, essentialism is so helpful in being ruthless in saying no to every thing that is not 100% essential, and I have read this book. I’ve read the paper copy once I’ve listened to it on Audible twice, he reads it. Greg McKeown reads it on Audible and his voice is delightful. He has just the most amazing accent. I love it so much. So listening to him read it is a joy. I highly, highly recommend this book.

And then a book that he wrote, soon after is called effortless. And that is all about making what is essential, easy and fun. So you first decide what is essential. And then after you’ve decided what’s essential from the book essentialism, you make it effortless and the only way we’re able to get things done is if they’re effortless. And I love that concept so much because we both know that doing anything difficult is going to feel insurmountable at times, it’s going to feel like we’re paralyzed, we’re going to face that wall of awful it is going to be so difficult for us to move forward and get things done unless it’s fun, and pretty much effortless.

And so the combination of those two books, I highly, highly recommend essentialism and effortless. The next book in this grouping, I don’t have a paper copy of I actually listened to it on Audible, and it’s called atomic habits. I talked about it in my episode, I think it was one of the first episodes that I recorded years ago, called ADHD and habits. And the book atomic habits is wonderful for someone with ADHD because it talks about making habits so tiny and small, small, small, small, small, small. For those of us with ADHD, we tried to like, kind of be dazzled our lives and make things so difficult for ourselves. We’re like, I’m gonna start working out seven hours a day, five days a week, we try to make our habits too big. And then of course, we drop them after the first three days. And so what James clear talks about in his book, atomic habits is making habits so tiny, and just improving by 1%. Each day, highly recommends.

The next book that I want to recommend is called Atlas of the heart by Brene. Brown. Now, if you have ADHD, that means that you likely struggle to identify, understand, process and soothe your emotions.

And this beautiful book, Atlas of the heart has helped me so much to develop an emotional vocabulary. If you’ve listened to this podcast for a while, you know that I am someone who could probably name three or four emotions for myself. If somebody asked me how I was feeling, I wouldn’t know what to say. And so I would say like, Fine, sad, mad or excited, like I could identify a couple strong emotions. But my emotional vocabulary was very, very limited. It had no nuance it had no, there was nothing special about it. I just there like five, four or five emotions that I could identify. And that was it. The book Atlas of the heart has helped me so much to develop an emotional vocabulary. And in it Brene, brown lists different types of emotions, and like why they show up in our lives, and it has helped me so much.

Now. This book is absolutely gorgeous. I have the paper copy. I listened to it on Audible. I love Brene Brown’s books, she reads them herself on Audible is so great. I love that she’s just really fun to listen to. I feel like we could be friends. The paper copy is gorgeous. However, I throw out covers I don’t know about you like why? Why do books have sleeves? I don’t know. They’re really annoying. So as soon as I get a book with the sleeve, the sleeve goes in the trash. But I will tell you it is a beautiful sleeve. And I apologize to Brene for throwing it out. But the inside of the book is pretty too. I highly recommend this book. For men and women. I want to say like, if you’re a man listening to this podcast and you’re like on I want to write a book about emotions that stupid, I understand comma, however, I really recommend that you at least engage just a tiny bit with like, maybe we could start to name and recognize emotions in our bodies. Because if you remember, your emotion is the fuel that drives your actions. So your emotions matter so much. And this book Atlas of the heart will help you identify them. Love, love, love.

Okay, this next book comes with a lot of caveats and disclaimers. Okay, ready for them. Ready, ready, ready.

This book is slightly problematic. And yet it still makes my top 10 List slightly problematic. I will acknowledge that and I do want to preface and let you know that I know that this book is problematic and yet it still changed my life. And if you struggle in the same way that I struggle, I think this book might be helpful to you and so I want to recommend it. Okay. The book is it reading? It’s loving what is by Byron Katie? Loving what is by Byron Katie. Here’s why this book is amazing. I was always someone who fought against reality, meaning if it was raining, I was mad that it was raining. If someone was doing anything, I was mad that they were doing it I thought people should be different than they are. I thought the world should be dead. front than it is and I was constantly frustrated.

Side note, life coach coming in here, if you are constantly frustrated, you likely are fighting against reality. And so this book loving what is has been really helpful to me to just accept reality.

Now let me tell you why it’s problematic. There’s some gaslighting in this book, there is some, like trying to make bad things seem good. And that’s not that’s not what I think we should do. Okay, so it’s not that I think we should make bad things seem good, and be excited about abuse or terrible things happening in the world. However, it has been helpful to me to recognize that like, this is happening, this is reality, this is what’s going on, and I can accept it.

Now, once I’ve accepted it, I can make changes, right? I can make different choices. I can set boundaries, I can, you know, whatever, I can make changes. But the first step is accepting just the reality of what is and so this book, you may hate it, but for me, it was very transformative. It was so helpful.

So that’s a loving what is by Byron Katie. All right, the next book comes in a group. I’ve talked about these books in different episodes. And actually, I had the honor of interviewing Dr. Lindsay Gibson, on my podcast, the books are adult children of emotionally immature parents, and recovering from emotionally immature parents by Dr. Lindsay Gibson, highly recommends, my theory is that many, if not most, if not all adults with ADHD were parented by emotionally immature parents. And what’s interesting about that is when you think about ADHD, and how so many of us are emotionally immature, because we are emotionally dysregulated. And we’ve never learned to identify, understand, process and soothe our own emotions, that is most likely true of our parents as well. And so as we are on a self development journey of learning those skills, we may recognize that our parents never developed those skills. And these books, adult children of emotionally immature parents, and recovering from emotionally immature parents have been so helpful to me in my own journey navigating life as an adult child, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.

Also, if you haven’t listened to my podcast episode with Dr. Lindsay Gibson, I believe it is called. Do you have emotionally immature parents? That podcast episode is life changing? I highly recommend it.

Okay, I’m moving my books around here getting to the next one. The next one is a grouping of books on boundaries. Isn’t that lovely? I’ve mentioned many of these on the podcast before but I want to consolidate them for you here. The first book is called boundaries by Townsend and cloud, I cannot find my copy of it, which makes me really sad. I don’t know if I lent it out. If if I lend it out to you? Can you give it back to me, please, because I need the book back because I mean, I know I could just buy another paper copy for like 10 bucks. But I love to have my notes. I don’t know if you’re like me. But I like to have a paper copy of a book. I love to write notes. And I love to write thoughts in the margin and like different memories, especially with books like this on like boundaries, self development, like the recovering from emotionally mature parents like those kinds of things. I just make a lot of notes in that book. And so I want my own copy back, but I have no idea where it is. And we moved recently. I don’t know if I lost in the move, whatever.

So it’s boundaries by Townsend and cloud. I will say that that particular book approaches boundaries kind of from a kind of a religious context. It’s not a religious book, I would I wouldn’t say it’s like a religious book, but it kind of approaches boundaries from a Christian context. So if you are someone who grew up in a Christian household, even if you don’t identify as a Christian now, but you grew up in that household, it’s actually really helpful just to dismantle a lot of toxic things that Christians say in order to cross your boundaries. So it’s actually very, very helpful. If you grew up in a Christian household, even if you don’t identify as Christian now, however, if religion was never a part of your life or Christian religion was never a part of your life. You might not resonate with that book particularly.

And so the book that I would recommend is set boundaries, find peace by Nedra Glover. twap I mean, this book y’all, you I’m sure you read it. I’m sure you’re already following Nigel trois. But on all of the socials like it, this is just the most simple practical book on boundaries ever. I love it. Love it. I also had the privilege of interviewing Nedre on my podcast last year, so you can go find that episode is just called boundaries with Ninja 12. And, y’all, this book is love Lee, I use it all the time. I use it as a reference. And I really appreciate Nedra and the work that she’s done. This next recommendation is actually a book on boundaries within the context of business, which is really interesting. I know there are a lot of ADHD entrepreneurs out there. And so I thought that this book would be really great. It’s called necessary endings by Henry Cloud. This is the cloud that CO wrote the boundaries book that I said was from a Christian perspective, this Book is not from any sort of religious perspective, there’s no like, there’s nothing really religious in it at all. It is simply a book, I love the tagline.

What is it called? Hang with me here just a second. Because it’s real good. The tagline is, the employees, businesses and relationships that all of us have to give up in order to move forward. This is a good book, Love it, love it highly recommend to you, especially if you are in entrepreneurship is, especially if you’re in a family business. Who if you’re in a family business, I’m just sending you a big hug. Big hug. Big, big, big hug. All right, where are we here, we have three more groupings, we have the trauma grouping.

That’s gonna be fun. Then we have healthy spirituality grouping. And then we have the honorable mentions. Okay, and then we’re gonna be all done. So the trauma grouping, this is something that has become very important to me. And I have incorporated into my learning and my growing in the last two years. So first, it was my own personal self development. And then I began to incorporate trauma informed coaching in my coaching practice. And actually, I’m so pumped because I’m starting a trauma informed coaching certification, as in I am being certified as a trauma informed coach, Thursday. I’m so excited. That’s tomorrow. So tomorrow for me, by the time this comes out, it will have already happened or a started, and I’m really looking forward to that.

So the first one is the Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Vander Kolk. This book is super trendy. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of it. I’m sure a lot of you have read it or tried to read it. I want you to understand that this book is more of like a textbook. And it’s also very difficult to read, like lots of trigger warnings with this book. I like adorably tried to read like a little bit before bed every night and then just went to bed and like was triggered every single night to like, okay, maybe we don’t read this book before bed. But what is so fascinating to me, is the ideas that he presents in this book about trauma, and about how most of us experienced trauma.

I did not know that I thought trauma was something that happened exclusively to people who were you know, in physically abusive situations or, you know, something like really major happening, what I didn’t realize is that anything that overwhelms our nervous system can be traumatic, especially if we don’t have a soft place to land. When that happens. I am working on synthesizing my thoughts regarding trauma and ADHD. I haven’t like put it all together yet. And so I don’t feel comfortable having a podcast episode on that.

Although I have invited Gabor Ma Tei to come on my podcast, I think four times. And he’s not saying yes, yeah, I do not know why. Because he’s going on a lot of podcasts. He should definitely come on mine. But I would love to have an expert talk about it so that I don’t have to. But suffice it to say this book is fan tastic it’s fantastic. I don’t know if I should say more. I’m just gonna leave it at that.

The book that I actually recommend to like the lay person when they are wanting to read about trauma is called What happened to you by Dr. Perry. And Oprah Winfrey. I mean, kind of random. But amazing. This book has been so user friendly, it is still slightly triggering, I will warn you about that. But it has been so much easier to digest, to read and to kind of like apply and synthesize much easier than the Body Keeps the Score. Again, that’s called What happened to you by Dr. Perry. And Oprah. And I’m listening to the audiobook. I still have two hours left, like why are audiobooks so long, but I’m listening to the audiobook, they read, they go back and forth, and they like have conversations and it’s really beautiful. I highly recommend that.

I’m sorry to say that like these books were transformative for me. This one, I did not read the whole thing. I will admit that to you. But it’s called was it even abuse by Emma rose by him. And the tagline is restoring clarity after covert abuse. I did not read the whole thing. But what was really like helpful to me, was a lot of validation, and a lot of clarity coming from this book. And so if you are wondering, is what I went through even abuse, like my therapist says it is and but like, I never identified it as abuse, was it question mark? This book is a really good one was it even abuse restoring clarity after covert abuse, I highly recommend for those of you who might resonate with that.

Alright, the last one that I’m going to mention here is again, one from a Christian perspective. It’s called an Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. I know not all of my listeners are Christians totally fine. You all know that I am. And I just want to recommend this for any Christian listening because as someone who grew up in the church and is now involved in the church, still, I want you to know that I have experienced a lot of spiritual abuse.

And I think that that is something that many people do experience and this book is great, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. And the tagline here is it’s impossible to be spiritually mature while remaining emotionally immature. I’m a read that again. It’s impossible to be spiritually mature. While remaining emotionally immature. It’s by Peter Scott zero. So good. It’s so good. Okay, let’s go to the honorable mentions. There are three honorable mentions Are you ready for them the first one I listened to an audible I don’t have it here with me it’s called a world without email by Cal Newport. Really great book on staying focus throughout throughout your day and not letting every single like email interaction kind of set you off course it is another book in the category of not ADHD specific but really great for the ADHD mind if you find yourself getting distracted all day at work. A world without email is a great book.

The next one is Daring Greatly by Brene. Brown Brene gets two books on my recommended list. She is so good. Really all of her books are amazing, Daring Greatly how the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live love parent and lead. I hate vulnerability. It feels disgusting. It makes me want to puke. If that is you. You need to read this book. It’s so good. And then a book that I love on like for entrepreneurship and business is called Good to Great. And essentially it’s by Jim Collins, and it is being able to sacrifice what is good in order to embrace what is great. The tagline here is Why Some Companies Make the Leap and others don’t. It takes a lot of bravery to run a company and it is really hard to stop doing things that are working in order to make changes and potentially become great. So that’s on the honorable mention list if you could see a huge stack of books here at literally as high as my head. Hopefully you nerded out with me on this podcast and really enjoyed these book recommendations.

Of course we will list them in the show notes. No, I’m not going to have Amazon links. I’m not an influencer so you’re gonna have to find them on Amazon yourself. But yes, I will list all of the titles in the show notes. And do not forget to give this pod a rating. And if you have capacity, a little bit of a review, I promise not to ask you for like a long time. Okay? I promise to ask you for a long time, but it would mean so much thank you have an amazing week. Can’t wait to talk to you next time. If you’re being treated for your ADHD, but you still don’t feel like you’re reaching your potential you’ve got to join focused. It’s my monthly coaching membership where I teach you how to tame your wild thoughts and create the life that you’ve always wanted. No matter what season of life you’re in, or where you are in the world focus does for you. All materials and call recordings are stored in the site for you to access at your convenience. Go to I have adhd.com/focused for all the info.

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