View Full Version : Highly Recommend Thom Hartmann's "Edison Gene"

03-23-05, 12:59 PM
I've been reading Thom Hartmann's books for almost a decade now -- His latest ADHD book, "The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child" is his best -- genetic research about ADHD. Great read -- I've handed out copies for friends with ADHD kids, and both parents and kids feel much better about themselves, good coping strategies. Hartmann argues that many cases of ADHD represent a genetic adaptation: something that's beneficial in the human gene pool.

I have a comprehensive review here that I wrote for my new web log:

Comments and posts welcome.


09-11-05, 06:57 PM
I'm glad I found this thread. I just read this book and would like to discuss it.

The thing I had most trouble with was his argument about dropping the behavior/reward system in favor of natural and logical consequences. Basically a natural consequence is you left your bike out so it got rusty. A logical consequence is you're being bad so we have to go home.

Mctavish has written that for AD/HD kids, (to paraphrase) a charted reward-based behavior-modification plan is the "only" therapy that works. So which view is correct?

Also, he seems to be totally leaving out the "inattentive" type of AD/HD. I don't think a dreamy space cadet would have lasted very long in a tiger-infested jungle...


09-11-05, 07:20 PM
Hello Ryan,

I think your concern about the behavior/reward system, and Hartmann's ideas about 'natural and logical consquences' is valid. I don't recommend a blind acceptance of his suggestions for all cases and circumstances. There are so many variables to consider, and if a reward system is working for you, then stick with it.

I'm not familiar with McTavish, so I can't comment, only to say that ADD ADHD is a relatively new diagnosis, new field of study, and there are many competing and sometimes complimentary theories, treatments, etc. While I like Hartmann's ideas, I don't believe that even he would suggest that his particular explanation for ADHD and his strategies would apply to everyone. For that matter, I have no doubt that in any given population of supposed ADDers, some will have been misdiagnosed, and the degree, or severity of their symptoms might be quite disparate. I don't think any one solution or theory applies to all -- I'd go on an individual, case-by-case basis and see what works for the individual. I'm far less concerned with the theoretical, and more concerned with the practical, and especially what works, and what doesn't for individuals. As far as the 'inattentive' type, this is a good example of the disagreement over diagnosis, and exactly what constitutes ADD/ADHD .. who's to say that in a few years, the definition, as well as subtypes, won't be completely redefined? I agree, the inattentive type poses problems.. It's been quite a while since I originally posted here, and I no longer have much exposer to ADD/ADHD kids, but from my experience, these types need some type of lesson plan, or activity which is reframed into an activity or area in which they have interest. The inattentive ADDers are black and white: either totally tuned out, or hyper-focused on what they find interesting/fascinating.

09-11-05, 07:47 PM
mctavish23 ( is a member of the forums and expert on ADD. I have found his posts uniformly informative and reliable.

I liked the overall theme of the book -- that we need to give ADD kids a positive sense of self, and tailor their educations to their strengths, not shoehorn them into a system designed to manufacture cubicle drones.

On the other hand, I think he spends too much time trying to back up his evolutionary theory with what will necessarily be mainly speculation. I think that section could have been cut in half at least (or is that just my "cut to the chase" trait surfacing? :)).

09-11-05, 09:46 PM
I have some catching up to do -- I haven't checked in in months before today.

I loved the overall theme, and although I agree that the book does focus on Hartmann's theory, from his point of view, recent resarch and discovery of the gene which is responsible for ADD/ADHD traits must have been sweet vidication for him -- before he had the research to back up his 'Hunter/Farmer' theory, it was just and intertaining hypothesis. Now with hard science, he's being taken more seriously. Not that the genetics discoveries back up all of his claims, but at least now you can't say that he's a crackpot, which was being said about him for years. It could turn out that the ADD gene might be valid, but that it didn't happen the way Hartmann has proposed.. still, The Edison Gene is really about what he considers the vindication of his theory, so I can excuse him for expounding on it. He has several other ADD books, and he covers different aspects of ADD ADHD in each.