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The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  465 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A powerful and inspiring examination of the connection between the potential for great talent and conditions commonly thought to be “disabilities,” revealing how the source of our struggles can be the origin of our greatest strengths.

In The Power of Different, psychiatrist and bestselling author Gail Saltz examines the latest scientific discoveries, profiles famous geniuse
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Flatiron Books
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  465 ratings  ·  95 reviews

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Bitchin' Reads
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway.

I know it took a while to finish, but well worth it. Gail Saltz has set out to redefine the stigmas associated with what has been called mental disorders/disabilities, terms she tried to move from by calling them 'brain differences.' Everyone is different, she argues, and as such everybody's brains will be different too--in how they process information, the output that results, how they function within school and work (and society as a whole). She emphasize
☘Tara Sheehan☘
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I truly loved this book. As a mother of 2 daughters on the Autism Spectrum I was particularly interested in the last chapter which dealt specifically with this. The quotes from adults on the spectrum who talked about things from their perspective, what they felt, what they were thinking, etc because so many times I would nearly jump from excitement upon finding something that seemed to explain more fully what my children are currently going through. The information in this book is extraordinary ...more
Lynette Caulkins
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is an important book. I received an advanced copy, and I hope that after it's published in March it permeates many fields, for its information is vital to so many of us: parents, teachers, counselors and psychologists, doctors, therapists, employers, anyone struggling with mental and/or emotional conditions, really - all members of our diverse society should be exposed to this information.

The Power of Different is set up in chapters that examine Learning Differences (Dyslexia); Distractibil
Nicole Oke
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an empowering and insightful book for sure, and it really hit home! All teachers should read it. I would recommend this to anyone and everyone because we all know someone who's brain works differently.

First things first, I'm in my 20's, I have a well-paying job in a media and tech industry for a company that is a leading social entertainment publisher ranked among the top 20 websites in the world. I am a Quality Assurance Specialist at this company. One of my disabilities (OCD) is a key
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
On the positive side, I learned a lot about various brain disorders. I thought that aspect of the topic was covered well with good examples and quotes from people who have the disorders and have learned to cope and even excel. Another big plus is the emphasis on how we all can better relate to others who have brain disorders. One example is "people first" where we say and see "a person with dyslexia" rather than a "dyslexic." The latter actually calls the person by the name of the disorder. That ...more
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Dr. Saltz graphically shows the link between mental disorder and genius. She systematically covers topics like OCD, Autism and Bipolar Disorder and how historically many of the world's most creative minds have suffered from these maladies. This book goes beyond that in suggesting how children and adults with these issues ways they can overcome their mental differences (which she uses instead of disability). If you know or are related people who fall into these areas this book would be very help ...more
Chelsea Arata
A beautiful read on why I love working with the mentally ill- because they have different brain structures that produce such excellent insights. Thank you, Dr. Saltz, for believing in the power of your patients just as much as I believe in mine!
Jeffrey Hatcher
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
People having various neurological or psychiatric disorders frequently enrich society by virtue of having a distinctly different perspective on life due to nature's allotments. In The Power of Different, Dr. Gail Saltz lays out various case studies in which altered abilities in some mental functions give way to enhanced abilities in others. Saltz makes a successful bid to sensitize her readers to the complexity of human thought and capability. She also demonstrates the potential costs incurred b ...more
Peter Mcloughlin
Very accessible book on the gifts of people usually considered disordered by doctors and teachers. More a case of a round peg too often being forced into a squarish hole of Education or vocation. Often what is called disordered thinking can be a change of perspective that can bring about creativity and resilience to work around obstacles and come up with novel solutions. Most of the problems have a downside and adversity connected with them to some degree but also have the potential for thriving ...more
Kris - My Novelesque Life
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it

(Review Not on Blog)

"A powerful and inspiring examination of the connection between potential for great talent and conditions commonly thought to be 'disabilities'" (From Publisher)

I picked up this book with no expectations. I read the full synopsis and it sounded like an interesting read. I have always been interested in knowing the different ways in which people think and function. It is nice to read a book that looks at a disorder and sees where the positive is and how to use i
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Disclaimer: This book was a Goodreads giveaway prize.

Fascinating insight. We can all hope that through knowledge and understanding, the stigmatized barriers surrounding brain differences can be torn down. I was especially appreciative that this book was written in a way that made it very easy to understand.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me a better insight on different mental disorders and how I can better support children and adults through their struggles. I recommend it for anyone who has an interest in genius, creativity, or mental disorders.
Hilary R
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was so inspiring and reassuring as a mother of a child with ADHD and ASD. It put into words so many things I've felt but been unable to articulate. I am grateful for the examples and inspiration the stories she shared offered. And just grateful to hear from others who have walked a similar path and who have found purpose, meaning and fulfillment.
I reviewed this title on my blog.
After hearing several podcast interviews with the author, I wasn't able to resist buying the book. I love the idea of bringing attention to the positive aspects of mental disorders, both to give hope to those afflicted and to enable them and society to harness strengths that might otherwise go unnoticed. Unfortunately, the book felt more like a collection of anecdotes and examples of brilliant people who became successful despite having a mental disorder rather than a presentation of the upside ...more
Angel Graham
Feb 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
While the topic was quite interesting, I don't really feel that the author made the link between being "different" and being genius.

As another reviewer said, Simply the "Power of Different" would have been enough.
Staci Suhy
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free as part of a first reads promotion
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a Goodreads win review. This is an excellent book about disabilities, disorders, and mental illnessess. But dispite these some people flourish and have great talent and creativity.
Sep 28, 2017 rated it liked it
First: Baaah ha ha ha ha ha ahhhhh ha ha ha ha haha.

Second: If you are easily offended or into anything p.c., don't read this review.

This was an easy, fun read. I loved it for what it was attempting and for its sheer, delightful ridiculousness. Would have been a fun one page theory. And there is a grain of something interesting there. Which is: Humans have long known that insanity and genius are linked. We don't need any researchers to tell us that, we have known and been pondering this since an
Nov 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Dr. Saltz writes about various brain disorders including dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism, focusing on how various people with these disorders can use the gifts that come with them to their advantage.

Her conclusion is pretty straightforward: People whose brains are mildly ill are often more gifted than those whose brains are normal or those with severe illness. The key is early intervention and treatment, as well as greater acceptance from soci
Hallie Cantor
Jul 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The author, a psychiatrist and professor, discusses well-known mental conditions and how they can be a double-edged sword - disruptive and often destructive, yet filled with potential for creative and spiritual achievement. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific disorder -- e.g. bipolar, autism, schizophrenia -- and noted individuals who have learned to manage their disorders while utilizing the positive aspects to attain great heights in the arts and sciences.

She does not sugarcoat each disor
Nina Voelker
Mar 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's easy to forget how uniquely we each experience this thing called life. I often think of Pessoa's reminder, "it's the central error of the literary imagination to suppose that others are like us and must feel as we do. Fortunately for Humanity, each man is just who he is, it being given only to the genius to be a few others as well." In The Power of Different, Dr. Gail Saltz explores how brain differences often correlate to unique genius.

"Hallowell's particular talent, which he directly attr
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it

I found this book to be insightful. Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist, probes the link between mental illness, learning disabilities, and genius; take for example the connection between autism and savant ability. Saltz admits that with all brain differences or disorders the most extreme symptoms would likely overwhelm any inherent strengths. She begins by asking several questions.

“What is genius, and how can it coexist with what we consider a mental flaw in the form of a brain difference.”
“What are th
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Power of Different is a diverse literature that focuses on the topic of mental disabilities that affect the lives of several individuals but also looks at the greater potential of talent these individuals have because of their disability. This book works to redefine the stigma that is associated with many common mental disorders including ADHD, Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety, Autism, Schizophrenia, and more. Instead of looking at these dilemmas as disabilities she labels them as ‘brain difference ...more
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Review of the Audiobook

Published by Macmillan Audio in 2017
Read by the author, Gail Saltz
Duration: 8 hours, 18 minutes

Psychiatrist Gail Saltz looks at the larger categories of "brain differences", such as dyslexia, depression and ADD in this interesting audiobook. This is a surface-level look at these brain differences (it comes out to a little more than an hour per difference she discusses - you can't expect any more than surface-level discussion), but informative nonetheless. Consi
Kathy Duffy
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
Really interesting, well written for any layperson laying out plainly the traits of various brain differences -- both the positives and the negatives of many DSM classifications. From Depression or ADD, Hyperactivity or Dyslexia, the author focuses on the things those brains excel at -- where they have superior skills and give examples of high achieving individuals with those diagnosis as well as discussing methods for overcoming some of the functions that are hindering them.

The fact that the la
Dan Connors
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018-books
If you've ever felt that your or someone you love's brain is a little bit different, this is a great book and an excellent review of the different brain differences that can bring both despair and unique super-abilities.
The author covers in detail the six main mental and brain differences that can cause developmental issues in both children and adults, all of which come with their own stigmas and problems. The six are: Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, Anxiety, Depression, Bipolar disorde
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Labels. We all use them to describe different things, objects and unfortunately people.

In Dr. Gail Saltz's book, she examines the underlying principle that labels aren't necessary. In this case, brain disorders or as she referred to them as brain differences.

Interviewing everyday people or those of fame such as Anne Rice and David Sadaris and examine the lives of Einstein, Beethoven and Darwin, among others, Saltz teaches us the power of strength vs weakness and how brain differences can be th
Eduardo Xavier
Gail brings attention to the positive aspects of mental disorders such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and autism, Asperger and those afflicted. I liked the collection of examples of peoples who became successful despite having a mental disorder.
I enjoyed the discussion about depression or ADD, Hyperactivity or Dyslexia, where author focuses as an opportunity where may brains excel (when people overcome the situation, actually). This is a second autho
Megan johnson
Jan 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an essential handbook of hope for anyone who has or loves someone with a "brain difference." I was captivated by this book the way I can enter a fictional world and grieve at the end of the book that it is over. I didn't want this one to end. As a mother of 5, several having brain differences, I have renewed hope in the strengths that their "disorders" bring. I appreciate the author's candid presentation of struggles balanced with the factors that helped struggling children become happy, ...more
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How is this book different from "Neurodiversity"? 2 2 Aug 08, 2018 08:23AM  
Hume-Fogg Readers: The power of different 1 2 May 17, 2018 07:54PM  
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“It's unfortunate and worth noting that the same word we use to describe [pathological anxiety], we also use to describe our feelings about a high-pressure day at the office. The word 'anxiety', in all of its derivations, is among the most overused in the English language.” 0 likes
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