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Divergent Mind: Thriving in a World That Wasn't Designed for You

March 23, 2020

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A paradigm-shifting exploration of neurodivergent women—those with autism, ADHD, synesthesia, and other sensory processing differences—offering a timely, provocative examination of why these traits are overlooked in women and how our society can benefit from allowing their unique strengths to flourish.


As a successful Harvard and Berkeley-educated writer, entrepreneur, and devoted mother, Jenara Nerenberg was shocked to discover that her “symptoms”--only ever labeled as anxiety-- were considered autistic and ADHD. Being a journalist, she dove into the research and uncovered neurodiversity—a framework that moves away from pathologizing “abnormal” versus “normal” brains and instead recognizes the vast diversity of our mental makeups.

When it comes to women, sensory processing differences are often overlooked, masked, or mistaken for something else entirely. Between a flawed system that focuses on diagnosing younger, male populations, and the fact that girls are conditioned from a young age to blend in and conform to gender expectations, women often don’t learn about their neurological differences until they are adults, if at all. As a result, potentially millions live with undiagnosed or misdiagnosed neurodivergences, and the misidentification leads to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and shame. Meanwhile, we all miss out on the gifts their neurodivergent minds have to offer.

Divergent Mind is a long-overdue, much-needed answer for women who have a deep sense that they are “different.” Sharing real stories from women with high sensitivity, ADHD, autism, misophonia, dyslexia, SPD and more, Nerenberg explores how these brain variances present differently in women and dispels widely-held misconceptions (for example, it’s not that autistic people lack sensitivity and empathy, they have an overwhelming excess of it).

Nerenberg also offers us a path forward, describing practical changes in how we communicate, how we design our surroundings, and how we can better support divergent minds. When we allow our wide variety of brain makeups to flourish, we create a better tomorrow for us all.


An extraordinary, jaw-dropping take on a topic with which many women will identify.” – Library Journal, STARRED review

“Empowering…. This important book not only advocates for research and innovation; it demonstrates the power of acceptance, kindness, and the celebration of differences.”  (Booklist)

“Eye-opening and healing.” (Mary Pipher, New York Times bestselling author of Women Rowing North and Reviving Ophelia)

"Every woman who struggles to flourish in our one-size-fits-all society should read this book." (Susan Cain, NYTimes bestselling author of Quiet)

A signpost to a happier future in which the diversity of human wiring is celebrated while barriers to access are eliminated." (Steve Silberman, NYTimes bestselling author of NeuroTribes)

This book is powerful, much-needed for our times, and Jenara Nerenberg offers a unique blend of personal, scientific, and societal analysis. Divergent Mind is really for all women, giving them the chance to understand each others’ invisible differences and gifts.” (Elaine Aron, PhD, bestselling author of The Highly Sensitive Person)



Jenara Nerenberg lectures widely on neuroscience, innovation, sensitivity, leadership, and diversity. Selected as a “brave new idea” presenter by the Aspen Institute for her work on re-framing mental differences, Jenara is also the founder and host of The Neurodiversity Project, hosting events with bestselling authors in science and medicine who push for innovation in research and advocacy. She holds degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health and UC Berkeley. Her work has been published in Fast Company, NYMAG, Susan Cain’s Quiet Revolution, Garrison Institute, Elaine Aron’s HSP, Healthline, KQED, and elsewhere. In addition to her work as a journalist, Jenara is a frequent workshop facilitator, speaker, and event host for institutions including the Stanford Graduate School of Business, UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center, the Tahirih Justice Center, and Park Day School.


This giveaway is being brought to you by HarperOne, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.



Editor's Note: Porchlight Book Company has implemented the CDC’s recommendations for workplace cleaning, disinfecting, and social distancing. At this time, we intend to continue shipping books, even as employees nonessential to that operation have been directed to work from home.  But book giveaway shipments may see a lag in shipping time as we prioritize shipping book orders. We do want to keep getting you great books to read during this time, so hang in there! 

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