Review by Tess Tabak
Think back to the last time something good happened to you – that you had something accepted to a literary magazine, or your scuba diving team made it to the semi-finals.
How long did that good feeling sit with you before you started thinking “What next?” Or doubting whether you’d ever achieve that high again?
If you struggle with the need for constant accomplishment and feelings of inadequacy, you might have “achiever fever.” No sooner have we achieved one victory than we’re hunting the next. In Claire Booth’s new self-help book, The Achiever Fever, Cure, she describes her own “fever” and offers practical suggestions to counter it.
Despite starting her own successful business, Booth felt like a failure. When she’s invited to join a group for start-up leads, she feels like a fraud, since her company is so much smaller than others in the group. Even though her business was doing well over all, she found herself struggling with the ups and downs of daily business – losing a single client felt like a personal failing.
The realization that all of this “achiever fever” was sabataging her happiness led her on a yearlong “mesearch” project of self improvement, which she catalogues in the book.
A businesswoman, many of the fixes in Booth’s book are based in real evidence, even if they sound a little New Age at times. Most of them are things that we know we should be doing, but that many of us find difficult to actually accomplish– such as meditation, regular exercise, and setting realistic goals. Booth uses her personal experience and some amusing anecdotes to encourage you to push past your discomfort and actually do these simple but effective activities. In one instance, allowing herself to feel her thoughts and practice mindfulness helps her to stay in an uncomfortable situation: “The thought about jumping into my car to drive away had passed and I hadn’t given in to it.”
Booth looks at common self help tropes from a market research viewpoint. She uses herself as a case study for the art of self improvement, specifically learning how to be happy with what you have. She is careful to also honor the achiever in her, since it’s led her to the successful life that she has. This book is about trying to balance your ambition with your happiness, how to achieve without going overboard.
Wherever you find yourself on the “achiever” scale, I think most of us can relate to the feeling of chasing highs and never feeling quite satisfied. When something good happens, instead of pausing to appreciate it, we look for the next bigger success, feeling miserable that there wasn’t more instead of happy with what we have. If you follow the advice in Booth’s book, you will gain tools to help yourself live in the moment. She includes highlights from popular self-help books, such as Katie Byron’s method for challenging illogical thoughts by reasoning them out logically. In the book, Booth explains how Byron’s series of challenges helps to balance your perceptions. Many of the methods in the book are close to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a method that is proven to reduce clinical depression.
Achiever Fever is a fun, quickly readable book with practical guidance on living your best self, geared towards people that prefer logical advice.
Achiever Fever was released January 22, 2019 from Life Tree Media.
The Furious Gazelle received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.