Elevate Difference

The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health, and Life

In the style of many self-help books, Linda Hawes Clever, MD, is a product of and a subscriber to the program of renewal that she presents in her book. In the span of eighteen months, the physician endured the death of her parents, a home burglary, the loss of two jobs, and her husband’s cancer diagnosis. In the process of dealing with the impact of these traumatic events, Clever reached out to others who were interested in revamping their own lifestyles and ended up founding RENEW, a not-for-profit that “aims to help busy, devoted people sustain or regain enthusiasm, effectiveness, meaning and, yes, joy.” The Fatigue Prescription: Four Steps to Renewing Your Energy, Health, and Life brings together Clever's experience from her ten years of heading up the company and laying out a four pronged plan to recapture energy and motivation. Whether stress and fatigue stem from life-altering events or just daily life itself, Clever’s thorough, warm-hearted guide is intended to give readers the tools to ditch their ruts and find their groove.

Clever's writing is persistently optimistic and quippy. The book is brimming with quotables from both the author and other sources as diverse as Langston Hughes, South Pacific, Rumi, and Wendell Berry. The requisite checklists and brainstorming questions are laced with good humor. Clever's voice is a strong selling point for her The Fatigue Prescription. It makes you feel taken care of—you can tell Clever is a doctor with a warm and friendly bedside manner.

In fact, Clever's profession shapes her recommendations in many ways, bringing a unique and holistic focus to her prescription for better living. She includes extensive sections about taking care of your body and brain and backs up her advice by referencing, in plain English, various medical studies including a fascinating study about possible links between longevity and positive attitudes.

However, the book is still plagued by some of the familiar demons of the self-help genre. While Clever tries to keep things simple by outlining four steps to a fatigue remedy, the book wanders from this premise and spins new jargon that can get confusing: there are renew-o-meters, buff-o-meters, and three kinds of “buckets” for your self-esteem, worthiness, and energy. Also, the prescription metaphor, while catchy, doesn’t quite work to describe Clever's approach accurately and has to undergo some complex contortions to try to encompass all of the recommendations put forth by the author.

The Fatigue Prescription does offer inroads to making a change and plenty of positive affirmations. Clever writes a prescription for combating fatigue but she acknowledges that it’s not a magic pill you can pop and forget about. Her approach engages the reader in intense reflection and reevaluation of fundamental values and priorities in order to begin the journey towards rediscovering lost energy.

Written by: Jo Ristow, October 13th 2010