Updated: Feb 19, 2019

In my 'research' on Amateur Renaissance-maniness I've stumbled across several books that peripherally relate (see Where Do Good Ideas Come From?) as well as one recently that directly attempts to tackle the subject called 'Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams.'

Some title.

I have to admit I haven't read it so I can't personally vouch for it.

It looks a little too self-helpy for my taste.

That being said: I'm going to post a few excerpts from it along with contemporaneous criticism.

Regardless of what I conclude, the book may hit the nail on the head for some people and wind up being of some help.

To begin, the author, Barbara Sher labels people with a wide array of interests as 'Scanners.'

Obviously she's never seen the movie or she may have come up with a different term.

Some of us have seen this famous clip from the movie 'Scanners'

Ok, grab what remains of your grey matter and check out this excerpt:


Scanners love to read and write, invent things, to design projects and businesses, to cook and sing and to create the perfect dinner party. (You'll notice I didn't use the word "or" because Scanners don't love to do one thing or the other, they love them all.) A Scanner might be fascineated with learning to play bridge or bocce, but once she gets good at it, she might never play it again. One Scanner I know proudly showed me a button she was wearing that said, "I Did That Already."

NOTE: I'm already skeptical but let's keep moving.

To Scanners the world is like a big candy store full of fascinating opportunities, and they they want is to reach out and stuff their pockets.

Now, correct me if I'm wrong but aren't commas NOT supposed to be used before and after a conjunction? If you use the word 'AND' what do you need a comma for? I hate it when books, articles do this and it always makes me suspect as to the quality of the information being sold. Although, I have seen The New Yorker do the same around the word 'BUT' so I'm probably wrong.

Yep, I'm wrong. I just checked. Shows you how much I know.


It sounds wonderful, doesn't it? The problem is, Scanners are starving in the candy store. They believe they're allowed to pursue only one path. But they want them all. If they force themselves to make a choice, they are forever discontented. But usually Scanners don't choose anything at all. And they don't feel good about it.
As kids, most Scanners had been having a great time! At school no one objected to their many interests, because every hour of ever student's school day is devoted to a different subject. But at some point in high school or soon after, everyone was expected to make a choice, and that's when Scanners ran into trouble. While some people happily narrowed down to one subject, Scanners simply couldn't.

Hmm, reminds me of 7th grade when I was kicking butt on the trumpet and I told my teacher I wanted to also learned trombone.

He looked at me like I was crazy and said 'but you'll ruin your embouchure.'

He let me try it anyway and I plunked around on it for a few days and then came to my senses.


The conventional wisdom was overwhelming and seemed indisputable: If you're a jack-of-all-trades, you'll always be a master of none. You'll become a dilettante, a dabbler, a superficial person --- and you'll never have a decent career. Suddenly, a Scanner who all through school might have been seen as an enthusiastic learner had now become a failure.
But one thought wouldn't leave my mind: If the world had just continued to accept them as they were, Scanners wouldn't have had any problems. With the exception of learning project management techniques, the only thing Scanners needed was to reject conventional wisdom that said they were doing something wrong and claim their true identity. Almost every case of low self-esteem, shame, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, indecisiveness, and inability to get into action simply disappeared the moment they understood that they were Scanners and stopped trying to be somebody else.
It appears that Scanners are an unusual breed of human being. One reason they don't recognize themselves is that they don't often meet people like themselves.
How do you know if you're a Scanner?
Maybe it would be useful to first discuss who isn't one.

Ok, alright...

Outside of the use of the word 'Scanner' I'm somewhat intrigued.

For more excerpts from this book, stay tuned or check out the link below.