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Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams
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Refuse to Choose!: Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  2,502 ratings  ·  235 reviews
Don't know what to do with your life? Drawn to so many things that you can't choose just one? New York Times best-selling author Barbara Sher has the answer--do EVERYTHING!

With her popular career counseling sessions, motivational speeches, workshops, and television specials, Barbara Sher has become famous for her extraordinary ability to help people define and achieve the
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 6th 2007 by Rodale Books (first published January 1st 2006)
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4.09  · 
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 ·  2,502 ratings  ·  235 reviews

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May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
yes , actually i am a multi potential scanner . and i thank you for making somewhere for us . a home to belong
Jamie Belanger
Nov 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who feels they have too many interests
Recommended to Jamie by: Paul Belanger
I think it will be difficult to write a review of this book without exceeding the 20,000 character limit. But I'll try.

Refuse To Choose! is about Scanners - people who simply cannot immerse themselves in just one career for their whole lives. Scanners have so many interests (and find new ones just about every day) that they often have trouble focusing on any one interest for an extended period of time. I know I fit in with this group, because in the process of composing this review, I alt-tabbed
Sep 22, 2009 rated it it was amazing
If you are the type of person that jumps from interest to interest and you either have judgments around that, want to find a job suited to you, or just want to know it's okay to do that, this book rocks.

I don't have ADD, but I feel like I do because I just LOVE learning. But I've been trying to stop jumping from thing to thing because it's culturally alienating. Well now I feel proud of my insatiable appetite for learning, I feel more confident looking for jobs and less pressured into finding m
May 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
I read this more for affirmation than for practical advice. I don't know if I'll use all the techniques Barbara Sher recommends for pursuing lots of interests at once (though I do like the sound of having several "avocation stations" -- little wheeled file carts with work surfaces on top so you can have multiple projects ready to go for whenever the whim strikes you). But what I really did like about this book was the permission it gives to go ahead and be interested in lots of stuff, to move fr ...more
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The initial "You're a Scanner! It's okay! You're SPECIAL!!" intro got a bit tedious. I think that’s because the author self-identifies as one and is giddy with the thought that “it’s not wrong to be this way!” Like other readers, I think some people would grab onto these ideas as excuses. But some people will grab on to anything they can distort or interpret in extreme ways, so I don’t think that fact invalidates the general idea. (I would call that a “slippery slope” argument, btw.)

The early ch
Sheryl Tribble
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought her suggestions of careers often unrealistic, I'll never use half her suggestions (some of which would just add to the clutter, IMHO), and she's a bit too much of a cheerleader for me, so why did I give the book five stars? Because I have read a ridiculous number of "figure out your career" kinda books, and she is a breath of fresh air. In my teen years, I loved the idea of marrying someone who, like me, wasn't interested in "a career," and then sending each other to school, repeatedly ...more
Jul 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Where I got the book: my local library.

My name is Jane, and I . . . am a Scanner.

At last someone has put a name to what I tend to think of as my Low Boredom Threshold. My ability to get interested in a great many different things has resulted in a good many careers (some carried on simultaneously), far too many hours in higher ed. and a general feeling of frustration that I’ll never be able to get my life “together.” It wasn’t until I rather unexpectedly quit a job in 2009 (long story) and, inst
E.K. Carmel
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Do you have trouble sticking with anything or are interested in so many things you can't focus on just one? Do you get bored as soon as you learn how to do something? Are you unwilling to commit to a specific career path so work at low-paying jobs instead? Do you keep changing your mind about what you want to do and end up doing nothing? Do you quit because you think you'll miss out on something better?

If you said yes to any of these, chances are good that you're a Scanner. The term itself descr
Oct 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I just love Barbara Sher and wrote her and she actually replied and gave me advise.
Her books are about living your wishes and dreams. And it's good advise.
I'm reading all of her books and waiting for more.
And I'm reading them all a second time. Her advise is right up my alley. I love lists, being on task, charts, schedules and accomplishing things. She talks about childhood dreams and how they keep coming back and don't feel you can't accomplish anything. She tells us how and uses people she's
May 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Stumbling on to this book at the age of 44 leaves me with feelings of relief and despair. How did I not ever find this author before? But I'm glad I did. This book helped me see that I'm not flawed, I've been using the wrong tools to measure myself.
Sep 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
This book has real potential to change my life. Many self-help books are 'good' because of what psychologists call the Barnum Principle. That says that if you make things generic enough, what you say is bound to apply to just about anybody. However, this book is *not* like that. This book is specific enough that most people will find that it doesn't apply to them at all. But it definitely does apply to me. Barbara Sher defines several types of what she calls Scanners. There are Indecisives, Spec ...more
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
For you, if you feel a lifetime isn't nearly long enough to pursue all your interests and make use of all your abilities.

Barbara Sher addresses those of us with a multitude of interests and talents, the ones who swooned when they got a look at the course catalog in college, the ones who wanted to major in all of human knowledge. Not only does she describe us so accurately that I felt the book was about me personally, but every chapter had insights and techniques I could (and did) put to use imme
Mar 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has been charged as being a "jack of all trades"
Recommended to Teresa by: a trusted friend
This is a manual of sorts for people Barbara Sher refers to as Scanners.

Scanners are people who enjoy doing a lot of different things — with absolute passion! They are multi-skilled, well-read and interested in countless topics, professions and hobbies; they are challenged to choose between a "favorite" or "dream" job by traditional standards. And their days and homes are literally cluttered with a wide variety of clues with regard to this reality.

Scanners find it easy to start jobs, projects,
Julie M
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
FANTASTIC book if you, like me, have 100 ideas of brilliant project swirling around in your head at any given time, love to do EVERYTHING, are interested in all kinds of topics ranging from string theory to bel canto to interior design.... Barbara Sher gives clear, simple, practical advice and direction for all of us that can't choose one thing, one path, one career, one hobby, and that is: DON'T CHOOSE. Do it all. She gives very specific, but appropriately high-level big ideas about how to help ...more
Apr 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm still in a tizzy about this book! I can't say that everyone will love it, but all of the author's descriptions and suggestions fit me perfectly. I'm so excited to know there are other people like me out there, who like to try and do and experience many things, and don't feel the need to "finish" the project or master the subject. I got lots of great suggestions on managing my projects, and most of all, giving myself permission to be the curious learner that I am.
Nov 20, 2008 rated it liked it
somewhat helpful, mostly comforting. worth reading if you are in a funk about not being able to do everything you love everyday.
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
It's rare to read a book that changes the way I see myself, but this book has accomplished just that very thing. All my life I've struggled with the feeling of dissatisfaction, unable to settle on just one thing. I've never really had just one calling, and I've always felt inferior because of it, as if there was a piece of me missing. But Barbara Sher has changed all that. I'm not defective, I'm gifted with curiosity. I'm not flighty, I'm blessed with the unusual abilities of a scanner. I'll nev ...more
Jul 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was by far the best book I read for polymaths. And do you know why? Because it was very practical and because its advice was catered to the different types of polymaths. We may love to switch from field to field, but the speed and the depth of specialization varies wildly. Another reason for which I loved this book so much was a tiny phrase where the author recommended acknowledging which are your role models to know what you really care about and that made all the difference to me. It's so ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
At the moment I'm fortunate enough to get career coaching at my job. So that means I finally have to tackle the question "How do I build a career even though I have too many interests to focus on just one thing?". This book was supposed to help me with that. And it kind of did. I had the chance to reflect a lot and there were some good suggestions in here. But much of the book is filled with exercises that feel silly to me. I wouldn't recommend spending money on this.
Allysia K
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by several people but I resisted reading it for a while because I figured it would be cheesy. But now I find myself recommending it to everyone with a lot of passions and interests like myself! It's great to be validated for not wanting "one true career". I connected strongly to being a serial specialist, and it's given me a whole new lens to view my life trajectory, and a whole new appreciation for my husband (who is a flexible jack of all trades).
Teo 2050
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
(view spoiler)
Danielle Cumberland
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is extraordinary. I had a few quibbles with it but not enough to take it down a star. Barbara Sher gets five stars for this book if only because this book is bursting with ideas and tools for nuts like me.

I remember reading about Scanners in one of her books quite a long while ago. I thought, “That sort of sounds like me,” but I was young when I read that book - probably <25 yo - and I had not lived enough adulthood to really see how well I fit with her Scanner idea. This book, tho
Jan 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought the book was good because it validated me for some of my “scanner” behaviors. I think if I read this in my 20’s it would be eye opening. In my 30’s it’s validating.

I thought it was good to hear other points of view. However the 2nd half of the book is trying to identify prescribed scanner types and what to do if you have these traits and it got tedious. I pushed thru and finished the book through. I think it could’ve been said with less words. I would’ve rated it a 4 if it wasn’t so r
Jul 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I appreciated aspects of this book, but mostly it was pretty silly.

I recognize that "hey, you display these behavioural traits, here are some ways to make them work for you" is not a good way to sell a book. No--you must be labeled as a unique category of being, and then be offered a "revolutionary program" that will change your entire relationship with yourself. There was a lot of emphasis on how people-who-like-to-do-lots-of-things are "just wired differently!" and have "unique" brains that "j
Rift Vegan
Jan 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008, 2010, 2015
Very Much Enjoyed! Sher has an enthusiasm for life in all of it's diversities and it's great to realize "hey, I'm like that too!"

The Scanner Daybook is one of my favorite suggestions. It's basically an idea book. As an avid journaler, I've had idea books in the past and was glad for the reminder.

The second half of the book focuses on the careers that Scanners may be interested in. This was less useful to me, but there were still good tips interspersed to keep me reading.

Sher tells a great stor
Laura Talley
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I tend to learn everything I can about a subject until I feel I understand it as thoroughly as I want (which is usually when information starts repeating itself and you have to dig through the repetition to find something small you don't know), then I hop to the next. I get bored very easily after that and for me, boredom is absolutely torture. I get stressed thinking about having nothing new to learn or think about or do. I made a list of subjects I would love to master and I would need 1000 li ...more
Aug 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was really interested in the concept of this book, and the author sounds like she's a very good life coach. The style of the book, however, was very chaotic. She spent a great deal of time simply telling feelings and experiences and very little making any clear conclusions. It would have been great if it were intended simply as stories from her life, and if I wasn't specifically looking for the help and solutions she continually promised throughout the book.

I don't write many online reviews,
Miguel Stevens
The author provides great insights in all types of scanners and it's obvious that the author has experience in working with scanners. I might have been warned, but near the end I felt that the 'cookbook' format of the book was starting wear me down.
Laura Reading
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Like many of the reviewers I am also a Scanner. I will also admit that I have been a fan of Barbara's since the late 70s. Her books have helped me in the past and this one was not a disappointment. Her description of Scanners was spot on. Her techniques and demonstrative stories were very helpful. I will be rereading this book and putting more of the practices into play.
I read a library copy of Refuse To Choose but will be looking to purchase a personal copy.
With her previous books I pick up ext
Thanasis Karavasilis
Barbara is definitely quite passionate about the kind of people she calls Scanners. She is one of them and she devoted much of her time studying their unique way of perception.
I enjoyed the book and I was able to identify with most of the types of Scanners she analyzed. If you are unsure what you want to do with your life, if you think there are so many options, so many opportunities and so many things to learn, if you get bored easily and you are afraid you will never find your true calling, t
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No judgement. Just Feelings. 1 5 May 16, 2018 12:22PM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Barbara Sher is a speaker, career/lifestyle coach, and best-selling author of seven books on goal achievement. Her books have sold millions of copies and been translated into many languages. She has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, 60 Minutes, CNN, and Good Morning America and her public television specials ai
“Doing what you love isn't a priviledge; it's an obligation.” 38 likes
“Start small.
Start now.
Start everything.
And don’t bother to finish any of it.”
More quotes…