Refuse to Choose! by Barbara Sher is a self-help book designed to empower individuals with a wide range of interests and talents who may feel overwhelmed by their varied passions and pursuits. Sher introduces the concept of "Scanners" – people with a diverse array of interests – and provides strategies for embracing this multipotentiality. Here are the key ideas from the book:
The Scanner Personality
Sher introduces the concept of the "Scanner" personality, which describes individuals who have a wide range of interests and talents and who may become quickly bored with a single career or pursuit. Scanners often struggle with choosing a single path or feeling compelled to specialize.
Embracing Diversity
"Refuse to Choose!" encourages Scanners to embrace their diverse interests and talents as strengths rather than weaknesses. Sher suggests that having multiple passions can lead to a richer and more fulfilling life.
Scanner Daybook
The book introduces the concept of a "Scanner Daybook," which is a tool for capturing ideas, projects, and interests. It helps Scanners organize their thoughts and keep track of their various pursuits.
Creating a Renaissance Business
Sher discusses how Scanners can turn their multipotentiality into a career or business. She provides guidance on how to create a portfolio career, freelancing, or entrepreneurship that allows for flexibility and exploration.
The "Simmer" and "Serial Master" Modes
Sher identifies two primary modes of Scanner behavior: "Simmering" and "Serial Mastering." Simmering involves exploring multiple interests concurrently, while Serial Mastering focuses on pursuing one interest intensely for a period before moving on to another.
Planning and Goal-Setting
The book provides strategies for setting and achieving goals, even when they involve multiple interests. Sher suggests breaking goals down into manageable steps and using Scanner strengths to your advantage.
Overcoming Challenges
Sher addresses common challenges faced by Scanners, such as procrastination, self-doubt, and fear of commitment. She offers practical advice and exercises to help Scanners overcome these obstacles.
Support Networks
"Refuse to Choose!" emphasizes the importance of building a support network of like-minded individuals who understand and appreciate the Scanner's unique qualities and interests.
Continual Learning
Sher encourages Scanners to view learning as a lifelong pursuit and to embrace opportunities for personal and professional development.
Finding Joy and Fulfillment
Ultimately, the book's message is about finding joy and fulfillment by embracing one's diverse interests and passions. Sher believes that by following their curiosity and intuition, Scanners can lead satisfying and purposeful lives.
Integration of Interests
Sher suggests that Scanners can find ways to integrate their various interests and talents, allowing them to create unique and fulfilling combinations in their work and personal lives.
Permission to Be a Scanner
Perhaps one of the most important messages of the book is that Scanners should give themselves permission to be who they are, without feeling pressured to conform to society's expectations of specialization.

"Refuse to Choose!" by Barbara Sher celebrates the Scanner personality and offers guidance on how to embrace and make the most of a diverse array of interests. The book provides practical tools, strategies, and encouragement for Scanners to build a life that reflects their multipotentiality while finding joy and fulfillment in their pursuits.