The Life of Your Dreams

Review From User :

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 to my TODO list three four times to make notes on new ideas I had. I always do things like that. For years I thought I was broken, that I'd never complete anything, that I'd never amount to anything. That I'd spend so much time planning new projects that I'd never finish my existing ones. And yet, I've already finished quite a few projects.

At times it really feels like the author knows who I am. She lets readers like me acknowledge that we're different, and then reassures us that there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it puts people like me in good company with the likes of Aristotle, Ben Franklin, and Leonardo da Vinci. It's perfectly okay to be an artist, writer, musician, mathematician, and inventor. Go ahead and be a chef, painter, photographer, and a physics teacher. You shouldn't have to choose one thing to stick with for the rest of your life. You really can do everything. At least, that's the message of the book.

Once you acknowledge that you are a Scanner, and that it's okay to be different, then you learn about different types of Scanners. The author acknowledges that everyone will fit at least two of the Scanner types she lists. And that's where the real strength of this book lies. Once you've identified what types you are, you can learn ways to make yourself more efficient, and career options that will keep you motivated and excited.

As for me, I found that I'm part "Plate-Spinner" and part "Serial Master". This is a little humorous, because I've often said I have too many things "on my plate," when in reality that is my greatest strength: the ability to manage several projects simultaneously. The most surprising thing I found was in the Serial Master category, which I figure is a smaller portion of my Scanner abilities. But even that small part of me explained something that I hadn't figured out yet. Most of what the author suggests are things I've already been doing for a couple of years now -- with the exception that I've gone digital with the vast majority of the methods. I figured out most of these things on my own. But I wonder how much more I could have accomplished in my life if I had read this book ten or fifteen years ago.

While I'm forced to agree with the author that there are great benefits to writing and sketching things by hand, I've found some success with having notes, diagrams, and TODO lists on my computer. This is one area that she almost never mentions. Perhaps she hasn't found decent software to help manage what she wants to do in life. Personally, I found I wasted too much time (and paper!) copying my TODO lists to less messy sheets of paper. Not to mention the time I wasted trying to decipher my handwriting. Having my lists on my computer (where I do the vast majority of my work anyway) makes things neater and more efficient for me. I would like to see either an updated version of this book or an additional book that discusses ways to organize yourself digitally. Why print out things from Wikipedia and tape them in a Scanner Daybook if you can just copy and paste the link into something like Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, or BasKet

Overall, I found the book to be very motivating and thought-provoking. Like I said, I had already discovered all the methods she suggests for my types of Scanner, and have been using them for a while now. But if you've ever been told you need to choose a career, or if you have a pile of unfinished things that make you sad, or you find you just can't stop reading random articles on Wikipedia... grab a copy of this book. It could just change your outlook on life.


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