Book Review – Refuse To Choose By Barbara Sher

Have you always wondered why you get bored easily, never stick to anything for long periods of time, quickly lose interest in things or change your mind about what you want to do and end up doing nothing? Good news: according to Barbara Sher’s book you might just be a ‘scanner’.


Barbara Sher brings us closer to a type of person who, just as described above, doesn’t follow the traditional ‘find out what you want, get a career and follow it with might and passion for the rest of your life’ scheme.

More in details

The subtitle of this book is ‘A Revolutionary Programme for Doing All That You Love’ and alludes to the fact that scanners often find themselves arguing about not being able to choose one thing and stick with it. Barbara suggests otherwise: Refuse to choose.

The author identifies seven types of scanners, divided into two groups: cyclical scanners and sequential scanners. The first 3 belong to the cyclical scanners:

  • Double Agent: These are people who have fantasies of being two people, one who does the right thing and another who is free to live their dreams.
  • Sybil: This is someone who has many areas of interest and they return to these over and over but rarely finish anything.
  • Plate Spinner: They are energized by having many things going on at the same time, they love solving problems but all of this leaves little time for any of their own projects.

The cyclical scanners know what their interests are, unlike the sequential scanners who always discover a completely new interest. The following six types belong to the sequential scanners:

  • Serial Specialist: They often excel at whatever field they are in, commit completely but then, often when on top of their game, quit and start something new.
  • Serial Master: For these people, interests come and go, but the love of mastery always stays. Once they have mastered something, they go looking for a new project.
  • Jack-of-all-Trades: Jacks enjoy learning for its own sake. They are usually not passionate about any one career but the love of learning something new and helping people.
  • Wanderer: This is someone who loves random experiences and allow themselves to move toward whatever looks attractive and interesting.
  • Sampler: These people look for a special kind of richness in their lives and find that there are very few ways to fill it.
  • High-Speed Indecisive: They are maybe the most misunderstood of all Scanners as the get pulled away to something new sooner than any other, but not because they lost interest, rather because they see something more fascinating.

Besides the in-depth description of the different types of scanners, Barbara also shares many valuable tools and techniques that will make scanners lives easier.

About the author

Beside being an author of six self-help books Barbara Sher is also a motivational speaker, workshop leader, business owner and has collected much experience working as a counselor, working with many scanners. In addition to that she has appeared both on national and local radio and television, including shows like Oprah, Today, 60 Minutes and Good Morning America. She lives in New York City.


This is a great book if you feel that you might be a scanner, have lived your life wondering: Why is it that everyone finds their passion but I can’t seem to find it, start and stop many projects or never finish anything?

In my work with clients I have found it extremely valuable to assist people in finding their freedom and passion through the realization that they achieve by reading this book.