My ultimate list of books to kick start your multi-passionate life

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Written by Katie


“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.”

Albert Einstein

I love this. It sums up how I feel about myself and what I see most often in my multi-passionate clients. 

For me, that passionate curiosity shows up as a love (some may say obsession) of books and reading.

So finding out that there are books that had been written just for me (yes, that is how my brain interpreted it) by people like me blew my mind!

So in the spirit of mind blowing, I thought I’d share some of the books that have spoken to me on my multi-passionate journey in the hope that they might help you on yours.

How to Be Everything – A guide for those who (still) don’t know what they want to be when they grow up by Emilie Wapnick

I don’t have enough good words for this book! It helped clarify a few things for me particularly on the career front.

One of my favourite quotes from this book isn’t actually from Emilie herself. She quotes Robert Safian who at the time was editor and managing director for Fast Company. He was talking about what it takes to thrive in an uncertain economy and said it was having “a mind-set that embraces instability, that tolerates -and even enjoys- recalibrating careers, business models and assumptions.” 

Read that and tell me that that doesn’t sound suspiciously like a multi-passionate person to you!

Originals – How non-conformists change the world by Adam Grant

Absolutely loved this book. What’s not to love about a book that’s all about championing originality? Also, it’s Adam Grant – I enjoy the way he thinks and writes.

So many favourite references from this one.

A great example of how to keep your day job while killing it with your passion: 

Did you know? John Legend was a management consultant and stuck at it till 2002 even though he released his debut album in 2000. Wild!

“It’s widely assumed that there’s a tradeoff between quantity and quality—if you want to do better work, you have to do less of it—but this turns out to be false. In fact, when it comes to idea generation, quantity is the most predictable path to quality. “Original thinkers,” Stanford professor Robert Sutton notes, “will come up with many ideas that are strange mutations, dead ends, and utter failures. The cost is worthwhile because they also generate a larger pool of ideas—especially novel ideas.”

In my view, that is evidence that there isn’t necessarily any need for specialisation and a lot to be said for the generalisation that characterises most multi-passionate people’s lives.

The Renaissance Soul – How to make your passions your life by Margaret Lobenstine

This book felt to me almost like a precursor to Emilie Wapnick’s, sharing a lot of the same thinking. I’m not sure I ever felt wholly comfortable with the term “Renaissance Soul” but the concepts definitely resonated.

I enjoyed learning about the historical figures that I wouldn’t have instinctively thought of as multi-passionate. I also appreciated the last part of the book that’s dedicated to going deeper and finding out what can sometimes keep us stuck as multi-passionates.

This particular quote saddened me, resonated deeply and strengthened my resolve to help others see things differently:

“Yet sometimes Renaissance Souls don’t feel so lucky. Despite a long and proud history of Renaissance Souls who’ve negotiated treaties, invented revolutionary machines, written great novels, and led victorious armies, our culture often insists that we are defective.”

Another book worth mentioning that I honestly didn’t love is Refuse to Choose! Use all of your interests, passions and hobbies to create the life and career of your dreams by Barbara Sher

I didn’t hate it but it felt a little like it was outdated even though it was first published in 2006. Thought I should include it here because it might appeal to someone. I am clearly not someone.

So, there’s my list – what books or other resources lit your multi-passionate fire?

I’d love to know!

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