The best books for when you have too many passions and can't figure out what to do with your life

Who am I?

Emilie Wapnick is an award-winning author and community builder. She is the founder and creative director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites (people with many passions and creative pursuits) integrate all of their interests to create dynamic, fulfilling, and fruitful careers and lives. Her popular TED talk, Why some of us don’t have one true calling, has been viewed 7 million times and she has been featured in The New York Times, Fast Company, Forbes, New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, BBC, and Vice.


I wrote...

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,

Book cover of How to Be Everything: A Guide for Those Who (Still) Don't Know What They Want to Be When They Grow Up

What is my book about?

What do you want to be when you grow up? It's a familiar question we're all asked as kids. While seemingly harmless, the question has unintended consequences. It can make you feel like you need to choose one job, one passion, one thing to be about. Guess what? You don't. Having a lot of different interests, projects and curiosities doesn't make you a "jack-of-all-trades, master of none." Your endless curiosity doesn't mean you are broken or flaky. What you are is a multipotentialite: someone with many interests and creative pursuits. And that is actually your biggest strength.

How to Be Everything will help you channel your diverse passions and skills to work for you. It offers a practical framework—used by real multipotentialites—to build a sustainable life and career around ALL of your passions.

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The books I picked & why

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

Emilie Wapnick Why did I love this book?

Refuse to Choose is the original book for people who are curious about many unrelated subjects. It is a comforting and fun read, with lots of real-world examples. Highlights include her breakdown of the different “types” of scanners and her project organization method, the Scanner Daybook.

By Barbara Sher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Refuse to Choose! Use All of Your Interests, Passions, and Hobbies to Create the Life and Career of Your Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

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!

"Designed to help you enjoy your many interests without feeling overwhelmed and unfocused"
- Metro New York

Author of Wishcraft and I Could Do Anything If Only I Knew What It Was..., Barbara Sher has become famous for her extraordinary ability to help people define and achieve their goals. What Sher has discovered is that some individuals simply cannot, and should not, decide on a single path; they are genetically…


Book cover of Roadmap: The Get-It-Together Guide for Figuring Out What to Do with Your Life

Emilie Wapnick Why did I love this book?

Written by a team of documentarians, Roadmap is a great read for folks who are just starting their career—or starting over! It offers inspiring examples of people with weird, creative careers, including tons of interviews where you can learn about people’s specific paths. The exercises in the book emphasize seeking variety and blending your interests, rather than narrowing down your multi-passionate soul.

By Roadtrip Nation,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Roadmap as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller is back! The career workbook Roadmap is better than ever.

Roadmap has been updated and expanded with tons of brand new content-including chapters on changing directions mid-career and not letting your past define your future.

Through inspirational stories and interviews, journal-like prompts, and practical career development information, this helpful resource will steer students, recent graduates, and career-changers toward an authentic, fulfilling life.

* Features fresh perspectives from people like singer-songwriter John Legend, surfing world champion Layne Beachley, and MacArthur fellow and radio host Jad Abumrad
* Full of advice for people seeking a fulfilling work…


Book cover of The Renaissance Soul: How to Make Your Passions Your Life--A Creative and Practical Guide

Emilie Wapnick Why did I love this book?

Another important antecedent to How to Be Everything, this book offers a serious focus on career, work, and revenue streams. Lobesnstine, a career and life coach, makes the argument that a need for variety and love for finding new challenges are not liabilities, but assets. If you’re ready to get down to business, this might be the read for you.

By Margaret Lobenstine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Renaissance Soul as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The guide to leading a creative, passionate, and multifaceted life―big enough to embrace all your dreams

Are you unwilling to settle on doing just one thing “for the rest of your life”? Do you jump at the chance to learn something new―or, after achieving success in one field, find yourself yearning for new challenges and looking around for something different to do? If so, you may be a Renaissance Soul. The Renaissance Soul is the first book devoted to this personality type, and in this updated edition―in paperback for the first time― author Margaret Lobenstine offers a life-planning strategy perfectly…


Book cover of The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

Emilie Wapnick Why did I love this book?

What if asking for help is not a burden, but a gift? This unique blend of memoir, self-help, and cultural commentary will make you reevaluate how you interact with people in all spheres of your life. Amanda Palmer shares the story of her evolution as an artist, wife, friend, and person who has tons of passions. Examining the life she has built is both inspiring and instructive.

By Amanda Palmer,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Art of Asking as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"When we really see each other, we want to help each other." -Amanda Palmer Imagine standing on a box in the middle of a busy city, dressed as a white-faced bride, and silently using your eyes to ask people for money. Or touring Europe in a punk cabaret band, and finding a place to sleep each night by reaching out to strangers on Twitter. For Amanda Palmer, actions like these have gone beyond satisfying her basic needs for food and shelter--they've taught her how to turn strangers into friends, build communities, and discover her own giving impulses. And because she…


Book cover of Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together

Emilie Wapnick Why did I love this book?

Pamela Slim offers a wonderful way to reimagine your life and career, build your personal brand, and share your story. Multipotentialites often struggle to describe where they’ve been and where they’re headed in an impactful way. This book argues that your career is not a linear thing—it’s a collection of different types of work that you’re proud of. Body of Work will help you see your life story from a totally new vantage point.

By Pamela Slim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Body of Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

These days it's increasingly rare to have a stable career in any field. More and more of us are blending big company jobs, startup gigs, freelance work, and volunteer side projects. We take chances to expand our knowledge, capabilities, and experience. But how do we make sense of that kind of career - and explain it? Pamela Slim, the acclaimed author of Escape from Cubicle Nation, gives us the tools to have meaningful careers in this new world of work. She shows how to find the connections among diverse accomplishments, sell your story, and continually reinvent and relaunch your brand.


You might also like...

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

Book cover of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

Manni Coe Author Of Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

New book alert!

Who am I?

As a gay man born into an evangelical Christian family, my coming out story was wrought with pain, trauma, and separation from family and loved ones. In the same year I lost my best friend in an accident. My world tumbled and I had to crawl back to a place of reckoning. Walking became my path to healing. So when my brother Reuben, who has Down's syndrome sent me a message from the isolation of a care home in the pandemic, I knew he was in trouble. Those five words - ´brother. do. you. love. me.´changed our lives. I thought I might know a way to save him.

Manni's book list on memoirs that capture the struggle of everyday life

What is my book about?

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me. is a true story of brotherly love overcoming all. Reuben, who has Down's syndrome, was trapped in a care home during the pandemic, spiralling deeper into a non-verbal depression. From isolation and in desperation, he sent his older brother Manni a text, "brother. do. you. love. me."

This cry for help, this SOS in the sand unleashed a brotherly love that had Manni travelling back to the UK mid-pandemic to rescue his brother from the care home, and together they sheltered from the world in a cottage in deepest, darkest Dorset. There began a journey of recovery and rediscovery. Little by little, the brothers had to piece back together Reuben's world, help him to find his voice and find ways for him to trust the world again. This is a book about care, about Down's syndrome, about love. It is a story of resilience and patience in a world that Reuben thought had abandoned him.

Brother. Do. You. Love. Me.

By Manni Coe, Reuben Coe (illustrator),

What is this book about?


The story of two brothers, one with Down syndrome, and their extraordinary journey of resilience and repair.

"Profoundly moving and hugely uplifting."—Mark Haddon, author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Reuben, aged 38, was living in a home for adults with learning disabilities. He hadn’t established an independent life in the care system and was still struggling to accept that he had Down syndrome. Depressed and in a fog of antidepressants, he hadn’t spoken for over a year. The only way he expressed himself was by writing poems or drawing felt-tip scenes from his favorite musicals…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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