The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine

The Renaissance SoulSubtitle: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One


Genre: nonfiction, career improvement, psychology

Length: 320 pages

Interest: It was mentioned on Wandering Scientist, a blog I read, as an excellent book for people who have a lot of interests and want to know how to harness it all into success, although it doesn’t have to be your traditional version of success.

Summary: The book is broken into several sections, most with writing activities that allow you to apply the principles brought up in the book to your life. Part I discusses what a Renaissance Soul is and how your interests differ from someone who can pick one this for life (Benjamin Franklin vs. Mozart). Part II helps you identify Focal Points so you don’t feel so scattered. Part III discusses how you incorporate your Focal Points into working and school. Part IV gets into some of the nitty-gritty of actually putting your plan and Focal Points into action, with Part V providing some more details.

Final thoughts: This book fit me quite well since, as I suspected, I am a Renaissance Soul with lots of varied interests. It was an interesting and useful book to read. Not only did the author provide the exercises, but she also provided specific examples of how other people had completed them, so you had an idea of what to expect. She also provides more information at her website, Get Unstuck.

This book was highly topical since I just finished a ten-year teaching gig as an adjunct in a nearby college. While it was my decision to stop teaching (the money was no longer worth it and I want to devote more of my time to homeschooling my kids), I’m still not sure what I’m going to do with my time instead. I actually made the effort to do the exercises in the book, which have given me a bit more focus and direction. For example, in the 5 from 50 exercise, you pick your top 5 values from a list of 50. I came up with Environment, Family, Learning, Personal Growth, and Creativity for my five, which translated into focal points of exercise, teaching, making, and increasing environmental awareness for others. The book also emphasized the importance of making time for your focal points, which wasn’t something I’ve done on a consistent basis. Overall, a very helpful, hand on read.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 18/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge, and 4/14 in the Nerdy Nonfiction Challenge for psychology.

Ending quote: I came across a quote from Brain Pickings that fit perfectly with many of the points raised in The Renaissance Soul that I wanted to share. “The only way for a woman, as for a man, to find herself, to know herself as a person, is by creative work of her own,” Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique.



Filed under Book review

2 responses to “The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine

  1. This book sounds fascinating – I’ll have to check it out. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

    • natalieinne

      Not only is it pretty informative, but I found the author’s writing style quite enjoyable and easy to comprehend, although I’d often read a chapter and have to think about my answers to the questions before I moved on to the next part.

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