Renaissance Soul

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

by Margaret Lobenstine
NY: Broadway Books, 2006

Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

The term "Renaissance Soul" dates back to the 15th and 16th century when the ideal person was expected to have knowledge and skill in many areas. Life Coach Margaret Lobenstine reclaims that idea for today in "The Renaissance Soul: Life Design for People with Too Many Passions to Pick Just One." Renaissance Souls are those whose interests run to many areas. In our world which seems to value specialization above all else, such people can feel lost. The idea of committing to one career path for life, or even five years (think of the ubiquitous 'five year plan' of career manuals) is suffocating. The fear of choosing the wrong path can keep them from making any choice at all.

Lobestine asserts, however, that a Renaissance spirit is actually something to be valued and celebrated. She states that "not only do Renaissance Souls have loads of interests; they are often capable of bringing a passionate level of intensity to several of them at once." She suggests that instead of trying to choose one area to focus on, Renaissance Souls should try to choose four. That way, there is enough variety to keep a multi-interest person happy. There is also the opporunity to evolve as a person. If one focal point no longer holds the allure it once did, it can be phased out and another interest put in its place.

A Renaissance personality can be both an asset and a challenge in the workplace. In today's ever-changing marketplace, the ability to adapt to change is highly valued. On the other hand, many Renaissance Souls find that they function better as entrepreneurs in charge of their own destinies. Others find they do best disassociating themselves from what they do for a living and insteading concentrating on their focal points as outside interests. Lobenstine also suggests ways for Renaissance Souls to make the most of their day jobs or volunteer opportunities, using them as a steeping stone to greater opportunities in a career one can love.

"The Renaissance Soul" is a very useful book for well-rounded people who have difficulty fitting into the single-focus structure the world seems to expect. For further information, you can also visit Lobenstine's website,

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur is editor of Spiritual Woman and author of "Letters to Mary from a Young Mother" (iUniverse, 2004). Visit her blog at

© Spiritual Woman Press, 2006. All rights reserved.