T Nation

Scanner Or Deep Diver?


Being recently(~18mths) out of University and progressing in the early part of my career, I recently read "I could do anything if only i knew what it was" by Barbera Sher.

This link has a good summary of the main points of the book.

I discovered that I am most likely a scanner - defined as:
"Scanners want to taste everything. They love to learn about the structure of a flower, and they love to learn about the theory of music. And the adventures of travel. And the tangle of politics. To scanners, the universe is a treasure house full of a million works of art, and life is hardly long enough to see them all. "

This sounds like me. I find almost all things fascinating, and strive to acquire a substantial level of knowledge in a seemingly random array of subject matter. I will be obsessed with, say, medieval history, then upon learning plenty I become bored and move on to quantum physics or some such. Seems like a gift and a curse!

I once thought it was ADD or simply a lack of discipline but have since realised the attention level and the fixation on each topic area is exceptionally high - at least until interest levels wane.

Is there anyone else out there that might fit into this category? What kind of careers have you chosen? What is the best way to tie such natural abilities into a world which is (probably) more suited to the deep diving 'Specialists'?



The categories are too broad.

Someimes I'm a scanner, I was into the ancient greeks, so I read a few books about them. Then I was into the 1st world war, so I read a few books about that.

But sometimes I've really focused. Like I'll get into an author and read all of his published novels and short stories.

I would think that more people fit into the scanner category than the diver category.


Uh... hardgainer.insert rolleyes


Who writes these things? Who decides what categories people fall into and why do we adopt these categories? If you ain't doing what interests you, what absorbs you at any particular time you're living someone else's plan for you...


The only thing these types of books are doing is making the author rich and reducing the intelligence of the gullible public by putting them into a box.

But you're absolutely right. The bigger question is why the hell do we want to constrain ourselves to one or two dimensions?

There are no absolute categories of behavior. We are all on a sliding scale, and no one is better than anyone else.

Except for me ;^)


I kind of see them as general categories - its all grey, not black or white. A sliding scale it is. From memory the book also holds this view.

For example- one might exhibit traits belonging mainly to one of these, such as myself, and thus can relate to the theory for that group. A little from column A a little from column B.

Since character traits might help determine appropriate pastimes (analytical people may be great at being a financial analyst, but perhaps less so as a sales account manager), my question regarding career choices stands.

Do certain personality types perform better in certain roles? And what would suit the (grey-coloured) scanner type?


Maybe because of the frantic pace of our world we all act like "scanners" out of necessity.

Is it any wonder that 5% of kids have ADD? Or that anxiety and depression are commonplace. Maybe we are just better able to diagnose these now.


No. How do you think our ancestors survived on the African Savannah for tens of thousands of years? They were constantly on the lookout for food, predators, the next tribe over.

The world isn't black and white, and it isn't gray. Sometimes it's red, or green, or blue. Depends entirely on what you're looking at and from what angle.


Not literally no - its ROYGBIV all the way.
Anxiety = flight or fight response without the threat of a sabretooth/invading barbarians. ADD... well thats just too much TV.