The idea for RenWomen: What Modern Renaissance Women Have to Teach Us About Living Rich, Full Lives emerged out of a book that W. Scott Griffiths and his co-author Eric Elfman wrote about modern-day Renaissance men entitled: Beyond Genius: The 12 Essential Traits of Today’s Renaissance Men.
It made the case that modern Renaissance men, as well as Renaissance men through the ages, share a certain set of traits. It is these traits in combination that make these men as remarkable as they are. What are these traits? Well, a Renaissance Man:
- Is outstanding in his field and exceptional in many areas.
- Is insatiably curious
- Embraces culture
- Merges his left and right brain
- Delights in sharing what he does
- Has the courage to take risks
- Is passionate
- Has vision
- Challenges the status quo
- Shapes the future
In conducting the research and surveys for the book, the authors, out of curiosity, asked whether Renaissance-style women shared the same traits. The answer was a uniform “yes.”
During work on Beyond Genius, and after, Scott and Eric were often asked the question: What about the Women? Aren’t there modern day Renaissance women? Were there Renaissance women in the past? When first faced with the question, Scott googled the words “Renaissance woman” and was surprised to find listings that were predominantly women who lived during the Renaissance and a few scattered modern women who were touted as Renaissance women.
This seemed wrong. There were, no doubt, many modern women every bit as multi-talented and groundbreaking as the men featured in Beyond Genius. And there must have also been Renaissance-style women throughout history, despite societal pressures and patriarchal systems.
And, he wondered, do these women manifest their Renaissance-ness in the same way as the men do? What can we learn from these extraordinary women?
The idea for a new book began to take hold. Scott immediately brought me, Dale, in as co-author. I am a professional writer and had served as editor on Beyond Genius. Additionally he felt, as twin sister and brother, we would bring a unique perspective to the subject matter. So began the search for and the interviewing of women from all walks of life who were living inspiring Renaissance lives. And as the interviews progressed, it became more and more apparent that these women knew things. Not just the many skills and careers they had mastered, but things about life, about happiness, about helping the planet we all live on evolve. Things that mattered, not just for themselves, but for the world. And that’s when we realized: These are not just Renaissance women, but Renaissance makers. They are heralding in a modern Renaissance, a paradigm shift in our social, cultural and intellectual landscape. There are of course men who are also part of this growing tide, as well as women who do not live Renaissance lives, per se. But we have been particularly struck by the expansive and distinctive perspectives of these women whom we call “RenWomen” (why use a term borrowed from the men?) and this book is an exploration and celebration of what these women have to teach not just other women, but everyone.