Your 20s are a time full of excitement, change, and inspiration, but there’s no denying that you’re likely to run into stress, frustration, and all-out roadblocks as you seek to build the foundation of your life. As you go through this intensely transitional period, it’s great to have some help, and these books offer quite a bit. Whether you’re mapping out your career, establishing a financial future, or building a good marriage, you’ll find great advice in these guides. Read on to find 20 of our favorite books for 20-somethings as they get started in the real world.
- 20 Something Manifesto: Quarter-Lifers Speak Out about Who They Are, What They Want, and How to Get It
Christine Hassler’s book for quarter-lifers quickly identifies some of the most common problems that 20-somethings typically experience, culminating in what she calls an “Expectation Hangover.” With new independence and opportunity, you may feel like the world is your oyster, until you begin to get pushed down by worry and disillusionment. You’ll find advice for achieving success, pulling yourself out of failure, and more, as other quarter-lifers share their stories and Hassler shares her take-away suggestions and recommendations that you can use in your own life.
- Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work for You
Just about everyone wants a fulfilling career that plays to their passions, offers work-life balance, and financial security, but not everyone realizes that this dream career situation is actually within reach. Get a Life, Not a Job insists that you can “design your own career, so you love what you do,” whether you’re an employee or entrepreneur. Read this guide to find out how important decisions and career techniques can lead you to an inspiring career that supports the life you want to lead.
- The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke
Respected and beloved financial consultant Suze Orman wrote the book for 20-somethings, known as “Generation Broke,” who are clueless about money. Orman tackles just about every important topic in your young financial life, including student loans, buying your first home, and even considerations you’ll need to take if you’re self-employed. Don’t miss this book; it’s essential for mapping out a stable financial future.
- Live Young Forever: 12 Steps to Optimum Health, Fitness and Longevity
In your 20s, it’s easy to think you’ll be young and attractive forever as you are now, but the reality is that your looks may start to fade and your health can decline. This classic guide from beloved fitness guru Jack LaLanne explains how you can take steps to preserve your health and vitality now while you still have it, and enjoy living young for the rest of your life.
- Last One Down the Aisle Wins: 10 Keys to a Fabulous Single Life Now and an Even Better Marriage Later
If all your friends are getting married, but you’re light years away from getting a ring on your finger, it’s easy to feel left out. But this book explains why your 20s are not a waiting period, but rather a great time to build a strong foundation for a good marriage in the future, and why waiting to marry later is an incredibly smart strategy for young men and women. Check out this book to find out how to develop as a person, take risks, create a supportive network, and even avoid some of the biggest mistakes people make when they marry too young.
- Quarterlife Crisis: The Unique Challenges of Life in Your Twenties
Life as a 20-something comes with its own set of unique challenges, and this book handily explains how you can navigate the “landmine period” of the quarter-life crisis. If you’re feeling lost in your life now that you’ve finally gotten to take control of it, this book has some excellent advice, explaining how you can transition from panicked and indecisive to confident and successful. Read this book’s stories of 20-somethings explaining their struggles, and how they addressed them to find success and happiness in their young lives.
- The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth: Popularity, Quirk Theory, and Why Outsiders Thrive After High School
If you had a rough time in high school, and you’re still trying to shake the image you had of yourself at that time, this book is for you. Author Alexandra Robbins explains why so often, outsiders in high school become the most successful people in real life. Loners, nerds, gamers, band geeks, and just weird people can blossom and stand out after high school is over. Read this book to see if you’re one of these outsiders, and learn how the things that set you apart in high school might be just the ticket to help you stand out after it’s over.
- Not Quite Adults: Why 20-Somethings Are Choosing a Slower Path to Adulthood, and Why It’s Good for Everyone
Today’s 20-somethings are often found putting off marriage, children, and owning a home, and while some see these delays as negative, others view them as wise decisions. This book reflects on research that shows a slower path to adulthood just might be good for you. Read Not Quite Adults to see how living at home, delaying marriage and child rearing, and having involved parents can actually be good for you, and understand how all of this helps you build a more secure future.
- The Quarterlifer’s Companion: How to Get on the Right Career Path, Control Your Finances, and Find the Support Network You Need to Thrive
Welcome to the real world, 20-somethings. In the real world, you’re going to have to deal with real problems, like finding a job, filing taxes, and even dealing with credit and loans. This book offers a companion for all of those challenges, guiding you through each issue with expert advice and practical information you can put to work.
- Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes
Lots of young couples get married in their 20s, but most of them have little idea how to actually make their young marriage work. Spousonomics offers a unique look into how you can avoid conflict in your relationship and make the most of what you have together. See how authors Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson expertly apply the principles of economics to a successful marriage, and see how you can avoid nagging and arguments, while enjoying more time with each other.
- Get a Financial Life: Personal Finance in Your Twenties and Thirties
In recession-ridden 20s and 30s, getting your financial life in order might seem like an impossible task, but this guide explains how you can make it all work, no matter what’s happening in the economy. You’ll find resources for saving, even if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, tax rules you can take advantage of, smart investments, and even a strategy for coming up with a down payment for your first home. For all these things and more, be sure to check out Get a Financial Life, and get your finances together now.
- Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want
After college, it’s time to really think about what you want in life, and with the help of this book, you can get to work painting the big picture of what your life looks like now, and where you want to be. Read Life After College to find practical advice, exercises, and inspirational quotes that will inspire you to work out all of the important pieces of your life, including relationships, work, money, home, and health. You’ll be able to work out all the little details that make such a big difference in your life after college.
- Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You
If you’ve lost “the one” that you thought you might spend the rest of your life with, it can be devastating. But this book explains why it’s not the end of the world, and it just might be a great new beginning for you. Read Getting Past Your Breakup to find out how to work through your grief, and even break the pattern of failed relationships you may be in, while at the same time opening yourself up to true love.
- What the Heck Am I Going to Do with My Life?
After high school or college, you may be at a loss for what you’d like to do with your future. So many years of preparation have led you to this moment of big decision, and it’s not always an easy one to make. This book offers a helping hand in defining your life goals, whether you’re working through the struggles of being unsure with your major or not really enjoying your job. What the Heck Am I Going to Do with My Life? can help you do some serious soul searching for a better future.
- It’s a Wonderful Lie: 26 Truths About Life in Your Twenties
Your 20s are supposed to be some of the best years of your life, and when you look back on them, they just might be. But while you’re in them, the reality of struggling to pay bills, find a job, and dealing with the ups and downs of a life waiting to be established is really stressful. This collection of stories offers reflection from critically acclaimed female writers as they share their struggles and triumphs from their 20s.
- TwentySomeone: Finding Yourself in a Decade of Transition
In your 20s, you’re likely to define yourself, not just for now, but in your future. But during the process, it’s normal to feel a little lost. TwentySomeone will help you answer the question of “Who am I?” with experience, wisdom, and skills for finding your life’s calling.
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
Ramit Sethi’s personal finance guide is written for 20- to 35-year-olds, and it shows. This book explains finance in a way that 20-somethings will understand, in a totally nonjudgmental style. You’ll learn about not just building a stable financial foundation, but even making your money work for you with wealth-building ideas in entrepreneurship. Check out this book to learn about the difference between cheap and frugal, ruthless negotiation tactics, and even how to get a CEO to take you out to lunch.
- You Majored in What?: Mapping Your Path From Chaos to Career
This book from career counselor Katharine Brooks tackles the unnerving question so many liberal arts students face: “What are you going to do with that major?” Brooks will help you take a look at your life and educational experiences to see what you might apply to your career, and use it to find success in your job search.
- Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World
How do you make the jump from college to career? According to author Lindsey Pollak, you do it by building experience and confidence, which can be established by taking on several very important tasks. Pollak shares 90 tips and strategies that are incredibly useful for jump starting your new career, including learning to “overprepare for interviews,” make the most out of networking events, and get what you really want out of internships.
- They Don’t Teach Corporate in College: A Twenty-Something’s Guide to the Business World
Chances are, you left (or will leave) college with plenty of knowledge, but lacking in corporate know-how. Clearly, this poses a problem if your career path takes you into the corporate world, like so many do. This guide offers resources for bridging the gap, teaching you how to make smart career moves, establish a great reputation, embrace networking, and even deal with difficult personalities.