28 Best Books to Read in Your 20s [Must Read in 2024]

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Your 20s are a decade of discovery, growth, and change. It’s a time when you’re likely to ask yourself big questions about who you are, what you want from life, and how to get there.

The right book at the right time can change everything. Books can genuinely shape your journey, whether it’s a novel that opens your eyes, a self-help guide filled with practical advice, or a relatable memoir.

But with millions of titles out there, where do you start? In this list of Best Books to Read in Your 20s, each book may challenge your views, motivate you, and comfort you when you need it most, especially in this defining decade of your life.


1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

$14.99
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03/08/2024 04:41 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Classics, Fantasy, Philosophy, Novels, Spirituality, Self Help

Santiago, a shepherd from Andalusia, dreams of a treasure located near the Egyptian pyramids. Encouraged by a mysterious king, he sells his flock and travels to find this treasure. Soon, this adventure teaches him the essence of life and the world.

Through trials and encounters with diverse characters, Santiago learns that the real treasure lies within his journey and the discoveries about himself, not the material wealth he initially seeks.

“The Alchemist” transcends the ordinary by blending philosophy, spirituality, and adventure into a universally relatable narrative. It encourages readers to reflect on their own paths and the importance of following their dreams.

Its timeless message and inspirational wisdom make it an indispensable read for anyone, especially those in their 20s embarking on their own quest for purpose.

And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.

What you might love:

  • The book is full of inspiring quotes that make you think about your life and dreams long after you’ve finished reading.
  • The Alchemist dives into big ideas like chasing dreams and listening to our hearts with a message that the universe helps us succeed.
  • Its messages reach everyone, no matter their culture, age, or background. It’s a story for all, speaking to those at any stage of their journey.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its few female characters lack depth, disappointing those who want stronger female voices.
  • The message that desire alone can achieve goals seems too idealistic, ignoring real-life struggles.
  • Some readers find the book’s focus on philosophy and life lessons too preachy, preferring lighter reads.

2. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

$16.20
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03/09/2024 06:56 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Contemporary, Magical Realism, Adult, Sci-fi

Nora wakes up in the Midnight Library, a place between life and death where every book represents a different life. Faced with infinite choices, Nora explores various versions of her life, experiencing what could have been if she had made different decisions.

As she navigates through her potential life, Nora begins to understand the actual value of her existence and the impact of her choices. This journey brings her to confront her deepest regrets and fears, leading her to a powerful self-realization.

This novel is a heartwarming and thought-provoking exploration of life’s what-ifs. It encourages readers to find peace with their past and optimism for their future. “The Midnight Library” is a reflection on making the most of our one precious life.

The only way to learn is to live.

What you might love:

  • The novel’s central idea of a library containing infinite lives one could have lived is a creative exploration of the “what ifs” in life.
  • The story prompts readers to reflect on their own choices, paths not taken, and the idea of what makes life fulfilling, sparking deep personal reflection.
  • The novel addresses mental health issues with sensitivity and insight, contributing to meaningful conversations about depression and the will to live.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may find the book’s philosophical content too dense or abstract if they prefer straightforward stories.
  • While the book aims to cover mental health sensitively, some might see its approach as unrealistic or too simple for complex issues.
  • The concept of finding happiness through different lives may not appeal to all, as it could seem to downplay the value of tackling life’s direct challenges.

3. Educated by Tara Westover

$11.41
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03/06/2024 11:45 pm GMT

Genres: Memoir, Biography

Tara Westover, born to survivalist parents in Idaho’s mountains, didn’t enter a classroom until she was 17. The book details how she adjusted from an isolated upbringing through the challenges of educating herself and earning a PhD from Cambridge University.

Tara’s quest for knowledge shows readers what it means to educate oneself and the cost of transformation and self-discovery. Her story proves the strength required to break away from a toxic past and forge a new identity.

This memoir highlights the power of education and the human spirit’s resilience. Its message of hope and courage makes it a must-read for those in their 20s facing the challenges of self-discovery and growth.

It’s strange how you give the people you love so much power over you.

What you might love:

  • It highlights how education can change lives, inspiring readers to embrace and seek out learning.
  • The memoir earns praise for being openly honest, offering a clear view of Tara’s life and challenges.
  • It explores themes of family loyalty, personal freedom, and the clash between tradition and education, encouraging readers to think about these issues.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The memoir’s heavy themes and intensity might be challenging for readers wanting light or escapist stories.
  • The book’s lack of simple answers and clear heroes or villains could frustrate those who prefer definite endings.
  • Not everyone might like its focus on survivor’s guilt and complex morals, especially if they want clear resolutions.

4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson

$15.10
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03/09/2024 10:16 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self Help, Psychology, Personal Development, Philosophy, Business

Mark Manson offers a straightforward, funny guide to a happy life by focusing on what really matters and ignoring the rest. He suggests living in reality rather than chasing constant positivity, teaching us to save our energy for what’s truly important.

Through personal anecdotes and psychological research, he illustrates why embracing our limitations and suffering is essential for growth, happiness, and acceptance.

Manson’s no-nonsense, profanity-laced narrative distinguishes it from other self-help books. His philosophy cuts through the traditional self-improvement advice, presenting a refreshingly honest take on life’s realities and how to deal with them head-on.

Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for.

What you might love:

  • It urges readers to accept their flaws and enjoy the freedom of not striving for perfection.
  • The book helps readers choose wisely where to focus their time and energy for a more purposeful and fulfilling life.
  • The book encourages readers to think about their values and prioritize what’s important to them, not what society expects.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Manson’s frequent swearing and direct style might turn off readers who like formal or gentle writing.
  • Readers who value traditional self-help might disagree with the book’s questioning of conventional wisdom.
  • Some may find the book’s humor and sarcasm dismissive or insensitive, especially those looking for a serious approach to personal growth.

5. Atomic Habits by James Clear

$13.00
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03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Psychology, Personal Development, Productivity, Business

James Clear presents an argument that small behavior changes lead to significant life improvements. His book simplifies habit formation, showing how tiny, consistent habits build a significant impact over time.

Using research and stories, Clear demonstrates how minor habits can boost health, wealth, and happiness. He offers practical tips for creating habits and overcoming obstacles, empowering readers to shape their future.

“Atomic Habits” is vital for anyone eager to transform their life through habits. It combines motivation, practical steps, and science. It reminds people that steady actions are the secret to lasting success in every aspect of life.

You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory than with your current results.

What you might love:

  • The author provides actionable strategies for building good and breaking bad habits and making habit change achievable.
  • It uses relatable examples from his life and others, making it easier for readers to see how the principles can be applied in various situations.
  • The book emphasizes the power of small, incremental changes, showing how tiny adjustments can lead to significant improvements over time.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Those well-versed in psychology might find the book too basic or introductory.
  • Some readers may think the book dwells too much on small tweaks and misses the importance of bigger life changes.
  • While offering strategies to break bad habits, the book might seem to focus more on creating new habits, leaving the former less explored.

6. Normal People by Sally Rooney

$10.00
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03/14/2024 10:01 am GMT

Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Literary, Ireland, Adult

Marianne is rich but isolated, and Connell is well-liked but poor. “Normal People” follows Marianne and Connell from their teenage years to adulthood, highlighting their complicated relationship despite their differing social standings.

Through university challenges, their connection deepens, pushing them to rethink love, power, and status. The novel profoundly explores the impact of societal pressures and personal doubts on their relationship and who they become.

“Normal People” is unique for its honest depiction of young love and its psychological impacts. With natural dialogue and keen observations on social issues, it offers a new look at the depth of human connections, making it a meaningful read.

Life is the thing you bring with you inside your own head.

What you might love:

  • The book discusses young people’s challenges today, like mental health and societal pressures.
  • Its pacing deeply immerses readers in the characters’ lives, giving them space to ponder events.
  • “Normal People” features realistic dialogue that naturally reveals the characters’ thoughts and feelings.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some readers may want a clearer ending than the novel’s open conclusion.
  • Readers seeking pure entertainment might not enjoy the focus on social and class issues.
  • The novel’s lack of clear resolutions to some issues could frustrate those who prefer definitive answers.

7. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

$24.76


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03/09/2024 05:01 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Psychology, Philosophy, Self Help, Memoir, Biography Classics

Viktor E. Frankl, a psychiatrist, shares his experiences in Nazi concentration camps during World War II in “Man’s Search for Meaning.” He presents how extreme suffering affected his view of human psychology and the importance of finding meaning in life.

Frankl introduces logotherapy, which argues that our primary drive is the search for meaning, not pleasure. He explains how this approach can help people in their daily lives, offering a new perspective on personal growth and resilience.

“Man’s Search for Meaning” is powerful for its hopeful message and deep insights into the human spirit. Frankl’s emphasis on finding purpose in even the hardest situations makes this book essential for anyone seeking direction and meaning in their life.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.

What you might love:

  • Despite its heavy themes, the book is accessible and not overly academic, making it readable for a wide audience.
  • The book speaks to universal themes of searching for purpose, making it relatable to readers from all walks of life.
  • Frankl’s message empowers readers to take control of their attitudes toward life’s challenges, emphasizing personal agency and the choice to find meaning.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Modern readers might struggle to relate to Frankl’s experiences and the historical context of the Holocaust.
  • Those looking for typical self-help advice might be surprised by the book’s focus on philosophy and storytelling to explore life’s meaning.
  • Some may find the book’s deep dive into existential questions and the search for meaning overwhelming, especially if they face their own crises.

8. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

$10.29
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03/08/2024 09:40 am GMT

Genres: Self-Help, Non-fiction, Business, Psychology, Personal Development Leadership

This book provides practical advice on becoming more likable, persuasive, and influential. It covers fundamental principles for handling people, making friends, bringing people to your way of thinking, and leading others in a respectful and mutual way.

Through engaging stories and simple, actionable steps, Carnegie illustrates how to improve your interactions with others, enhance your ability to lead and increase your influence in both your personal and professional life.

This book is for anyone wanting to boost their social skills and influence at any life stage. It goes beyond personal success to help build positive relationships and communities, making it an essential guide for all social situations.

Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you. Be afraid of the friends who flatter you.

What you might love:

  • It offers tips on improving leadership and influence, a skill valuable in personal and work life.
  • It motivates readers to improve themselves, aiming to boost communication skills and empathy.
  • The book encourages being kind, understanding, and respectful to others for a positive life outlook.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book sometimes suggests a one-size-fits-all solution to diverse and nuanced human relationships.
  • Some people see the techniques for influencing people as manipulative rather than genuine ways to build relationships.
  • Today’s global audience might find that the advice doesn’t fully take into account cultural differences in communication and behavior.

9. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

$8.89
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03/08/2024 09:21 am GMT

Genres: Self-Help, Non-fiction, Spirituality, Philosophy, Psychology, Personal Development

“The Power of Now” teaches the value of living in the present to overcome suffering caused by our thoughts and emotions. Eckhart Tolle merges lessons from various spiritual paths to help readers let go of past and future concerns, focusing on the present.

The book provides easy exercises and advice for finding inner peace and enlightenment, highlighting the freedom found in experiencing the present moment.

Ideal for anyone in their 20s looking for a calmer, more mindful life, “The Power of Now” is a philosophy and a guide for taking life’s unnecessary worries. It invites readers to discover true peace by living in the present.

Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have. Make the NOW the primary focus of your life.

What you might love:

  • The ultimate goal of achieving inner peace, regardless of external circumstances, is a message that offers hope and comfort to many readers.
  • Tolle addresses universal themes of suffering, happiness, and human existence, making the book relevant to people from all walks of life.
  • The book includes practical exercises to help readers apply the principles of mindfulness to their daily lives, enhancing its practical utility.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Tolle’s abstract ideas might confuse readers who want straightforward, practical tips.
  • The book’s spiritual terms may not attract or be clear to everyone, especially if they’re not into spirituality.
  • His criticism of materialism and society may not appeal to readers seeking advice that fits better with modern lifestyles and values.

10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

$5.21
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03/08/2024 11:01 pm GMT

Genres: Self-Help, Non-fiction, Business, Psychology, Leadership, Productivity

In this book, Stephen R. Covey presents seven habits to improve personal and interpersonal effectiveness. The book focuses on self-mastery, working well with others, and continuous self-improvement.

It covers vital skills like initiative, task management, and creating win-win situations, all based on timeless ethical principles of fairness and integrity. This guide is essential for anyone seeking personal and professional growth.

Covey’s advice is a foundation for long-term achievement, making “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” a classic roadmap to reaching one’s goals through integrity and dedication, prioritizing enduring core values instead of quick wins for lasting changes.

To change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions.

What you might love:

  • The seven habits are presented in a clear, logical sequence, making the book easy to follow and the concepts easy to implement.
  • The book advocates for creating win-win situations, encouraging readers to seek mutually beneficial solutions in their interactions with others.
  • The book empowers readers to take initiative and responsibility for their own effectiveness, promoting a proactive rather than reactive approach to life.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Although packed with insights, the book might seem too theoretical and not practical enough for some.
  • The book’s grounding in Western values may not connect with readers from other cultural backgrounds.
  • Some readers may find the book’s authoritative tone preachy, especially when it talks about character ethics.

11. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo — Magic Cleaning #1

$9.71
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03/08/2024 03:36 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self Help, Personal Development, Psychology, Japan, Productivity

Marie Kondo teaches how to tidy up effectively by keeping only items that spark joy and letting go of the rest with thanks. Her method includes sorting clothes, organizing papers, and dealing with sentimental items to create a clean, peaceful space.

Her approach isn’t just about decluttering; it’s about transforming your life to find happiness in simplicity. Kondo’s advice helps maintain a clutter-free environment, aiming for a deep impact on your lifestyle and well-being.

Kondo’s unique method focuses on our emotional connection to belongings, promoting tidying as a journey to personal joy. The KonMari method encourages thoughtful decluttering and appreciation of what matters most, making it an unmissable read.

The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.

What you might love:

  • Kondo highlights the importance of creating a serene and inspiring environment, emphasizing the effect of space on well-being.
  • Unlike quick-fix decluttering advice, the KonMari method promotes a lasting approach to organization, aiming to tidy once and for all.
  • The KonMari method simplifies the process of tidying by focusing on category-by-category decluttering, making the task less overwhelming.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some might find practices like thanking items too time-consuming or impractical.
  • Book lovers may find Kondo’s advice to declutter books hard, even if they don’t read them often.
  • Those deeply attached to their items may struggle with being urged to let go of things that don’t spark joy or have practical use.

12. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

$13.48
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03/08/2024 08:51 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Psychology, Mental Health, Spirituality

“The Gifts of Imperfection” challenges the notion that we must be perfect to be worthy of love and belonging. Through ten guideposts, Brown encourages readers to practice self-kindness, recognize their strengths, and cultivate a sense of compassion and connection.

She combines research with personal stories to illustrate how letting go of our fears and insecurities leads to a more authentic, fulfilling life. “The Gifts of Imperfection” teaches us to embrace our flaws and build a life based on our own version of happiness.

This book is for anyone at any age who battles with seeking perfection. Brené Brown reveals how embracing imperfections can free us, fostering personal growth and self-acceptance. “The Gifts of Imperfection” encourages us to find joy in being our true selves.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.

What you might love:

  • The book deals with universal themes of love, belonging, and being enough, resonating with readers from diverse backgrounds.
  • The book inspires readers to live authentically, encouraging them to let go of who they think they should be and embrace who they are.
  • The book highlights the importance of connection and belonging and how authenticity and vulnerability can deepen these experiences.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Not everyone may agree with the book’s emphasis on vulnerability as a strength.
  • People who see perfectionism as good may not agree with Brown’s view that it’s harmful.
  • Readers wanting clear, step-by-step advice may struggle with the book’s abstract approach to growth.

13. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

$8.89
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03/09/2024 09:30 am GMT

Genres: Self-Help, Non-fiction, Personal Development, Psychology, Business, Inspirational

In “You Are a Badass,” Jen Sincero shares her journey to inspire readers to stop doubting and start living their best lives. She simplifies complex ideas into clear, actionable advice for overcoming fear, changing mindsets, and achieving success.

In 27 short chapters, Sincero tackles topics from money problems to self-defeating actions. Each part guides readers in recognizing and removing what holds you back from greatness.

Sincero’s honest and humorous style stands out, making “You Are a Badass” a unique, engaging self-help book. Her stories and exercises turn self-improvement into an enjoyable journey for anyone, no matter their starting point.

You are responsible for what you say and do. You are not responsible for whether or not people freak out about it.

What you might love:

  • Readers are encouraged to face their fears and step out of their comfort zones to achieve growth and success.
  • The book focuses on cultivating a positive mindset, teaching readers to overcome self-doubt and negative thinking.
  • Sincero delivers a powerful message of self-empowerment, encouraging readers to believe in their abilities and pursue their dreams.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Using personal stories to make points may not fulfill those who want data and research.
  • Emphasizing positivity might seem to oversimplify or ignore mental health complexities.
  • The book’s spiritual hints and talk of the universe helping people may not match everyone’s beliefs.

14. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

$12.13
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03/08/2024 01:45 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Psychology, Self-Help, Business, Personal Development, Sociology

“Quiet” challenges the preference for extroversion, exploring how introverts offer unique strengths and perspectives. The book shows introverts excel in thinking, working, and innovating differently from their extroverted peers through research and stories.

The author makes the case that society often overlooks introverts’ abilities to lead and create, suggesting ways for introverts to leverage their talents and for society to recognize their quiet contributions.

“Quiet” is vital for introverts looking for affirmation and extroverts aiming to understand them. It advocates for valuing all personality types in our personal and professional lives, highlighting the need for a balance between introverted and extroverted traits in society.

There’s zero correlation between being the best talker and having the best ideas.

What you might love:

  • The book promotes self-acceptance, encouraging readers to appreciate their unique traits and qualities.
  • By questioning the extrovert ideal prevalent in many cultures, the book encourages readers to rethink societal norms.
  • The book offers practical advice for introverts on navigating a world that often favors extroversion, from the workplace to personal relationships.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers wanting a light read may see the book’s detailed research and discussions as too dense or scholarly.
  • Some may view the book as favoring introverts, possibly simplifying the complex relationship between extroverts and introverts.
  • The book’s focus on Western norms might not click with readers from cultures with different views on introversion and extroversion.

15. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss

$14.89
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03/06/2024 09:55 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self Help, Productivity, Personal Development, Entrepreneurship

The book outlines strategies for minimizing work hours and maximizing playtime. Ferriss shares his personal experiences and practical tips for outsourcing tasks, automating income, and traveling the world without breaking the bank.

It covers four main principles—Definition, Elimination, Automation, and Liberation—that guide readers through the process of transforming their work-life balance. It’s a blueprint for anyone looking to create a life that prioritizes freedom, adventure, and productivity.

This book is essential for anyone wanting to escape the traditional 9-5 job. Ferriss teaches how to work smarter with efficiency and automation, living freely as a digital nomad. “The 4-Hour Workweek” inspires a new generation to mix work, fun, and growth.

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.

What you might love:

  • The book teaches readers how to work smarter, not harder, through time management and automation techniques.
  • Ferriss promotes the idea of mini-retirements and traveling the world, appealing to readers’ desires for adventure and exploration.
  • The book emphasizes the importance of personal freedom and autonomy, inspiring readers to take control of their time and decisions.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The suggested strategies could be too risky for some people to comfortably or safely pursue.
  • The book targets entrepreneurs and people with flexible jobs, which might not suit those in traditional roles.
  • Its emphasis on a luxurious lifestyle may not attract readers with different values or definitions of success.

16. Set Boundaries, Find Peace by Nedra Glover Tawwab

$22.39
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03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Self-Help, Non-fiction, Psychology, Mental Health, Relationships

“Set Boundaries, Find Peace” shows how to clearly and confidently establish boundaries. She explains how to recognize when boundaries are needed and how to communicate them effectively.

The book uses practical advice and examples to teach handling boundary violations and maintaining mental and emotional well-being. Tawwab addresses setting boundaries in work, family, friendships, and self-care, guiding readers to a more balanced life.

“Set Boundaries, Find Peace” is crucial for anyone in their 20s dealing with adult relationships and personal identity. It offers key strategies for fostering strong relationships and personal peace through living authentically and with integrity.

We don’t naturally fall into perfect relationship; we create them.

What you might love:

  • The book empowers readers to advocate for their needs and well-being, emphasizing self-respect and self-care.
  • Tawwab provides practical tools and strategies for setting and maintaining boundaries, making the advice actionable.
  • The book prompts self-reflection, helping readers identify their boundary issues and the steps needed to address them.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s ideas might not fit all cultural or social contexts, making it less universal.
  • It mainly emphasizes personal action, possibly ignoring wider factors that impact setting boundaries.
  • Its emphasis on self-care and setting personal boundaries may not interest readers in other personal development areas or relationship dynamics.

17. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

$11.01
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03/08/2024 06:31 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self Help, Writing, Personal Development, Art, Psychology

Elizabeth Gilbert makes creativity approachable in this book, showing it’s for everyone, not just the naturally talented. She offers advice on seeking inspiration, facing challenges, and choosing creativity over fear through personal anecdotes.

Gilbert urges readers to embrace passions joyfully and fearlessly, providing strategies to balance fear and creativity. Her guidance concerns enjoying the process and being open to where curiosity leads.

“Big Magic” is essential for those doubting their creative abilities, offering a new outlook on creativity as a lifestyle. Gilbert’s message encourages living true to oneself and fearlessly pursuing a creative life beyond just making art.

Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.

What you might love:

  • Gilbert argues that everyone can be creative, breaking the myth that creativity is for a select few. This is very empowering.
  • Gilbert openly talks about her failures and fears. Her honesty and openness make her advice more relatable and trustworthy.
  • The book’s short chapters focus on different aspects of creative living, making it easy to read bit by bit and understand its wisdom.

What might not be for everyone:

  • People looking for a step-by-step creative guide might find the book too unstructured.
  • The book mostly focuses on the arts, possibly not appealing to those in other creative areas.
  • The book uses many personal stories, which may disappoint those seeking scientific evidence on creativity.

18. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

$11.96
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03/06/2024 05:50 pm GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Business, Feminism, Self-Help, Leadership, Womens

Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, uses her experiences to highlight the hurdles women face in reaching leadership roles. She motivates women to confidently aim for their career goals, break through societal limits, and seek fair treatment and pay.

The book offers advice on managing work-life balance, asserting oneself at work, and the value of finding mentors. It mixes Sandberg’s stories with research and practical steps, encouraging women to embrace their professional aspirations.

“Lean In” is unique for its direct take on gender issues in the workplace and Sandberg’s blend of personal insights and data. It serves as an inspiring guide for women aiming for success and leadership.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

What you might love:

  • It offers practical advice for women to reach their career goals, making it both inspiring and useful.
  • It shares stories of women overcoming big obstacles, motivating readers to chase their own dreams.
  • The book stresses building support networks and mentorships, showing how community helps professional growth.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers suggest the book should dive deeper into workplace systemic issues and biases.
  • Some think the book overlooks how men and society can support workplace gender equality.
  • The book mainly targets corporate America, possibly missing the mark for those in non-corporate or unconventional careers.

19. Mastery by Robert Greene

Genres: Self-Help, Non-fiction, Psychology, Business, Philosophy, Productivity

“Mastery” centers on how historical and modern figures achieved top skill levels. It outlines the mastery path: discovering your calling, undergoing apprenticeship, finding mentors, mastering your field, and finally making a significant impact.

Greene uses stories to argue that mastery requires more than natural ability; it demands constant learning and strategic action. His approach demystifies how anyone can achieve greatness in their area of interest.

“Mastery” guides readers on excelling in their fields, providing a roadmap from average to exceptional skill. It inspires readers to a lifelong journey towards excellence, urging readers to commit deeply to their personal and professional growth.

The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.

What you might love:

  • The book encourages personal growth and self-improvement, advocating for a lifelong commitment to learning.
  • Beyond theory, “Mastery” provides actionable advice and strategies for readers to apply in their own journey towards expertise.
  • Greene delves into the psychological aspects of mastering a skill, including the necessity of focus, persistence, and the role of creativity.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Focusing on past stories may not attract those who like modern, relatable examples.
  • The book might seem to overlook how failure helps with growth, even though it mentions obstacles.
  • Its emphasis on historical successes could give a limited view of success and mastery, missing out on modern achievements’ diversity.

20. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

$23.71
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03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self Help, Psychology, Personal Development, Business, Philosophy

Meg Jay argues that the twenties are crucial for growth in personal and professional areas. She tackles myths about delaying adulthood and highlights the importance of making purposeful choices in work, relationships, and health.

Jay urges making the most of this decade to set a solid foundation for life, offering advice for substantial progress toward goals.

“The Defining Decade” is essential for those in or near their twenties, providing valuable guidance for using these years effectively. Jay combines her clinical psychology expertise with actionable steps for fulfillment, pushing young adults to shape their futures.

The future isn’t written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do.

What you might love:

  • The book’s tone is motivational, pushing readers to take charge of their lives without inducing anxiety or fear about the future.
  • Jay emphasizes the importance of mental health and how taking care of it in your twenties can set a foundation for the future.
  • Meg Jay tailors her guidance specifically for twenty-somethings, addressing this life stage’s unique challenges and opportunities.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Its focus on maximizing one’s twenties may cause anxiety and fear of lagging behind peers for some.
  • The book defines success traditionally, not fitting those with non-materialistic or unique success views.
  • Its strong emphasis on career development might not attract readers to value travel or personal exploration more.

21. Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

$14.49
Buy on Amazon
03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Memoir, Essays, Psychology, Personal Development

“Tiny Beautiful Things” collects Cheryl Strayed’s impactful advice as ‘Sugar,’ tackling topics like love, loss, and self-discovery. She combines her personal experiences with wisdom, offering answers to difficult questions with depth and empathy.

Strayed’s columns share powerful stories that inspire readers to approach life’s challenges with bravery and compassion.

This book is a must-read for those facing life’s ups and downs, particularly young adults. Strayed provides heartfelt insights into overcoming hardship, making “Tiny Beautiful Things” a source of comfort and motivation to embrace life’s beauty and vulnerabilities.

Don’t surrender all your joy for an idea you used to have about yourself that isn’t true anymore.

What you might love:

  • The book tackles themes and issues everyone can relate to, ensuring readers find personal connections.
  • The book’s advice is brutally honest, revealing life and love’s tough truths in a refreshing and needed way.
  • The book covers a broad range of topics, including grief, love, growth, and forgiveness, addressing many of life’s challenges and joys.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Some might find the advice too rooted in Strayed’s personal experiences, making it less applicable to their own situations.
  • While refreshing to many, the blunt, unfiltered honesty could be off-putting to those accustomed to a more reserved approach.
  • The collection’s non-linear structure, jumping from one life issue to another, could disorient readers who prefer a more organized approach.

22. Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

$10.28
Buy on Amazon
03/07/2024 03:05 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Memoir, Self-Help, Biography, Personal Development

In “Year of Yes,” Shonda Rhimes shares how saying yes for a year changed her life. She faced fears, improved her health, and strengthened relationships, finding happiness in new challenges.

Rhimes’s story teaches the balance of saying yes to growth and no to creating space for what’s important. She combines personal stories with lessons on change and courage.

This book is for anyone hesitant to embrace new experiences. Rhimes shows the value of facing fears and the rewards of vulnerability, making “Year of Yes” an inspiring guide to a more rewarding life.

There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to.

What you might love:

  • The book’s motivational tone encourages readers to take action and make meaningful changes in their own lives.
  • Readers might love how the book boosts self-confidence by showing the benefits of embracing fear and uncertainty.
  • The author’s openness about her fears and challenges adds a layer of authenticity that’s both refreshing and inspiring.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Readers might struggle to relate to the unique challenges of a highly successful TV creator.
  • Some might say Rhimes’ ability to say “yes” and grow reflects a privilege not everyone has.
  • Saying “yes” to everything might seem unrealistic or too much for people with anxiety or depression.

23. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

$13.60
Buy on Amazon Get the audiobook
03/07/2024 04:55 am GMT

Genres: Psychology, Non-fiction, Self-Help, Business, Personal Development, Leadership

“Emotional Intelligence” highlights the importance of emotional intelligence (EQ), such as self-awareness and empathy, over IQ in achieving success. Goleman emphasizes that EQ skills are crucial for leadership, mental health, and building relationships.

The book uses research and real-life examples to explain how to improve EQ. It suggests practicing mindfulness, self-reflection, and effective communication to develop emotional skills.

“Emotional Intelligence” is a must-read for better managing personal and work relationships. Goleman offers practical advice for enhancing well-being and success, making this book an important guide to applying EQ in all areas of life.

In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.

What you might love:

  • The book offers insights into improving communication skills through emotional awareness and regulation.
  • The book is grounded in psychological and neurological research, offering readers a scientific basis for understanding EI.
  • Despite its basis in research, the book is written in accessible language, making complex ideas understandable to a broad audience.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s heavy reliance on theory might not satisfy those seeking practical advice.
  • Some argue the book focuses too much on emotions, offering a one-sided view of intelligence.
  • Goleman often assumes readers know about psychology or neuroscience, which can deter newcomers.

24. It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) by Nora Purmort

$15.29
Buy on Amazon
03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Memoir, Non-fiction, Humor, Biography, Mental Health

In this memoir, Nora Purmort shares her journey with her husband Aaron’s battle against brain cancer in her memoir. She combines touching and humorous essays to delve into love, grief, and motherhood, showcasing life’s unexpected turns.

Purmort’s story offers an honest look at finding joy in sorrow, urging readers to accept every part of life, even its unplanned moments. Her writing is a mix of raw emotion and humor, highlighting the balance between laughter and tears.

“It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too)” is for those dealing with grief and seeking understanding. Purmort reminds us that laughter amidst pain is not only possible but necessary for finding strength and happiness in life’s chaos.

There is nothing like people who love who they are, and love what they love.

What you might love:

  • The book touches on universal themes of love, loss, and finding strength, resonating with a wide audience.
  • Despite the heavy topics, the book is laced with humor, showing that laughter can exist even in the darkest times.
  • The memoir is filled with memorable anecdotes that range from heartwarming to heart-wrenching, all shared with a sense of authenticity.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Focusing on illness, death, and mourning can be hard for sensitive readers or those grieving.
  • The deep personal journey’s vulnerability and openness might overwhelm unprepared readers.
  • Readers looking for a typical self-help book may find the memoir’s personal stories surprising or disappointing.

25. Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies by Tara Schuster

$11.31
Buy on Amazon
03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Memoir, Mental Health, Personal Development, Psychology

In “Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies,” Tara Schuster shares her journey of overcoming anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem through self-care. She explains how simple acts, like buying flowers and establishing daily soothing rituals, changed her life and mindset.

Her book offers practical advice, relatable stories, and exercises to help readers develop self-love and a fulfilling life. It’s a guide to treating oneself kindly and building a life worth loving.

“Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies” is crucial for anyone feeling the weight of adulthood, providing steps for self-care and mental wellness. Schuster’s story is a powerful call to embrace self-compassion and make positive life changes.

Life is not a series of crises to be endured. Life is to be enjoyed.

What you might love:

  • Despite tackling heavy topics, the book is infused with a sense of humor that keeps it light and engaging.
  • The focus on self-care and treating oneself with kindness resonates deeply, especially in today’s fast-paced world.
  • The book empowers readers to take control of their lives and make the changes necessary for their well-being.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The book’s deep vulnerability and openness might overwhelm some readers.
  • Some might find the suggested rituals and self-care practices impractical or hard to access.
  • The catchy but provocative title could turn away readers who like a subtler self-help approach.

26. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

$10.12
Buy on Amazon
03/08/2024 06:10 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Memoir, Psychology, Personal Development, Inspirational

Gretchen Rubin spends a year trying to increase her happiness, tackling different life areas each month. She aims to make meaningful yet manageable changes, from organizing her space to improving relationships and following her passions.

“The Happiness Project” mixes Rubin’s personal stories with research and actionable advice, showing her journey towards a more joyful life. This approach gives readers a clear view of how small steps can lead to significant happiness gains.

“The Happiness Project” is a must-read for those wanting to boost their happiness. It offers a practical happiness blueprint, encouraging readers to start their own projects for a more fulfilling life.

One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.

What you might love:

  • The book is filled with actionable advice, offering simple strategies that can be easily implemented to boost happiness.
  • The book encourages readers to reflect on their lives and identify areas where they could seek more joy, promoting personal growth.
  • Rubin organizes her happiness project by focusing on different themes each month, making the process seem more manageable and structured.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Rubin’s personal stories might not appeal as much as scientific evidence to some readers.
  • Focusing on happiness in daily routines may feel minor to those with bigger life challenges.
  • The happiness project’s detailed planning might overwhelm those who favor a spontaneous life approach.

27. The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

$11.29


Buy on Amazon Get the audiobook
03/08/2024 09:30 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Business, Personal Development, Psychology, Feminism, Leadership

“The Confidence Code” explores confidence, highlighting its role in the growth and why women may lag behind men in this area. They use research from genetics, psychology, and neuroscience to delve into the complexities of confidence.

The authors share stories of successful women and identify habits and mindsets that boost confidence. They provide strategies to overcome fear and self-doubt, promoting risk-taking and learning from failure as keys to building confidence.

“The Confidence Code” is a must-read for anyone seeking to improve their self-confidence, especially women aiming to establish a confident foundation early in their careers and lives. It’s a motivating guide for living more confidently and authentically.

Having talent isn’t merely about being competent; confidence is actually a part of that talent.

What you might love:

  • It sends a powerful message about confidence’s role in achieving goals, motivating readers to act.
  • It explores confidence’s impact on women, shedding light on gender dynamics at work and in society.
  • The authors incorporate perspectives and examples from around the world, giving the book a broad and inclusive view.

What might not be for everyone:

  • The strategies might feel too simplistic for complex challenges.
  • The focus on corporate workplace confidence may not suit those in non-corporate careers.
  • Focusing mainly on women’s confidence experiences might not interest readers seeking a broader view.

28. How to Do Nothing by Jenny Odell

$12.20
Buy on Amazon
03/19/2024 09:23 am GMT

Genres: Non-fiction, Self-Help, Philosophy, Psychology, Essays, Technology

In “How to Do Nothing,” Jenny Odell advocates for “doing nothing” as a stand against the focus on constant productivity. She suggests reconnecting with nature, community, and the world around us as a way to live more mindfully away from digital overload.

Odell blends philosophy, art history, and stories to argue for a life focused on presence and mindfulness. She views reclaiming time and attention as crucial for personal well-being and challenging the constant connectivity.

“How to Do Nothing” is vital for those overwhelmed by digital pressures and seeking a richer life. Odell offers guidance on focusing on what truly matters, making it especially useful for people in their 20s aiming to establish their life’s direction and values.

To do nothing is to hold yourself still so that you can perceive what is actually there.

What you might love:

  • Odell challenges today’s work culture’s focus on constant productivity, promoting a balanced life.
  • The book critiques social media and technology’s grip on our attention, urging readers to reconsider their digital habits.
  • The book is filled with philosophical reflections on existence, art, and the value of simply being, offering deep food for thought.

What might not be for everyone:

  • Those who view social media positively or as a necessity might not appreciate the book’s critical stance.
  • Those who find value in productivity and efficiency might not agree with Odell’s critique of these modern work values.
  • The focus on nature and the outdoors as a refuge from the digital world might not appeal to everyone, especially urban dwellers.

Final Thoughts

Every book we’ve mentioned in this list brings its own view on life, challenges, and growth during your 20s. Their stories can inspire you, make you think, and offer comfort when you feel alone.

Books can be your guides, mentors, and friends as you move through this exciting, sometimes challenging, part of life. They’re there for you in quiet moments and provide an escape when the world gets too loud.

Who knows? One of these books might change your life or, at the very least, offer a new perspective when you need it most.


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Erika Maniquiz is a certified teacher and librarian with a Library and Information Science degree. She cherishes the calm moments reading books as much as the dynamic discussions she has in her classroom. Beyond her career, she is a fan of Kdrama and loves Kpop's lively beats.