The best books for figuring out your 20s

Who am I?

Meg Jay, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist, and an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Virginia, who specializes in adult development and in twentysomethings in particular. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books have been translated into more than a dozen languages and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and on NPR and BBC. Her TED talk “Why 30 Is Not the New 20” is among the most watched of all time.

I wrote...

Book cover of The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

What is my book about?

The Defining Decade has changed the way millions of twentysomethings think about their twenties--and themselves. Revised and updated for a new generation, let it change how you think about you and yours. Drawing from more than two decades of work with thousands of clients and students, Dr. Jay weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to take the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood—if we use the time well.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Meg Jay Why did I love this book?

Twentysomethings who are looking for a silver bullet will find it here in the form of 535 silver pellets. Without a doubt, one (or a hundred) of these pellets will change your relationship or your career or your mind or your potatoes, all of which matter in adulthood. Kelly Williams Brown makes growing up sound do-able and even fun.

By Kelly Williams Brown,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Adulting as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From breaking up with frenemies to fixing your toilet, this way fun comprehensive handbook is the answer for aspiring grown-ups of all ages.

If you graduated from college but still feel like a student . . . if you wear a business suit to job interviews but pajamas to the grocery store . . . if you have your own apartment but no idea how to cook or clean . . . it's OK. But it doesn't have to be this way.

Just because you don't feel like an adult doesn't mean you can't act like one. And it all…

Book cover of #ENTRYLEVELBOSS: How to Get Any Job You Want

Meg Jay Why did I love this book?

Three cheers for Entry Level Boss. I love Alexa's voice. I love her advice. And I love that she's broken down getting a job into the steps that every twentysomething wants and needs. Anyone who wants that first job--but is not sure how to get it--should read this book.

By Alexa Shoen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked #ENTRYLEVELBOSS as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An easy-to-follow, nine-step process for how to land your dream job and cut through the noise of job-searching in the 21st century.

Banging your head against the wall about the job search? Wondering why nobody’s even bothering to send you a rejection letter (much less an interview request)? You are not alone. This process is a beast, but there’s good news: #EntryLevelBoss is the book for you. This is an easy-to-follow roadmap for transforming yourself from frustrated job seeker into hired, happy, productive human.

One part behind-the-scenes memoir, one part playbook, #EntryLevelBoss lays out career coach Alexa Shoen’s proven 9-step…

Book cover of Everything Will Be Okay: Life Lessons for Young Women

Meg Jay Why did I love this book?

The best way to reassure people is to give them good information. That’s what Dana Perino does for young women in this engaging guide to life and work. From clearing your inbox to clearing your mind, if you follow the advice in this book, you’ll be well on your way to much more than okay.

By Dana Perino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everything Will Be Okay as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

GREAT NEWS! is a no-nonsense how-to guide to life for young women looking to reframe their thinking, to believe in themselves, to take risks, to understand their power, and to feel better overall.

Young women seek out advice from Dana Perino every day -- at work, through friends, and on social media. The story of her own quarter-life crisis, And the Good News Is..., brought countless readers to her inbox looking for guidance. Through her mentorship program, "Minute Mentoring," Dana quickly realized that quarter-life crises have begun following young women well into their thirties. Many of them are distressed but…

Book cover of An Ordinary Age: Finding Your Way in a World That Expects Exceptional

Meg Jay Why did I love this book?

An Ordinary Age is an antidote. It is for twentysomethings everywhere who are sick and tired of being sick and tired that the lives they wake up to everyday don't match the ones they see on Instagram. It is a book for real twentysomethings, that is, ones who deserve to know that their lives and their efforts aren't just good enough: They are well and truly good.

By Rainesford Stauffer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Ordinary Age as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Best Book of 2021 —Esquire?

Featured on Good Morning America

"A meticulous cartography of how outer forces shape young people’s inner lives." —Esquire, Best Books of 2021 

In conversation with young adults and experts alike, journalist Rainesford Stauffer explores how the incessant pursuit of a “best life” has put extraordinary pressure on young adults today, across our personal and professional lives—and how ordinary, meaningful experiences may instead be the foundation of a fulfilled and contented life.

Young adulthood: the time of our lives when, theoretically, anything can happen, and the pressure is on to make sure everything does. Social media…

Book cover of Normal Sucks

Meg Jay Why did I love this book?

This book is for every twentysomething out there with a learning difference. After years of struggling in school, maybe by now you’re feeling a bit beat up and worn down. This book will help you shake it off with a good laugh and a good cry and remind you that adult life and work don't have to be like the classroom. I laughed out loud with every page, except for the ones that broke my heart.

By Jonathan Mooney,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Normal Sucks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jonathan Mooney blends anecdote, expertise, and memoir to present a new mode of thinking about how we live and learn - individually, uniquely, and with advantages and upshots to every type of brain and body. As a neuro-diverse kid diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD who didn't learn to read until he was twelve, the realisation that that he wasn't the problem - the system and the concept of normal were - saved Mooney's life and fundamentally changed his outlook. Here he explores the toll that being not normal takes on kids and adults when they're trapped in environments that label…

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Book cover of Being Your Cat: What's really going on in your feline's mind

Celia Haddon Author Of Being Your Cat: What's really going on in your feline's mind

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Mad cat lady Love study Kitten rehabber

Celia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

Being Your Cat takes you inside the mind and body of your feline. See what your cat sees. Feel how your cat runs or leaps high to get into the armchair. Discover how your cat feels and thinks.

What is it like to be rescued and put in a cat pen? How does your cat cope with the human lifestyle? What do they like? What do they hate?

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What is this book about?

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