The best books about being an adult 📚

Browse the best books on adult as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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

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

By Kelly Williams Brown

Why this book?

Adulthood seems like a necessary and possibly desirable life stage, but HOW exactly does one do it? What are the essentials? Brown steps away from cheerleading and the examination of deep psychological concepts, and instead focusses on the actual skills you need in order to be a tolerably functional, reasonably independent adult. From how to roast a chicken, to coping with upsells at the lube shop, to responding to dinner invitations, she inventories the things every grownup should (and often doesn’t) know.

From the list:

The best books for building adulthood in your twenties

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Book cover of Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest

Slouching Toward Adulthood: Observations from the Not-So-Empty Nest

By Sally Koslow

Why this book?

The cultivation of independent adulthood is a tricky dance - usually at least part of the time conducted with parents. It helps to see the other side of the fence, and Koslow describes the emotional journey of parents as they gradually disengage from their role as captain of the ship of a young adult’s life. Whether they know it or not, you are almost certainly the biggest and most lasting project of their entire lives, and standing on the sidelines to watch it sink or swim ain’t easy.

From the list:

The best books for building adulthood in your twenties

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

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

By Meg Jay

Why this book?

Jay points out that the decade of the twenties, once regarded as the core of young adult life, has become for many a kind of extended adolescence - or an early retirement. The skills, knowledge, habits, and talents which would ordinarily be developed during this time are put off for a later that may prove too late. She makes the case for treating the decade seriously - while still having fun and laying the groundwork for yet more enjoyment later on in life.

From the list:

The best books for building adulthood in your twenties

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

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

By Rainesford Stauffer

Why 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.
From the list:

The best books for figuring out your 20s

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Book cover of Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood

Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood

By Lisa Damour

Why this book?

This book was a total breath of fresh air when it was published by psychologist Lisa Damour in 2016. Dr. Damour really ‘gets’ girls and her understanding of the sometimes erratic and confusing behaviour in the adolescent years is profound and compassionate. Dr. Damour also writes beautifully so it’s a pleasure to read and doesn’t repeat the same old tired cliches. Instead, it goes to the next level to explain what's going on for girls as they grow up and become independent. It prepares parents for what's to come and lets them know when it's time to worry and when…

From the list:

The best books for really understanding children and teens

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