The 20s are an interesting decade to live in. From transitions to navigating life, my 20s (so far) have been a mix of everything. I have lost and found myself, made many mistakes and learned about the world around me, among other things.
Like me, your 20s must be full of many transitions. You might have found love only to lose it. You might have lost a loved one or faced the end of lifelong friendships. Or you might have found what you thought was your dream job, only to realize it wasn’t really what you wanted.
All I’m saying is being in your 20s is a confusing time, to say the least. But the good news is that we’re all going through more or less the same struggles.
One thing that makes this so accurate is reading books by those who have been here before me, who have gone through the same thing, and those who have something to teach me. And even as I exit my 20s in a few years, I plan to add some of these books to my reading list.
If you are in your 20s, these are some books you should read. If you’re past your 20s, I still recommend reading these books:
Becoming by Michelle Obama
It’s hard to imagine Michelle Obama as someone who struggled to find her calling. In this memoir, the former First Lady recalls all the hard work it took to defy society’s expectations of a girl growing up on the South Side of Chicago.
She also describes the self-reflection that forced her to admit after uni that being a corporate attorney wasn’t her passion. As she describes her triumphs and disappointments, Michelle reminds all of us that it’s okay (and never too late) to change direction.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
At 22, Cheryl felt she had lost everything and would go nowhere. Her mother had died, her family had scattered, and her own marriage was disintegrating.
Four years later, with no experience or training and guided by only blind will, she decided to hike the Pacific Trail – from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – on her own.
Wild tells the story of her hike, the obstacles she faced along the way, and how the journey ultimately healed her.
Like Cheryl, many people have found themselves in the most unexpected ways after reading her book.
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
While she’s best known for her bestseller “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Big Magic” is filled with valuable gems. As a creative, I took away so many insights from this book that touches everything from imposter syndrome, writer’s block, and putting your creative projects into the world.
Throughout the book, Gilbert challenges readers to consider that they may very well fail but should still do the things that scare them anyways. Something you’ll constantly have to deal with in your 20s.
Imposter Syndrome by Kathy Wong
This 2021 novel is one I am yet to get my hands on. It’s about something most people—not just 20-somethings—can relate to impostor syndrome. In 2006, Julia, a recent college grad living in Moscow, was recruited by Russia’s largest intelligence agency. Twelve years later, she’s in Silicon Valley as COO, one of America’s most famous technology companies. Alice is a first-generation Chinese American who works at the same company when she discovers that the company’s privacy settings aren’t as rigorous as the company claims. The person abusing this loophole might just be Julia. As the two get closer, the book jumps from a page-turning cat-and-mouse chase to a sharp satire about women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris and the elusiveness of the American Dream.
Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
You already know the powerhouse that is Shonda Rhimes, the creator and producer of Emmy-award-winning shows Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and Bridgerton. Though she’s built an impressive career, Rhimes self-identifies as an introvert and had to force herself to lean into activities that made her uncomfortable. She did this by committing to one full year of saying ‘yes’ to anything that scared her. Her book details this 12-month challenge and how it transformed her life for the better.
2020 was my year of yes, and it opened me to many opportunities. I’m thinking of having another year of yes😊
Whether you are in your 20s or out of your 20s, it’s never too late to get yourself any of these books.