First of all, let’s admit, the 20s is a confusing time. You are transforming from a carefree child to a responsible adult. Here you feel the weight of your family, career, job, marriage, and whatnot. You have to find what you want to do in the future, how you will live, with whom you will live. So many things happen in just ten years!
But it’s also true that the 20s is a transformative decade. These ten years mostly decide the quality of life you will live further. You can have many questions in your 20s that may confuse you or problems that may break you. So, it becomes essential to read books that would answer your questions, teach you powerful methods of living, and motivate you to live the life you desire. Here I have shared seven books that you must read in your 20s to get the best out of this decade.
Best Books to Read in Your 20s
1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
Often in the 20s, we feel meaningless, hopeless, and confused about what we should do in the future. When we face difficult situations, we lose hope, and life doesn’t seem worth living. Here a book about hope can be helpful.
Hence the first book on the list is Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, considered one of the most influential books.
The author was a prisoner for three years in Nazi concentration camps during world war II, where he fought every day to remain alive. The book is divided into two parts; In the first part, he has shared his struggle in the camp, including every detail like the labor he performed, the food he ate, the inhuman treatment he got.
And the second part contains the lessons you can learn from his experience. Here the book tells about the importance of finding a purpose for living, which makes your life meaningful and exciting to live.
One of the most powerful things I have read in this book is that we humans may lose everything, everything can be taken from us, but one thing, that is the freedom to choose how we react in these situations. When I was reading it, the book gave me a fantastic sense of freedom because I realized that how I feel is always in my hand.
Reading the details of the author’s suffering in the concentration camp would make you feel blessed for what you have. And I am sure this book will provide you with hope and make you optimistic about life.
2. Atomic Habits by James Clear
If I am talking about the best books you should read in your 20s, how can I forget Atomic Habits by James Clear! This book is mainly about habits, and you already know how important habits are; they can make or break your life.
The 20s is the right time to make good habits that will give rewards until the end of life. The book contains supremely practical ways to build good habits and break the bad ones.
Atomic habits are small practices that, when done daily, can produce remarkable results. For example, learning two words every day won’t take more than 5 minutes and is very easy. But when this simple activity is done for years, it would result in a strong vocabulary.
Similarly, there are other atomic habits like exercising or meditating for five minutes or reading five pages of books every day. These small changes may not seem valuable at all, which is why we don’t engage in these.
And this is also the reason why we engage in bad habits because they don’t seem to cause any harm at the moment. But with time, the results overwhelm us, and we find ourselves in chaos. So, it’s necessary to focus on small but good habits.
Atomic Habits is one of the most popular books in the present time, and you will find it in probably every book recommendation. You must go for this book if you are not satisfied with life and want to change it.
3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k by Mark Manson
If you are like most people, you would be overwhelmed in your 20s because there are so many things to focus on, and you don’t know what to do. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fu*k by Mark Manson can be a great help here.
At its core, the book is about finding what is truly important to you, what matters the most, and then focusing on it by letting everything go.
It’s because between birth and death; we have a limited amount of time, so we can care only for a limited number of things. Hence, it’s essential to care only for things that matter and ignore those that don’t matter. Not caring about unimportant things saves a lot of time and energy, allowing us to focus properly on important ones and can really make a change.
In our 20s, we also face problems like fear of criticism and what-people-will-think. We tend to care a lot about people and act only in ways that would please them. This is an example of a thing which you shouldn’t care about.
This book may contradict some books on this list. So, I would suggest you not follow everything written in this book, actually in any book, blindly. You should read, understand, apply them in life, and then see if it works for you or not.
4. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
You might already have read, or if not, you must have heard of Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This is one of the best books you will ever read on personal finance. And it will clear a lot of confusion about money, which you will generally face in your 20s.
Rich Dad Poor Dad will teach you how rich people think and work as opposed to poor people. This is an essential read because school and college don’t teach the principles of financial literacy.
This book was a game-changer for me. I learned about assets and liabilities, understood whether I should go for a 9 to 5 job or not, and realized the importance of working for myself.
One of the best lessons from the book is that if you want to be rich, you shouldn’t work for money but should make money work for you. And you can do this by making assets, like investing in stocks or writing a book. If you work for money, you will keep working hard but will never have enough to fulfill your demands. But if you have money working for you, you can earn more money without putting in much effort.
Rich Dad Poor Dad can be a transformative read, and the 20s is the best time to read it. Especially if you come from a middle-class background, the book will completely change your way of thinking.
5. How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
Your quality of life depends largely on how well you can talk with people. If you are an employee, you have to persuade your boss; if you are an entrepreneur, you have to lead your employees; if you are married, you will have to convince your spouse (Not married? Then you must be trying to impress your crush). No matter where you are, soft skills will be needed.
So, that’s why I have included this book on this list. How to Make Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is a book on soft skills. How to convince anyone, how to handle a difficult conversation, how to criticize anyone without offending, how to make a lot of friends; you would get the answer to all these questions in the book.
This book can be a real treasure for introverts. But you are an extrovert; it would still help you because how to talk to people is a necessary thing to learn.
Each chapter contains a practical tip that would improve the way you talk with people. If you read and apply these tips to your conversation, I am sure you will be able to influence many through speaking.
6. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
Don’t you think it would be better if you get to know what makes successful people successful and then directly follow it? Well, here is a book that can help you in this- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. It’s is a 1937 book; whose concepts are still relevant to this present time.
Before writing this book, Napoleon Hill studied the lives of around 500 successful people like Henry Ford, Theodore Roosevelt, Andrew Carnegie, etc. Then he found the 13 steps that can make anyone achieve what they want- happiness, money, or mental peace. Think and Grow Rich is all about these 13 steps.
One of the best lessons from the book is you need a burning desire and enduring faith for achieving anything significant. Whatever you want to be, the first requirement for success is desire. Only when you have the desire can you continue working when things get difficult. If your desire is weak, most probably, you will give up when you face challenges. Similarly, you need faith in yourself to act confidently and positively.
This book can be beneficial in the 20s because it will tell you how you can utilize your mind, develop yourself, and then get what you want. You may not need all the 13 steps described in the book, but I am sure some of these steps will positively influence your life.
7. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
The last book on this list is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, which will tell you how to live a creative life. This book will be your ultimate guide if you want to be an artist-author, painter, dancer, singer, etc. If you don’t want to be an artist, you still need creativity to excel in your career or make your life interesting. Big Magic will make sure that you get better at creative living.
The author describes creative living like this, “the universe buries strange jewels deep within us all and then stands back to see if we can find them. The hunt to uncover those jewels is creative living.”
Interesting, right? The author has shared many valuable experiences from her writing career with a gripping narrative style. One of the best things I learned from this book is that fear and creativity have some strange relations. Wherever creativity goes, fear follows. The problem with fear is that it is boring because it’s the same every day, and dangerous because it can control your life. But you can’t get completely rid of it because fear is natural.
So, what should you do? The book says, get comfortable with fear. And don’t let it make decisions, instead follow your curiosity.
When we are in our 20s, we tend to take life more seriously. Big magic will tell you how you can live a colorful life by using your creativity. So, this last book on the list will help you in living a creative life beyond fear.
Related: Big Magic- 3 Key Lessons
These are the seven books you should read in your 20s. You can start with any of these and then go on to read the others. Millions have read these books and found incredible positive changes in them. I am sure you are not going to be an exception to this.
And remember that it takes time and effort; you can’t just expect sudden change after reading a book; you have to practice what you read. So, read and then experiment with what you learn to see if it works for you because life is all about experimenting.
So that’s all. I hope you found it valuable. You can subscribe to my YouTube channel, where I talk about books and self-improvement. And thanks for reading.