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My picks for the best life-changing books to read in your 20s.
It was recently my birthday and it got me thinking about how I'm getting closer to the end of my 20s! I still have a couple years to go, but I ended up reflecting on how your 20s are some of your most formative years.
Although you grow throughout your entire life, your 20s are when you develop some essential skills and perspectives that will impact you forever. It's totally normal to feel like you're still figuring it out - literally everyone is! But I've read some books over the past few years that have really changed the trajectory of my life. They're that good!
I think it's important to do a lot of research and testing in your 20s. Even though you're venturing into "adult" life, it's important to never stop learning. While many self-help books dangle the promise of a changed life, or a way out of where you are now, I find that they can change lives in a more significant way. I think they make you think a little deeper about what resonates with you and how you want to frame your life.
For example, not every self help book contains the one single key to completely flipping your life around, but you can take pieces from each book you read and use the skills or perspectives you have resonated with as a sort of life toolbox. Every great philosopher educates themselves, observes, and tests theories with their own real experiences. And I believe we are are personal philosophers of our own lives - trying to understand and make peace with our own purposes of being here.
I do believe knowledge is power in the sense that the more you surround yourself and listen to people who have achieved or overcome certain circumstances, the more applicable knowledge you can harvest and use those skills in your own life.
If you ever read anything you disagree with, simply know it's not the only way. However, I ask you to analyze if your disagreement is a matter of opinion or rooted in a fear or objection within yourself. When I was in high school, my parents would recommend I read The Power of Now because I was struggling with not feeling present and being in my head all the time. I brushed it off because I guess I wasn't mature enough to realize learning something new could only benefit me. I was too afraid to make my life better, I guess!
I ended up reading it years later and totally understanding it. I also believe life is good mix of "everything happens in the right timing" and "seek out the path you want in life". Patience & urgency.
It's something I think everyone in their 20s goes through. It's a period of a lot of self doubt and confusion for a lot of people. If you're wanting to open your mind to some new concepts, here is my holy-grail list of books that I've read in my 20s that have completely changed my life!
I've read all of these books in my 20s and I can personally attest to the fact that I am so glad I read them when I did! You always think, what if I could have learned this earlier, but it's never too late to learn, even if you're past your 20s. I am a firm believer that everything happens in the right timing.
Who knows what could have been if I would have read one of these books earlier? But for some reason, I was meant to find them when I did! I use all the knowledge from these books combined and find that the main principles all work together.
You may notice that there are some "spiritual" books here, but I personally feel much of the concepts in each of them transcend any specific religion and can apply to any system of beliefs. They just provide a way of looking at life, conflict, relationships, and the world.
If I end up reading any other books that change my life in the next few years, I will be sure to update this page!
"This book is so powerful and really highlights each aspect of bettering your life. 10/10 read. I learned so much about the world too."
This book is such a good one to pick up when you're feeling down and wanting to take a few steps to better your life. Mental resilience is something that I have learned is insanely important in your 20s. Life has a way of throwing you many curveballs and what better way to prepare for those than to work on your mental strength?
In your 20s, you are going through a lot of life changes. Maybe you're in a serious relationship, looking to expand your career, or starting to think about having kids. All of these things will require you to build your mental strength, and this book does an amazing job of teaching you practical steps to achieving it.
"Everyone should read this book. Eckhart Tolle is a spiritual teacher he guides you how to live in the Now and how to become aware of your chattering mind, how to deal with painful emotions, how to awaken from the preconditioned self - by this I mean the person you think you are but really its just a lot of ideas and beliefs coming from teachers, parents, religion, this book will free you from that old self and become free to live in the now."
This book is probably the book that has had the most lasting effect on my life. It's a book that sometimes gets mixed reactions - some people believe it's all a bunch of mumbo jumbo and others feel as I do that it is a completely new and influential way to view the world.
I know that this book is on a lot of lists of life-changing books, and some people automatically turn away when they see it listed, but I truly don't understand the hate this book gets! If it doesn't resonate with you, I believe you're just not ready to receive the ideas yet.
I wasn't raised in a particular religion - my parents always told me that I could choose what I wanted to believe in or practice. Because of that, I had been looking for some comfort in a belief system for a while.
Basically, The Power of Now is a concept that suggests nothing exists beyond this present moment. Any past or present is simply a product of our minds and egos. It places emphasis on the idea that thoughts are a natural part of the human experience, but most people believe their thoughts are who they are. For example, if you have a negative thought about yourself, you believe it to be true because you place worth and emphasis on your mind.
According to Eckhart Tolle (the author), there is your mind, and then there is the true "you". They are separate.
I know this can sound a bit confusing, but I promise you if you struggle with negative self-talk or something from the past or anything like that, this book really can bring you a lot of peace.
And if you're religious, I really recommend still reading it! All the concepts taught are based in a lot of different religions practiced around the world!
I give out copies of this book like candy and anytime I hear of someone struggling or feeling anxious, it's always the first thing I recommend!
"This was the 2nd Eckhart Tolle book I have read - after "The Power of Now." Eckhart is a great teacher. You cannot be the same after reading his books. A new earth is here, indeed."
A New Earth is the "sequel" to The Power of Now. You can definitely read it before reading Power of Now, but if you can read that one first, I would as it provides a lot of detailed definitions and explanations to concepts that are then expanded upon in this book.
This book delves more into the concept of the "ego" and how the world has been dominated by peoples' senses of selves for centuries. If you enjoyed The Power of Now, or have some questions about the concepts, this book is a good follow-up and shows how to apply the ideas in more real-world scenarios like when you get into an argument with someone or feel unhappiness about a situation.
"In 'Happiness Becomes You', Tina shares a deeply intimate insight into her life and spiritual journey. It is a tapestry of life lessons and practical tips woven together from Tina's 80+ years on the planet and 50 years as a Buddhist."
I talked about this book recently in a blog post. Tina Turner writes about her traumatic experiences in life and how spirituality helped guide her back on the right path. I think anyone who has experienced any kind of hardship will like Tina's positive attitude and her practical thoughts on overcoming challenges. She talks about a concept called "turning poison into medicine" and how each negative experience in life can be an opportunity for growth and healing.
Tina uses concepts from Buddhism and other spiritual practices to view the world in a joyful light, but she also explains how these concepts are shared by lots of different religions.
If you're in your 20s and having trouble understanding why some things happen in life, this book can help you find peace!
"This book was a quick, easy read. I love that it gave fresh insight into romantic relationships and our expectations and how we can adjust our way of thinking about them to have a positive outcome."
This book is a "sequel" to The Four Agreements. It focuses on the concept of love for yourself and love within romantic and other relationships. It is so simple and quick to read, but it is filled with so many poignant truths. I think everybody needs to read a good book about love in their 20s, especially understanding what love is and how to be the best version of yourself to then share that with someone else.
I underlined so many things in this book and continue to go back and read excerpts for different reminders now and again.
"Feeling sorry for yourself, think you can't get a break? This book will give you the tools to change your mindset."
This is my most recently read and holy s***! It is a must. This is David Goggins' second book, but you don't need to read the first one to understand the concepts. As a matter of fact, I read this book before the first one!
Basically, David Goggins is a guy who came from an abusive household, was overweight and depressed until he decided to change his life. He became a Navy SEAL and competes in various ultra marathons and competitions. He pushes his body and mind to the limit every day.
This book teaches you how to be mentally tough. One of the common themes of the books I have resonated with the most discuss the power of the mind and how it must be understood and tamed.
The things David has managed to push himself to achieve is super admirable and he tells you how to sharpen your mindset and tap into pain to become the best version of yourself.
If you've been feeling stuck and frustrated with your energy levels and what you've done with your life so far, this book will kick your a$$ and make you more resilient.
What is your biggest holy grail book? There are a lot of books that I have read that I liked, but I tried to only include things on that list that I believe have made the greatest impact on my life. Hope you enjoyed!