20 Best Books For Twenty Somethings as You Begin Your Adult Life

Discover our list of the best books for twenty somethings to guide you as you move into the next chapter of your adult life.

The twenties are a decade of change, filled with one-of-a-kind chances and experiences that mold who you are and who you will become. These years can be thrilling and intimidating as you navigate the ups and downs of life. The best books for twenty-somethings provide knowledge, inspiration, and assistance for navigating this exciting and demanding time. 

Whether you’re looking for practical advice on career development, guidance on relationships and personal growth, or just a good story to escape into, there’s something for everyone. Check out the best inspirational books to spark motivation!

Here Are The Best Books For Twenty Somethings You Should Read

1. It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor by Rebecca Shambaugh

A book cover illustration of a woman in silhouette climbing a ladder leading up to a blue sky

Refuting the notion of the glass ceiling that purportedly keeps women in business from reaching the higher echelons of office, It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor explores the self-limitations that women place on themselves. According to the author, Rebecca Shambaugh, there are seven kinds of “sticky floors.” She explains what those self-imposed career blocks are, along with guidance on how to overcome them with advice on achieving work/life balance, overcoming perfectionism, being heard in the workplace, and more.

“It’s important for women to look at what they might be doing, or not doing, to hold themselves back.”

Rebecca Shambaugh, It’s Not a Glass Ceiling, It’s a Sticky Floor
It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor: Free Yourself From the Hidden Behaviors Sabotaging Your Career Success
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Shambaugh, Rebecca (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 10/17/2007 (Publication Date) - McGraw Hill (Publisher)

2. How to Write the Perfect Resume by Dan Clay

A book cover of a teal blue background and the title of the book in white block letters

Twenty-somethings are on the job hunt, looking for that promising, fulfilling career of their dreams. But a vast majority lack the skills to craft a compelling resume that will get them noticed over their peers. This book details how to word resumes that make the candidate stand out, so they get that all-important interview. How to Write the Perfect Resume is laid out in an easy-to-follow methodical way, detailing the step-by-step approach the author has mastered over ten years.

“There are far more people who fail to land a job than there are those who succeed.”

Dan Clay, How to Write the Perfect Resume
How to Write the Perfect Resume: Stand Out, Land Interviews, and Get the Job You Want
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Clay, Dan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 05/27/2018 (Publication Date)

3. Women & Money by Suze Orman

A color photograph of a woman smiling at the camera while wearing a black leather jacket and chunky silver necklaces and earrings

Women & Money focuses on the unique financial challenges faced by women. The author draws on her experience as a financial advisor and the stories of women she has worked with to provide practical advice and strategies for achieving financial security. Women & Money covers saving for retirement, paying off debt, investing, buying a home, and starting a small business. Orman also addresses money’s emotional and psychological aspects, such as the fears and limiting beliefs that can hold women back from achieving financial success. It’s ideal for twenty-something women who want to start life equipped with the essentials of being financially successful.

“We have a right to be proud of our progress. I am so honored to witness this revolution in my lifetime. I only wish it told the whole truth.”

Suze Orman, Women & Money
Women & Money (Revised and Updated)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Orman, Suze (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 202 Pages - 09/11/2018 (Publication Date) - Random House (Publisher)

4. Dress For Success by Cydey McMillon

A photograph of a black woman standing in a red pantsuit

The author of Dress For Success is a life coach and founder of a style brand. As a successful businesswoman, she knows what she’s talking about regarding how a person’s dress influences their brand. This book offers guidance and advice on defining and developing your brand to achieve success in your personal and professional life. The author outlines specific tips and strategies for creating a personal brand that aligns with your values, personality, and goals by creating a signature style. She covers how to dress for various occasions and build a wardrobe. The book is filled with interesting anecdotes and is written in an accessible style that twenty-somethings will easily relate to.

“No matter your profession or title, the way that you present yourself to others can propel your lifestyle.”

Cydney McMillon, Dress For Success
Dress For Success: Define Your Personal Brand and Elevate Your Lifestyle
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • McMillon, Cydney (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 06/30/2019 (Publication Date)

5. Ashkettle Haunted by A.M. Goetz

A book cover image of a young man who appears to be in anguish

Ashkettle Haunted is book two of a three-part series. This installment is, on the outside, a riveting thriller that keeps readers turning the pages. Between the lines is the tale of a tormented young man haunted by his inner demons, worsened by chronic depression and the verge of mental illness. This book is great for twenty-somethings because it documents the trials of depression and mental suffering, something many modern twenty-somethings can relate to. Ashkettle Haunted has been described as an in-depth look into PTSD and depression.

“Dack would know; he wants to feel better in the worst kind of way. He’d do just about anything to make it happen.”

A.M. Goetz, Ashkettle Haunted
Ashkettle Haunted (Ashkettle Boys Book 2)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Goetz, A.M. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 126 Pages - 10/19/2017 (Publication Date)

6. What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles

A book cover of the title in bold, white block letters against a dark blue solid background, with a small person parachuting from a colorful parachute

Originally published in 1973, What Color is Your Parachute remains one of the best books about finding your dream career that’s ever been written. It’s updated each year to reflect the ever-changing job outlook. Author Richard Bolles says that traditional job search methods, such as responding to job listings and sending out resumes, are not effective. Instead, job seekers should focus on their strengths, skills, and interests. The book offers exercises and tools to help readers discover their unique skills and passions and to create a plan for finding a job or career that aligns with their values and goals. It also guides networking, interviewing, and negotiating job offers.

“This is your search, and you get to control how it goes.”

Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute?
What Color Is Your Parachute?: Your Guide to a Lifetime of Meaningful Work and Career Success
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bolles, Richard N. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 353 Pages - 12/27/2022 (Publication Date) - Ten Speed Press (Publisher)

7. Martha Stewart’s Cooking School by Martha Stewart

A photograph of a middle-aged blonde woman, smiling and wearing large circular gold earrings and a blue denim dress

A long and healthy life begins with good nutrition, yet many twenty-somethings still eat like teenagers. Martha Stewart’s Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes For the Home Cook is like having your mother teach you how to cook from scratch. Of course, Martha Stewart is the modern maven of all things domestic, but even career-focused twenty-somethings will appreciate learning how to be a culinary master in their own home. This will free cash-strapped twenty-somethings from the fast-food drive-in lanes and put them fully in control of their nutrition. The book is written in a friendly tone filled with photographs and illustrations that leave nothing to chance. Readers will learn everything from baking and making a green salad and cream butter.

“As you work your way through the “curriculum” here, I am quite sure you will find that you have both the skills and the confidence to improvise and experiment in the kitchen.”

Martha Stewart, Martha Stewart’s Cooking School
Martha Stewart's Cooking School: Lessons and Recipes for the Home Cook: A Cookbook
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Stewart, Martha (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 12/20/2011 (Publication Date) - Clarkson Potter (Publisher)

8. Clothesline by Kate Supino

A book cover illustration of a young woman with red flowing hair, wearing a green dress, and standing in front of a shop window with a wedding dress in the window

Clothesline is a coming-of-age novel that follows the lives of three twenty-something women as they navigate the challenges of starting their own small business. The novel explores themes of entrepreneurship, friendship, love, and self-discovery. Each of the three main characters has unique talents and aspirations, and together they embark on a wild journey of trying out different small business ideas, from door-to-door sales to pet grooming. As they pursue their dreams, they face challenges and setbacks that test their patience and friendship. The book is perfect for twenty-somethings who dream of someday owning a small business.

“Reading this letter makes me see how much faith my friends have in my ability to come through for them.”

Kate Supino, Clothesline
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Supino, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 311 Pages - 02/05/2011 (Publication Date)

9. The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani

A book cover with an illustration of a shop window with a fancy white dress, a hatbox and gloves, and shoes, under a red awning

The Queen of the Big Time is the fictional account of a young woman who loses the love of her life when he mysteriously disappears from the small town where they live in Italy. Four years later, on the eve of the protagonist’s wedding to another man, her first love reappears, forcing the young woman to examine her feelings and make an important decision about her future. Trigiani paints a vivid picture of her characters and the landscape where they reside. Readers will enjoy having their heartstrings pulled on this emotional rollercoaster.

“I look around at the couples there for the show and wonder how many of them will marry, and if they do, whether they will be happy.”

Adriana Trigiani, The Queen of the Big Time
The Queen of the Big Time: A Novel (Trigiani, Adriana)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Trigiani, Adriana (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 304 Pages - 07/06/2004 (Publication Date) - Random House (Publisher)

10. Believe It. Own It. Do It. by Jeffrey Alan Smith

A book cover image with the book title in bold white and green letters against a dark blue background

Believe It. Own It. Do It. is the inspiring story of how a 19-year-old man who built a million-dollar real estate business in under three years. The author talks about his childhood, how he always wanted to be a businessman from a young age and his circuitous path to becoming one of the most successful real estate brokers in the Memphis tri-state area. This book is ideal for twenty-somethings who may falsely believe they’re too young to start something or won’t be taken seriously in the business world. Jeffrey Alan Smith shares his journey and outlines the steps others can take to achieve the same kind of success in real estate.

“I consider myself a born teacher, and I’ve always strived to share what I learn with others so they, too, can reach their potential, whatever that may be.”

Jeffrey Alan Smith, Believe It. Own It. Do It.
Believe It. Own It. Do It.: Your Real Estate Career Unlocked
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Smith, Jeffrey Alan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 236 Pages - 12/17/2021 (Publication Date) - JASCO Publishing (Publisher)

11. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A black and white portrait photo of an older gentleman with white hair and spectacles

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a book that will never go out of style. Although modern twenty-somethings may think they have the inside scoop on influencing others on social media, they’ll find they’ve been putting into practice many of Dale Carnegie’s ideas from 1936. After reading this book, they’ll also realize that they still have to learn from the man born into poverty and became one of the most wealthy and successful individuals of his time. Dale Carnegie’s book is easy to read and relatable to everyone. The principles in the book reflect common sense and follow the basic laws of humanity.

“Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

12. The Defining Decade by Meg Jay Ph.D.

A book cover of the title in bold white letters against a gray background

In The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter – and How to Make the Most of Them Now, clinical psychologist Meg Jay argues that 20-somethings are mired in a flurry of hype and disinformation, much of which has trivialized what she regards as the most transformational decade of our lives. Drawing on more than two decades of experience working with thousands of clients, Jay explains how work, relationships, personality, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood. The author gives readers the tools to make the most of this time by fusing the most recent science and studies with the stories of real twenty-somethings she’s worked with.

“As a twenty something, life is still more about potential than proof. Those who can tell a good story about who they are and what they want leap over those who can’t.”

Meg Jay, Ph.D., The Defining Decade
The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jay, Meg (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 337 Pages - 04/17/2012 (Publication Date) - Twelve (Publisher)

13. Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

A color photo of a young woman with dark brown smiling at the camera

Confessions of a Shopaholic is a fun read that twenty-somethings will love. Sure, it’s a fun romp through a woman’s struggles with shopping, but it also offers a perspective on materialism that every twenty-something can benefit from. The protagonist can’t resist a good bargain. That, combined with her basic misunderstanding of saving money, results in disastrous short-term consequences. But hope is on the horizon as the young woman realizes the folly of her ways and turns her entire life around until the next book in this series!

“OK. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s only a VISA bill. It’s a piece of paper; a few numbers. I mean, just how scary can a few numbers be?”

Sophie Kinsella, Confessions of a Shopaholic
Confessions of a Shopaholic: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kinsella, Sophie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 384 Pages - 03/04/2003 (Publication Date) - Delta (Publisher)

14. Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

A book cover image with the book’s title in purple block letters against a blurry image

Susan Jeffers has written a book that guides overcoming fear and anxiety to achieve personal and professional success. In Feel the Fear…and Do It Anyway, Jeffers author says that fear is a natural part of the human experience, but it should not prevent us from pursuing our goals and dreams. The book offers practical tools and strategies for understanding and managing fear, such as reframing negative thoughts, practicing positive affirmations, and embracing change. Jeffers emphasizes the importance of taking action, even in the face of fear and using fear as a motivator for growth and development.

“I know you are probably not jumping up and down for joy just yet, but believe me when I tell you that I have just given you a great piece of news.”

Susan Jeffers, Feel the Fear…And Do It Anyway
Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway: Dynamic Techniques for Turning Fear, Indecision, and Anger into Power, Action, and Love
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Jeffers, Susan (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 03/14/2023 (Publication Date) - Harvest (Publisher)

15. Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score

A book cover image of the book’s title in blue watercolor paint against a background of light blue and daisies scattered about

Things We Never Got Over is a fiction book described as a rollercoaster ride where everyone laughs instead of screams. In a small town, the characters explore their family and relationships while figuring out how to deal with past hurts and surprising future possibilities. This is a good read for twenty-somethings, as it delves into the complicated sibling rivalry phenomena and asks, are you capable of genuinely forgiving another person?

“You’re the one who has to live your life. Don’t apologize to other people for the decisions you make for yourself.”

Lucy Score, Things We Never Got Over
Things We Never Got Over (Knockemout Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Score, Lucy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 562 Pages - 01/13/2022 (Publication Date) - That's What She Said Publishing (Publisher)

16. The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

A black and white photograph of an elderly gentleman dressed in a suit and tie

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale explains that one’s thoughts and attitudes have a profound impact on their experiences and outcomes in life. The Power of Positive Thinking provides practical tools and techniques for cultivating a positive mindset, such as affirmations, visualization, and prayer. Peale encourages readers to focus on their strengths and cultivate a deep sense of faith and optimism, which can help them overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. These tools are especially valuable for twenty-somethings in today’s world.

“What you are determines the world in which you live, so as you change, your world changes also.”

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking
The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (Bestseller Book) (Bestseller Collection)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Dr. Norman Vincent Peale (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 284 Pages - Namaskar Books (Publisher)

17. Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

A photograph of a middle-aged man with blue-rimmed eyeglasses, smiling and wearing a fur-collared Bomber jacket

In Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!, Robert Kiyosaki explains some basic money management facts that will surprise most twenty-somethings who have little first-hand knowledge of taking care of finances. This book was first published over 25 years ago and has already become a classic everyone should read. Kiyosaki discusses his modest upbringing and how his dad did little to prepare him for the world in terms of handling money. It goes to great length about the differences between how the wealthy handle money and how those struggling financially deal with it.

“An asset puts money in my pocket. A liability takes money out of my pocket.”

Robert Kiyosaki, Rich Dad Poor Dad
Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kiyosaki, Robert T. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 04/11/2017 (Publication Date) - Plata Publishing (Publisher)

18. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero

A photograph of a woman wearing a large sunhat smiling at the camera

In You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, author Jen Sincero offers guidance and encouragement for readers to take charge of their lives and achieve their full potential. The author argues that self-doubt and fear of failure are the biggest obstacles to success and that by changing one’s mindset and taking action, one can achieve their dreams. Sincero draws on her own experiences and those of her clients to illustrate how anyone can overcome self-doubt and create the life they want. The book is written in a witty, irreverent, entertaining, and inspiring style.

“What other people think about you has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.”

Jen Sincero, You Are a Badass
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life
  • Great product!
  • Sincero, Jen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 04/23/2013 (Publication Date) - Running Press Adult (Publisher)

19. Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! by Lori Greiner

A photograph of a woman with long brown hair sitting outside at a table with a bamboo forest behind her

Lori Greiner is an inspiring, successful businesswoman who made a name long before the hit show Shark Tank ever came along. In Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!: Make Your Million-Dollar Idea into a Reality, Greiner shares some juicy behind-the-scenes info on the show and delves deep into strategies that readers can put into practice to bring their own million-dollar ideas into reality. This book should not be passed up for twenty-somethings who would like to make their mark on the world the way this multi-millionaire woman has since it makes a valuable reference book for bringing ideas to market.

“Truly, anyone, at any time, can become an inventor.”

Lori Greiner, Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!
Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!: Make Your Million-Dollar Idea into a Reality
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Greiner, Lori (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 290 Pages - 03/11/2014 (Publication Date) - Ballantine Books (Publisher)

20. My Life in France by Julia Child

A black and white candid photograph of a middle-aged woman in a kitchen wearing a dress and apron

For twenty-somethings who dream of a life abroad, My Life in France is a true inspiration. Written with the help of her nephew, this book by the queen of the kitchen, Julia Child, documents her colorful life in France with her beloved Paul. It’s a story of love, discovering a passion, and a story of overcoming obstacles. It demonstrates that not everyone has a clear path to one’s career in their twenties and shows that sometimes, passion is illuminated gradually over time. Looking for more? Check out our guide with essays about confidence!

“Indeed, shopping for food in Paris was a life-changing experience for me.”

Julia Child, My Life in France
My Life in France
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Child, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 336 Pages - 04/04/2006 (Publication Date) - Anchor (Publisher)

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