12 Books Everyone Should Read in Their early 20s

12 books everyone should read in their twenties.  Book list for millennials. Reading lists in your twenties can be hard to find. Check out these books. Literature. Book Nerd. Book worm.


Reading books is a great way to become a lifelong learner who soaks up knowledge for future use. A good book can bring positive, lasting changes to one’s life, I would know. I bought “The Defining Decade” by Dr. Meg Jay after seeing rave reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, USA Today, and The New York Times. Let me say, this purchase was totally worth it and I made a promise to myself: I would live every day of my life with purpose from that day forward.

Books have shaped my twenties and I wanted to share with you some of my favorites:

1. The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter–And How to Make the Most of Them Now by Dr. Meg Jay

You may have caught Meg Jay’s Ted Talk? If you haven’t, go watch now! You’re twenties matter, and contrary to popular belief, they are NOT the new 30.

2. 101 Secrets For Your Twenties by Paul Agone

A humorous and insightful take on navigating your twenties and the quarter life crisis.

3. The Better World Handbook: Small Changes That Make A Big Difference by Ellis Jones 

Most of us want to make a positive impact on the world, but have no idea where to start. Jones’ book shows how we can make small effective changes to make a difference in life.

4. Getting from College to Career: Your Essential Guide to Succeeding in the Real World by Lindsey Pollak

As a recent graduate myself, I often wonder how to get the job without experience and how to get the experience without the job? Pollak shares a step-by-step guide for transitioning from college to a career and why professionalism matters.

5. Life After College: The Complete Guide to Getting What You Want by Jenny Blake

Blake gives you the steps and inspires you to take action. We only live one life, so dream big!

6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Introverts have and will always shape the world we live in.

7. The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr

“Is Google making us stupid?” Carr challenges our reliance on technology and the potential damage it’s having on our brains and lives.

8. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

A captivating and invigorating book on the intricacies of the brain and why we do certain things.

9. Top Secret America: The Rise of the New American Security State by Dana Priest

After 9/11 new security measures were put in place, Priest and Arkin explore this hidden “fourth branch” of the government.

10. The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert

Humans have forever shaped Earth. Kolbert explores the major extinctions and the impacts they’ve had on our planet.

11. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein

A riveting and informative account on climate change and how our impact on Earth will continue.

12. Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer

Memory can be shaped for better. Foer shares about his yearlong quest to improve his memory under the tutelage of “mental athletes”.

            Books are depositories where human thoughts and knowledge are stored for later generations to muse about. In our technology-driven society, it’s important to remember, reading is still important for our growth and stress relief. I hope that as a fellow Millennial you make it your goal to read a book each day for 20 minutes because the knowledge gained from reading will be yours forever.

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  • Wow, I had never heard of most of these books before– and I’m in my twenties so, yikes! I need to change that! I have read Quiet though and it changed my world. As an introvert, it truly showed me how to use my introvertedness as a strength!

  • I’m pretty introverted so I need to pick up Quiet! There’s so many people who see it as a bad thing, it’s not!

  • I love this post! I’ve been looking for books to read in this genre – I’m trying to step away a little bit from the fiction that is so near and dear to my heart. Thanks for sharing these reads – I’m definitely going to start “Getting from College to Career” over spring break!
    – katrina // Yours Truly, Katrina

  • That’s such a great list you have there. It covers all the types of genres. Personally, I love reading humorous books when it comes to non-fiction (like Mindy Kaling). I loved Quiet! And I’m going to go check that TED talk right away! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • I haven’t read any of these and I’ve only got about 1 year left in my 20’s! haha. Some of these sound pretty interesting, I’ll have to check them out.

  • Megan

    Ooh these books look great. I’m adding them to my must-read list. I need all the help I can get!

  • sofieyah l
  • These are great books that will help the person for the future.

  • I need to read a lot of these! They all sound awesome.

  • Elly Leavitt

    I’ve actually heard of the Shallows, sounds super interesting! one of my goals I just set for myself is to start getting back to reading, I totally abandoned it whilst in uni because of all the other mandatory/not fun reading I had to do for class haha but I want to get back into it! thanks for the recs hun x

  • I haven’t heard of any of these but I’m intrigued!

  • Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman sounds super interesting. I feel like my husband might like that book as well. We’ll have to check it out for sure! 🙂
    Katie | Millennial on the Move

  • Anna Hubbard

    Bookmarked this post! I adore reading and learning!
    -Anna | http://www.fivefootandfabulous.com

  • These all sound like great books and ones that many millennials should read!

  • Greta Hollar

    I’m putting a bunch of these on my reading list! Love new book recommendations.

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • I’ve been meaning to read Quiet forever!! I’ll have to do it sooner than later.

  • Casey

    Great suggestions! I definitely plan on checking some of these out!

  • Ashley Mason

    What a great roundup! Adding these to my list!

  • Whitney H

    I have such a long “to be read” list but definitely adding some of these! Great round up 🙂

  • I haven’t read any of these, but I love that your guest-poster is so interested in learning and gaining new perspectives.

  • Miss ALK

    Oooh these all sound interesting! I’m always looking for fun new reads!

    xoxo A

  • Sarah Jean

    I’m in my early 30s but there are still many books here I want to read – like “Quiet” It’s been on my list since it first came out!

  • mckenna bleu

    I have heard of some of these and great things going along with them! This is a great list!

  • Chrissa – Physical Kitchness

    There are some awesome recommendation here – even for a girl in her early 30’s!

  • I heard about the book Quiet from a TED talk and have always been a little interested in reading it since I’m an introvert myself!

  • I’ll have to keep an eye out for a few of these, I’ve actually never read any of them!

  • Babies to Bookworms

    These sound great. I will have to check some of these out!

  • Great list – will have to look into a few!

    | diaryofasouthernmillennial.com

  • stephanieabills

    Love this list! Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain is one of my favorite books!

  • Kelsie Kleinmeyer

    Oh I love these so much!! I’m always looking for new non-fiction to read and recommend. Thanks for sharing!

  • wow I better get reading because I haven’t even heard of any of these!!! They sounds super neat though.

  • Sydney Power

    I love reading and would love to crack few of these open

  • Omg adding these to my TBR list!

    Alix | http://www.apintsizedlifeblog.com

  • I haven’t read ANY of these before…adding all to the list!

    Coming Up Roses

  • Macarena Ferreira

    Ouuu I haven’t read any of these! Adding them to my list. 🙂 I love new books.

    xo // http://www.thematerialgirl.co

  • Adriana

    I need to read these!! Going to order some as we speak! 😉

  • Ashley Vickney

    For as much as I love reading these kinds of books, I haven’t read these at all!

    Adding them to my list for the year!

  • omg I’m in my mid-twenties and haven’t read any of these! I need to step my game up!

  • Uh-oh, I’m out of my twenties now but should still read a few of these. The introverts one sounds super interesting!

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