12 Of The Best Books To Read In Your 20s

This post features some books to read in your 20s. Those on the list cover areas of life such as finances, relationships, business, and personal development. If you need to bookmark a post and come back to pick a book for the depth of wisdom, it’s this post.

12 Good Books To Read In Your 20s

#1. How To Get Rich — Dennis Felix

How To Get Rich is the kind of book you read when you are about to give up the grind to a better life. Want to rejuvenate this dream of building wealth? It’s one of the honest books out there about the concept of wealth. It doesn’t promise you that it will make you rich. It only explains what it requires, and it does it as honestly as possible. So, if you need recommendations of books to read in your 20s that are useful about the topic of wealth, then this is it.

The most important lesson:

According to the author, wealth is not a thing you attract or manifest or things like that. You must feel compelled to go for it with all (legal) means necessary. Don’t expect to seek wealth and at the same time have the time and leisure to be a good parent or the friends that are there for others. Seeking wealth often consumes those who are really interested. There are no two ways about it, but the good thing is, that wealth can change or make your and that of everyone around you beautiful.

Favorite Quote: 

“To become rich you must be an owner. And you must try to own it all. You must strive with every fibre of your being, while recognising the idiocy of your behaviour, to own and retain control of as near to 100 per cent of any company as you can. If that is not possible, in a public company, for example, then you must be prepared to make yourself hated by those around you who are also trying to be rich. That is the dirty, rotten little secret of it all, my friend.”

How To Get Rich, Felix Dennis

#2. The Millionaire Next Door

This book opens up with ideas about how the average millionaire thinks and does things. What differentiates the rich from the average income earners are their little actions and what they do with their earnings. In your 20s, you will start new careers and probably work at your first job. You need to know how to handle money. So, I add this one to the best books to read in your 20s because you shouldn’t learn important money lessons too late. 

The most important lesson:

The media and business owners are misrepresenting how the wealthy live their lives. Wealthy people only partially fill their houses with items, clothes, designers, or cars. They buy what’s necessary, take actions that make them richer, and then only spend a small percentage on fancy items (and this is in relation to how rich they are). 

Favorite Quote: 

“Many people who live in expensive homes and drive luxury cars do not actually have much wealth. Then, we discovered something even odder: Many people who have a great deal of wealth do not even live in upscale neighborhoods.”

#3. E-myth Revisited 

You can skip this if you don’t run your own business, which means you are a “technician” or a “manager” in another person’s business, not the third guy, “entrepreneur.” The author explains the three kinds of mindset that sustain every successful business. Although all three are needed, only the “entrepreneurs” know how to move things to a bigger, grander scale.

The most important lesson:

To succeed in business, you must be clear about the future you want to build. You think of that massive success or goal as your target, then build a system that will get you there. Not only by working hard or being crafty — these are great, too, but the most important thing is serving your customers WHAT THEY WANT, WHAT YOUR BUSINESS PROMISE. CONSISTENTLY.

Favorite Quote:

“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business—you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic!”

#4. How To Win Friends and Influence People 

One of the best books to read in your 20s if you want to go about relationships with other people in a non-manipulative manner. It takes a kinder approach to what to do if you want to get people to do what you want. Does it always work that way? Well, no. But it is important to understand these principles. It works more often than not.  

The most important lesson:

When you want people to notice you or do what you want, the wrong approach is to tell them about yourself or try to make yourself interesting to them. The best way is to be interested in them and what makes them the person they are.

Favorite Quotes:

If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.

#5. The Game — Neil Strauss 

This book is a bit controversial. Should you see dating and meeting women as a conquest? The answer is no, but it is important to know that the dating world is filled with people who have bad intentions. 

Guess how to recognize these types of people. 

Yeah, by reading from one of those who have done it. Neil Strauss. 

The most important lesson:

Confidence is the most important lesson you can have as a man who wants to date. Your potential date can smell your confidence from a distance; lack of it will ruin things for you before you say a word. 

Getting someone interested is about knowing when to show you want them and letting them be.

Favorite Quote:

“Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything, whether it’s a relationship, a business or a hobby.”

The Game, Neil Strauss

#6. Never Split The Difference 

Learn the fundamentals of negotiating like a pro. Think about it: how great would it be if you could ask for what you want and get? This book is written by an ex-FBI negotiator. You’ll understand what goes on in serious negotiations and how to win some.

The most important lesson:

The key thing about negotiations is that people are not irrational. They are motivated by cognitive biases (psychology), which is another way of saying that by looking at the situations around an event and the background of the negotiator, their actions can be predicted to a great extent.

Favorite Quote:

“Persuasion is not about how bright or smooth or forceful you are. It’s about the other party convincing themselves that the solution you want is their own idea. So don’t beat them with logic or brute force. Ask them questions that open paths to your goals. It’s not about you.”

Never Split The Difference

#7. The Slight Edge 

I read the Slight Edge some years ago, and it’s still my favorite to go through early in the year. It simplifies what it takes to succeed in life. They are not that hard. You just create a very simple one and work at it every day for the rest of your life. Yes, you will need to change it regularly, making it a little more difficult than it was before. 

The most important lesson:

Life is a bunch of things you commit to do every day. Sometimes, like a car, you veer off-road but steer it back and keep going. Soon, you will land at your destination. 

(I feel like I didn’t do justice to the book from this description.)

Favorite Quote:

“The truth is, what you do matters. What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in.”

The Slight Edge

#8. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People 

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in my opinion, is one of the best self-improvement books of all time. It explains “the paradigm” behind getting what you want from life and people. Imagine your burial, the author wrote. What do you want people to say about you? 

The most important lesson:

You don’t want success as much as you desire fulfillment. These are not the same thing. What will fulfill you is not the same as success. So, Steve Covey works you through paradigms (the mindset) you need to succeed and 7 habits you should commit to. You can find a very detailed summary on Hubspot Blog.

Favorite Quote:

“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

#9. Man’s Search For Meaning 

This book answers the question, what is the meaning of life? Victor Frankl spent quite some time in a concentration camp, surviving some of the hardest hardships as a prisoner cum laborer. Yet, he still found meaning in his life and tried to teach us in his book. 

The most important lesson: 

The meaning of life is not something that appears out of the sky. It’s the reason you are here in the first place — to find your own meaning like everyone else. And you don’t have to look far to find it. There is meaning in that situation. Look closely. 

Favorite Quote: 

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

Man’s Search For Meaning, Victor Frankl.

#10. The Defining Decade — Meg Jay

There are only a few books whose subject is about being twenty-something. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, writes about development in the brain in your twenties and how to maximize all of its and your potential.

The most important lesson:

Your twenties are the most important part of your life. Many people will start a career that will last their lifetime and meet the partner they will marry. Or more, they set habits or do things that will have a remarkable impact on their entire life. The author narrates specific details of her experience working with twenty-somethings and gives insights on what works in those situations. Then, she makes an overall case of steps or how to look at life in your twenties.

Favorite Quote:

“Forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. … Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next.”

The Defining Decade, Meg Jay

#11. Predictably Irrational 

Learn some of the common, predictable human psychology. For instance, going to a bar with a less attractive friend will make you look more attractive. Why? Well, it’s because humans compare things to the closest thing they can find around them. 

The most important Lesson:

Humans are quite predictable a lot of the time. Our reactions stem from a long time; most times, they are shaped by our environment.

Favorite Quote:

“Ownership is not limited to material things. It can also apply to points of view. Once we take ownership of an idea — whether it’s about politics or sports — what do we do? We love it perhaps more than we should. We prize it more than it is worth. And most frequently, we have trouble letting go of it because we can’t stand the idea of its loss. What are we left with then? An ideology — rigid and unyielding.”

Predicatbly Irrational

#12. The Alchemist — Paulo Coelho

You may wonder why a fiction book makes it to the list of best books to read in your 20s. The Alchemist is one of the most famous books of all time. It is the story of a boy called Santiago and how he follows his dream. It answers one of the life questions you will struggle with in your twenties: what should I do with my life? 

The answer can be found in this other quote: you will never know unless you pursue your biggest dream. 

The most important lesson: 

Follow your dreams. Even if you don’t get what you aim for, you will have the peace of mind that comes with finding your own answers in a world where a lot is dictated to us since the day we were born. 

Favorite Quote 

“After all, what he (Santiago) had always wanted was just that: to know new places. Even if he never got to the Pyramids, he had already traveled farther than any shepherd he knew. Oh, if they only knew how different things are just two hours by ship from where they are, he thought.”

The Alchemist

What are the good books to read in your 20s? 

This list is just a recommendation based on what I have read and find insightful. You will see more books out there that attend to more important topics. So, please check the ones on his list, and don’t forget. There are lots of great books, both self-help and fiction books. You just have to choose based on what your interest at the time, not only because someone said you should read it.

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