Self-Help Books Every 20-Something Should Read
get past that 20 slump
Photo by Ben Rayner
As someone who has spent most of her life led by a deep cloak of disinterest and general independence, it's safe to say that I have never been one to subscribe to any sort of self-help medium. But a few months ago, midway through my 22nd year on this planet, a friend handed me his go-to book, You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life, and told me to start reading it. It may have been a criticism at the way I decided to live my life, or just a way of sharing something that was important to him, but either way, it was well-intentioned and I figured I'd give it a shot. And so it became a staple on my morning commute. Filled with endless mantras and things that, quite frankly, seemed to be a bit mystical and much too spiritual for me, it took me a while to get into. But it did open my mind a little, and made me think more about my choices and the things that impacted my life and general mood. And so I continued on, consuming more works of the "self-help" genre, and found that by picking up one of these books every now and then helped me stay focused and remind me that it's okay to not be so damn disillusioned all the time.
If you sometimes feel like you could be a character on Girls, or one of those web series aimed at Millennials, or just feel like you could use a little bit of guidance as you move into full-on adulthood, click through the gallery. The smartest, funniest self-help books are waiting for you there.
Photo credit via Jen SinceroWith a tone that reads like it's more best friend than a preachy, unreachable expert, You Are a Badass is one of the few self-help books that's both funny and helpful. It may place a lot of emphasis on the spiritual, which can be distracting at times, but it all helps to feed into the book's main idea: You are in charge of your life, and it's up to you to adopt a positive mindset and make changes.
You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero, $16, available at McNally Jackson.
Photo via Gala Darling
Nowadays, with innumerable pressures to excel in every aspect of life, it's easy to recognize so-called "mistakes" more than achievements. In Radical Self Love, author Gala Darling shares her experience with depression, eating disorders, and what she calls "soul-sucking jobs," and how she learned to accept herself. What it amounts to are little anecdotes and tools that you can bring into your own everyday life.
Radical Self Love: A Guide to Loving Yourself and Living Your Dream by Gala Darling, $19.99, available at McNally Jackson.
Photo via Alexis Jones
At one point or another, everyone feels like they're not enough—not successful enough, not good-looking enough, not smart enough—and while those are very real feelings, quite frankly, they're all bullshit. They're the feelings holding you back from asserting yourself. In I Am That Girl, author Alexis Jones convinces the reader to be themselves, and not a person that conforms to others' expectations, and to work hard and be open to new experiences.
I Am That Girl: How to Speak Your Truth, Discover Your Purpose, and #bethatgirl by Alexis Jones, $15.95, available at Word Bookstore.
Photo via Amy PoehlerIf you ever feel like laughing, or just being straight-up inspired, Amy Poehler's memoir-of-sorts, Yes Please, should be your go-to read. In the book, Poehler outlines her life, fleshes it out with different experiences and lessons she's learned along the way, and helps remind us all that there's nothing wrong with being the weird, nice girl—in fact, it's actually the best type of girl to be.Yes Please by Amy Poehler, $20.29, available at Hudson Booksellers.
Photo via Melissa KirschIf you're someone that prefers strong, steady direction, Melissa Kirsch's The Girl's Guide should be your new bible-of-sorts. Filled with guides from everything to how to find an apartment to how to end a friendship, it's basically a starter pack for your 20s.The Girl's Guide: Getting the Hang of Your Whole Complicated, Unpredictable, Impossibly Amazing Life by Melissa Kirsch, $17.95, available at Hudson Booksellers
Photo via Monica HeiseyIf you're more of a Girls type of girl, or just one that doesn't subscribe to the whole "self-help" concept, I Can't Believe It's Not Better is your best bet. Instead of doling out advice and cliché quotes left and right, Heisey instead tells personal anecdotes and gives hilarious quizzes.I Cant Believe It's Not Better: A Woman's Guide to Coping with Life by Monica Heisey, $16.95, available at McNally Jackson.