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10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

Learn about sleeping, breathing, and life’s meaning

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

Your 20s are a time of great learning and growth.

Fresh out of childhood, you start to explore the world autonomously. You question your previous beliefs and predispositions. You also form new ones.

It’s just like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.

Your 20s are the best time to learn what you can. And for that purpose, we have 10 books that you should read before you are 30.

Let’s go!

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

A hike to heal.

Cheryl Strayed’s life fell apart after her mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away at 45 years old.

What followed was a complete unraveling of her life. She cheated on her husband and became a heroin addict.

“I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed.”

To pick up the pieces of her life as her divorce is finalized, the author decided to undertake a long hike. The hike spanned 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.

She bought a giant backpack, filled it up with essentials, and started her trip. Despite having injured feet and facing quite a few setbacks, she doesn’t stop from her goal.

This book details her journey and the reflections she had along the way.

“The experience was powerful and fundamental.”

As the author hikes, she shares with us the scenery and the people she encountered.

As a result of her hike, Cheryl is able to accept the passing of her mom. She also finds herself and is able to forgive herself for her mistakes.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

Befriending the unconscious mind.

This book explores self-sabotage and how to overcome it.

The author looks at the role of the subconscious in our decisions. She tells us to find our core commitment. Something that you desire for every action you do.

“The way you are self-sabotaging: Mindlessly scrolling through social media as a way to pass the time.”

Wiest recommends writing down our feelings and then figuring out what goes wrong when we end up self-sabotaging.

The author also explores emotional triggers and psychological pitfalls that can mislead us.

The reader is encouraged to let go of past traumas and to build the future with integrity and character.

“It’s not whether you “feel” like putting in the work, but whether or not you do it regardless.”

The lesson of this book is to look for ‘inner peace’. It matters more than happiness.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

A look back in life.

This book is a dark fantasy novel.

In this story, a man travels back to his hometown to attend a funeral. While there, he starts to think back to his childhood.

“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things…”

The protagonist remembers his parents, sister, and a girl named Lettie. Lettie lived on a farm that had a pond. She considered that pond an ocean.

The man also remembers his love of books and how he used them to escape people.

“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”

The story takes many twists and turns. There are wormholes, witches, and dark entities.

“Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”

This is a tale of loss, love, longing, and sacrifice.

Just as the books provided the young boy an escape, this novel will allow you to escape into an alternate reality.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

Surviving suffering.

No one wants to suffer.

But life doesn’t always allow us to choose. When in dark pits of despair, we start to lose hope.

“Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements.”

The writer of this book had all the reason to stop hoping. But he didn’t.

He lost his family and his wife in the Holocaust. He, himself, was taken to various concentration camps. His manuscript was taken away from him.

In that suffering, he was able to survive through ‘meaning’.

“The pessimist resembles a man who observes with fear and sadness that his wall calendar, from which he daily tears a sheet, grows thinner with each passing day.”

Finding meaning in life is something he wants all the readers to do.

Frankl suggests that meaning comes from either working for a cause, loving someone, or suffering.

This book is a profound one. It will make you reflect deeply on your life.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

A quest for enlightenment.

In this novel, the writer tells us the story of two friends in India who set out to find enlightenment.

Siddartha is from a Brahmin background. He and his friend Govinda join the Samans who reject worldly pleasures.

Then they go and join Buddha.

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”

Siddartha isn’t satisfied by what Buddha teaches and sets out once again. This time he intends to find his enlightenment free from spiritual and religious constraints.

After becoming a successful businessman and realizing that wealth doesn’t satisfy him, Siddartha returns. He joins a ferryman who has achieved enlightenment.

Through the mentoring of the ferryman, he learns spiritual lessons from the river.

“Within you, there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at anytime and be yourself.”

Siddartha’s quest reminds me of my own.

Like Siddhartha, I have looked for answers in many places. I have realized that no one has all the answers.

This is a very interesting story that will revive your inner spirituality.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

We all have a choice.

Life throws us curveballs.

But our response is in our hands.

“Each moment is a choice.”

Through her own experience as a Nazi prisoner, Eger shows us the true meaning of resilience.

She reframes our view of crisis situations. The author reflects that paradoxically, these incidents that ruin people are also growth experiences. They make people reassess their lives and take them closer to their goals and values.

“It is too easy to make a prison out of our pain, out of the past.”

Eger calls revenge useless. She says that it perpetuates the cycle of hate.

Instead, she motivates us to forgive. To forgive means to accept the past as it is.

However, this doesn’t mean taking the responsibility away from the perpetrators, she says.

This book will blow your mind. As you acquaint yourself with a young girl who survived hell, you’ll be motivated to power through whatever comes your way.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

Life advice from a psychologist.

Jordan Peterson is a Canadian clinical psychologist.

Often dragged online for his views, he sticks by his words. You don’t have to agree with him on everything to appreciate his knowledge of psychology.

“It took untold generations to get you where you are. A little gratitude might be in order.”

This book gives life advice through science, anecdotes, and religion.

The first lesson of the book might seem insignificant. But once you read through what Peterson has to say, you’ll understand the importance of it.

The first rule is: ‘Stand up straight with your shoulders back.’

“…attend carefully to your posture. Quit drooping and hunching around.”

He tells us about the hierarchies that exist in lobsters. And how the winning and losing lobsters behave.

Peterson wants us to lead by example of winning lobsters. He tells us to have a confident posture.

Just like his famous ’clean your room’ advice, this one is simple enough to apply in our daily lives.

Through examples and various discussions, Peterson revives in us, a longing to become better.

Even if you have qualms about certain rules, they will go away. As I said, once you read through the explanation, you can’t disagree.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

The journey to greatness.

The author defied the odds.

And here is how.

He grew up in poverty. He faced trauma, racism, and bullying.

Where is he now? You’ll be surprised to know that the author is now a world-renowned endurance athlete and a motivational speaker.

“Your entitled mind is dead weight.”

Goggins tells us not to consider ourselves deserving of whatever we want. He tells us to focus on what we are willing to put in effort for.

He also shares his resolve to become a SEAL. Goggins was overweight. He lost the access weight, trained hard, and ended up getting in.

Through his story, Goggins gives us an important gift.

The gift of inspiration.

“We’re either getting better or we’re getting worse.”

This quote reminds me of ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear. We have to continue getting better to achieve what we want.

Let’s get hustling!

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

From roadblock to stepping stone.

For every mistake made, you have figured out one path that you shouldn’t take.

Even obstacles and roadblocks help us build to the final goal.

“There is always a countermove, always an escape or a way through, so there is no reason to get worked up.”

Holiday uses the concepts of stoicism to elaborate on how we must respond to obstacles.

To get his point across, he gives examples of many known people from history. For example, Theodore Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Ulysses S. Grant, and Barack Obama.

“All we need to do is those three little duties — to try hard, to be honest, and to help others and ourselves. That’s all that’s been asked of us.”

The author doesn’t want us to just overcome setbacks. He wants us to make them a stepping stone in our path ahead.

This book will provide you with a new view of hardships.

10 Books to Read Before the End of Your 20s

What is the key to a meaningful life?

This book was published in 1997. It gained popularity after Oprah Winfrey endorsed it in 2001.

Drawing on his background, the author brings us lessons from the ancient civilization of Toltec.

He tells us that each person has agreements for his life. The behavior of everyone is based on those agreements.

“Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness, and drama.”

Ruiz gives us 4 agreements that are meant to help us live a meaningful life.

  1. Be Impeccable With Your Word

  2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

  3. Don’t Make Assumptions

  4. Always Do Your Best.

It seems like the author is talking about the actions of an individual in the first and the last agreement. In the second and the third, he is telling us how to observe and react to the world around us.

“Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them.”

I’ll say this. What the author calls agreements seems the same as values.


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If you enjoyed these book recommendations, check out the rest of my book lists on my blog-

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