12 Books Every 20-Something Needs to Read (and why)

Getting a secondary education can go a long way especially in licensed professions, such as lawyers, doctors, etc. Sometimes, self-study is an effective means of improving your knowledge, self-awareness, and developing the habits required to be successful.

The proliferation of information, both in the form of books and the internet, has made it possible for anyone to learn anything so long as they are willing to put in the effort.

Sometimes higher education is just a euphemism for spoon feeding information you can learn on your own time. Here are 12 books every 20 something needs to read and why they are so important.

  1. “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield – Any craft or art form requires consistent, disciplined action. Writer Steven Pressfield focuses in-depth on the different excuses (dubbed “resistance”) that our brains create in order to prevent us from achieving our desired goal.
  2. “Mindset” by Carol Dweck – According to scientist Carol Dweck, there are 2 types of mindsets. Either you have a “fixed” mindset where you believe things are unchanging and set in stone or you have a “growth” mindset where you believe everything is a lesson to improve and become greater.
  3. “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Shunryu Suzuki – If you haven’t heard, meditation is in right now. Mindfulness is an eastern practice that moved into the United States within the past few decades. This book helps beginners free themselves through an engaging meditation practice.
  4. “Tesla, SpaceX, And The Quest For a Fantastic Future” by Ashley Vance – Elon Musk is not only a serial entrepreneur and one of the most successful men in the world. He is also a role model for every 20-something who has limiting beliefs about what they can do in life. He has disrupted some of the most difficult industries and done so with incredible success.
  5. “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho – Following your true calling and purpose is the highest achievement anyone can hope for. The universe helps those who are on their true path, according to this fictional tale.
  6. “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher – We are told from a young age that we need external licenses, certificates, credentials, but James Altucher believes you just need to choose and invest in yourself. By doing so, you become self-reliant and responsible.
  7. “Mastery” by Robert Greene – It does not matter what you want to do in life, you will have success if you master your craft. Robert Greene’s book about mastery brings lessons from the world’s greatest in almost every industry. With history added to his style, it’s both an enjoying read and a profoundly powerful message.
  8. “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday – Everyone has challenges, pain, and emotional anguish. How we handle that pain is what separates us. In stoic philosophy, obstacles were not problem to cry about, but instead opportunities to exploit.
  9. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill – Written in the 1920s, Napoleon Hill believed that how you view the world and yourself changes how it manifests. If you do not think yourself worthy of something, you will not have it. However, when you can break through your own limiting beliefs, the money (or anything else) will start flowing. This is applicable for all aspects of life.
  10. “The Teachings of Don Juan” by Carlos Castaneda – This fictional work imparts life lessons learned through Native American tribes and wisdom. Passed down from generations, the natives often have a much better understanding of themselves and the world around them.

  11. “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle – Neither the past nor the future exist. No other creature has a concept of these things and indeed we can’t touch or feel either of them. We only have the present moment and being grateful for that can make your life far happier and more fulfilling. Eckhart Tolle explains how to engage in a practice of enjoying the “now” in everyday life.

  12. “Radical Honesty” by Brad Blanton – When we are honest with ourselves and with others, we more readily accept who we are. Despite any shortcomings, it’s possible to love and accept every aspect of ourselves even when society and media tell us we have done something “wrong”. Brad Blanton writes in great detail how to incorporate this into your life and how it might help you.