Best Books to Read For Ages 20 – 40 | Iris Reading

Best Books to Read For Ages 20 – 40

Ah! A new decade is upon you, probably one of the best to enjoy. You graduate from college, are old enough to buy alcohol, and start a new chapter with a job and kids. Here are the books we felt that are age-appropriate for those living it up in their 20’s and 30’s.

Age 20

101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties: (And Let’s Be Honest, Your Thirties Too) by Paul Angone

Get the book that will stimulate your brain of questions you never thought to ask. Blogger and author Paul Angone has put together a book full of questions to ponder as you enter a new decade in life. Questions include: 

What’s the best way to know if you’re actually ready to get married?

Where’s the future of work headed and what does having a successful career look like today?

How do I make a choice when I don’t know what to choose? 

Age 21

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

For any college grad (or any professional for that matter), this book is a must-read. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is one of the most influential and recommended books of our time. The wisdom Covey shares in his book are something for the ages and will always be relevant.



Age 22

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Another book to read in your early twenties is How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie discusses ways to make people like you, to convince people your way of thinking, and how to change people without cause and argument. The advice Carnegie shares work for both the workforce and with friends, as you all begin a new era in life.



Age 23

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

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, you should pick up a copy of Cain’s novel. Quiet explains more about personalities and why introverts shouldn’t be forced to become extroverts. People are who they are, and knowing more about what goes on in their brains is helpful in your day-to-day interaction with others.



Age 24

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville, Harvey C. Mansfield

Politics become more relevant in your 20’s. Now that you have a full-time job, start a 401k, and deal with healthcare on your own, you’ll want to pay more attention to these types of debates in congress. To this day, Democracy in America is the best book written about democracy and is one of the most quoted books about the US.



Age 25

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Sometimes the degree or career you thought would be the right fit isn’t. Lawyers become writers, bartenders become nurses, and those in sales apply to med school. The Alchemist is a modern classic about self-discovery and following your gut for what you feel is right.



Age 26

Weeknight Cooking for Two: 100 Five-Ingredient Super Simple Suppers by Kenzie Swanhart

Finding recipes on the web that don’t yield leftovers for weeks can be tough. Try Weeknight Cooking for Two instead. The recipes are quick and easy, and you won’t be stuck eating the same thing or having to waste food.



Age 27

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

A love story that tells the tale of when two people meet that have nothing in common with one another. It begs the question, what do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?



Age 28

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Need someone to look up to? Try reading Isaacson’s biography, Steve Jobs. Jobs is an inspiration for those who want to change the world or create a company from scratch. That idea of yours could be the next big thing.



Age 29

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

A coming-of-age tale that is perfect for your last year in your 20’s! Resse Witherspoon, the New York Times, and readers all agree that this is one book you’ll have a hard time putting down.



Age 30

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown

So you’ve been at the same 9 – 5 job for some time now and you feel like it is about time you gain more responsibilities. Brene Brown will teach you how to grab the attention of the higher-ups so that you can get the promotion you deserve.



Age 31

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

A book you probably read in high school, but it is also great to reread it again as an adult. Set in the Great Depression, Steinbeck shows the hardships and how to stay strong when life gets tough.



Age 32

The Nightengale by Kristin Hannah

In the midst of WWII in France, is one rebellious 18-year-old is out to make a difference. The Nightengale celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. It’s a great pick-me-up and makes you even more enthusiastic about the career you’ve decided on.



Age 33

The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing by Benjamin Graham

Get advice about investing from some of the most well-versed in the field. Graham guides readers on how to reach your financial goals, something that you should be thinking about this time in your life so that when it comes time to retire, you have the money to do so. 



Age 34

Twain’s Feast Nick Offerman

Hosting a dinner party anytime soon? Read comedian’s Nick Offerman’s audiobook, Twain’s Feast to clam your nerves. Mark Twain was a foodie and had some interesting favorite foods. You might not want to serve these eight different dishes…



Age 35

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

If you decided to have kids, then you’ll want to pick up this so-called “parenting bible.” Faber and Mazlish offer advice on having tough conversations with kids. They teach you how to do so in a calm manner to avoid screaming arguments and slamming doors.



Age 36

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

The author of the best-selling book and hit movie The Devil Wears Prada Lauren Weisberger takes you through Emily Charlton’s life in the suburbs. She isn’t used to the whole cookie-cutter homes and picture-perfect families. As an outsider, she has to use her wit to win the hearts of her neighbors. Hillarious and fun for those who can relate. 



Age 37

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

When a daughter comes to take the place in the group of friends her mother met with for years, she gets to hear stories that she never heard as a child. The Joy Luck Club will make you wonder what stories family and friends never told you. 



Age 38

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan

By 38, you’ve probably either tried or heard about diets of all sorts. Keto, gluten-free, Paleo, and the list goes on. Pollan’s book is about diet but is different than all the article’s you read on the web. Pollan says it plain and simple, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” His argument will have you eating a diet without feeling guilty.



Age 39

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

The last year in your 30’s can hit you like a ton of bricks. The Last Lecture is one that will give you a new perspective on life. He discusses the importance of achieving your childhood dreams, overcoming obstacles and seizing the moment. Best to read this in January and plan out your year to achieving your goals you’d like to before you turn 40.



Age 40

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: A Memoir of Life in Death by Jean-Dominique Bauby

Bauby was living a successful and wholesome life. At age 44, he suffered a rare stroke that left him in a coma for 20 days. He lost almost all function of his body yet was still able to compose the story of his life.  Despite the heartbreaking situation for both Bauby and his family, it is still an amazing read.
What do you think? What books did you enjoy at these ages? Let us know in the comments!

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