Grad school, marriage, home ownership: adulthood starts to get real in your mid-20s, and the onslaught of new responsibilities can feel overwhelming in a hurry. But as always, books are there to make your journey a little easier. There are plenty books to read before you turn 25 that act as a study guide for adulthood, so you can walk into a networking event, house signing, or wedding chapel with absolute confidence.
Some of these reads will help you learn more about career advancement techniques or practical approaches to personal finance. Others will help you master basic life skills such as cooking or etiquette. And still others will help you just have a laugh about the many stresses and absurdities of adulthood. I mean, we're all just pretending to be grown-ups, right?
So whether you’re preparing to start a family, buy a home, or even adopt a puppy, these books can equip you to go out and adult with the best of them. By rounding out your education with practical advice, you can be super prepared for almost anything life throws at you. After all, there’s a tremendous amount of confidence that comes from being able to act like a card-carrying grown up, even if sometimes you still feel like a kid.
1To Get Your Career On Track
The mid-20s are a great time to make huge career advancements, and Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will To Lead encourages women to pursue challenges and succeed at work. Backed by personal anecdotes as well as data, Sandberg provides practical advice for women who want to achieve both professional and personal success.
2To Find A Job You Love
If you're ready to take your career in a new direction but aren't sure where to go, Nicholas Lore's The Pathfinder can help you find an occupation tailored to your skills and interests. By using informative diagnostic tests, you can find work that will help you thrive.
3To Network Like A Boss
If the thought of chatting up strangers makes you a bit nervous, then Networking Is Not Working by Derek Coburn can help you work the room with the best of them. By offering concrete advice on effective ways to connect with others, this book can help you create a helpful network in no time.
4To Get Technical (Skills)
Almost any professional can benefit from basic HTML skills. If nothing else, it looks great on a resume. Jon Duckett 's HTML and CSS is a gorgeously designed book that can get you up and programming in no time.
5To Take Next-Level Pics
Your photographs on social media are, for better or worse, a sort of marketing tool for your own brand. It makes sense to learn a little bit about photography and move beyond the blurred bathroom selfie. Chris Gatcum's The Beginner's Photography Guide can help you get the basics down to create stunning portraits and other photographs.
6To Take Control Of Your Finances
Dave Ramsey is a financial guru with a huge following of devoted fans, and his advice in The Total Money Makeover is as sound as ever. This book offers a no-nonsense plan for paying off all debt, saving well, and avoiding financial pitfalls.
7To Round Out Your Education
Get the real story of American History with James W. Loewen's Lies My Teacher Told Me. Although most history courses are sanitized, this book gets at the heart of the reality behind everything from Columbus's voyages to 9/11.
8To Find Your Next Adventure
Nerd extraordinaire Steve Kamb encourages everyone to live like a superhero with Level Up Your Life. He explains how to travel cheaply, create an Epic Quest List, and even train yourself to be ready for any adventure.
9To Practice Mindfulness
Keeping a clear head in an age of constant distraction can feel like a full-time job, but Mark Williams and Danny Penman's Mindfulness can help do just that. The book offers Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy techniques to help you maintain a calm focus.
10To Make Impressive Meals
If you're relying on the same rotation of recipes every week, then Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything The Basics is a handy resource for cooking almost any dish. This guide will have you whipping up everything from fresh baked brownies to Ratatouille in no time.
11To Seriously Consider Marriage
If you and your significant other are ready to tie the knot, then Susan Piver's The Hard Questions is a fantastic way to make sure you're both on the same page about major life decisions. By talking through everything from the possibility of children to the the best way to handle money, you can learn even more about you and your partner's compatibility.
12To Wisely Plan For A Wedding
Are you feeling overwhelmed by the wedding industrial complex? Meg Keene's A Practical Wedding can help you cut through the clutter and arrange a ceremony that works for you. Covering everything from DIY options to budgetary sanity, this guide is a common-sense resource.
13To Go House Hunting
Home ownership is a major milestone, and Nolo's Essential Guide to Buying Your First Home will help you decide when to buy a home, how to close the deal, and what constitutes a realistic budget. With a wealth of information from three experts this guide can help you keep a budget and stay sane through the home buying process.
14To Become A Dog Owner
When you're ready for a four-legged family member of your own, Ian Dunbar's Before and After Getting Your Puppy is a fantastic resource for making your transition to dog owner a smooth one. With the insight from a longtime dog trainer, you can make your dog the best-behaved canine on the block.
15To Get Ready For Kids
Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy can help you learn about everything from preconception health advice to weekly updates on fetal growth. It will help you know what's normal, what might be trouble, and how to best prepare your body for a baby.
16To Give Back
Arthur I. Blaustein's Make a Difference can help you sort through the many types of organizations that need your help. Whether you'd like to tutor a child or promote a cause, this book can provide relevant information about the worthwhile organizations that would benefit most from your skills.
17To Mind Your Manners
Everyday Etiquette by Patricia Rossi will help guide you through everything from play dates to social media invitations. It's a handy resource to help you treat others kindly in both personal and professional situations.
18To Get Handy
A little DIY knowledge can save a lot of money when it comes to home ownership. 100 Things Every Homeowner Must Know will help you maintain your home's value, avoid mistakes, and even make it less attractive to potential burglars.
19To Get Dressed
When it's time to put on your big girl pants, Alison Freer's How to Get Dressed is there to help. She gets to the point by providing a clear and entertaining guide to a tailored, practical style. This inclusive book will work for any body type, and even includes tips on fixing just about any wardrobe annoyance, like those migrating bra straps.
20To Drink Well
Madeline Puckette and Justin Hammack's Wine Folly is a fun book of infographics designed to teach you how to pair wine with food, understand the different regions that create wine, and taste a glass to identify its flavors. You'll know a Zinfadel from a Riesling in no time.
21To Keep Reading
If you'd like to maintain a great reading list but need some suggestions, Nancy Pearl's Book Lust will get you on the right path. With categories like "Historical Fiction for Kids of All Ages" and "Too Good to Miss," Pearl provides enough recommendations to keep your Kindle full for years to come.
22To Refresh Your Education
If you didn't specialize in a STEM field, all that information about mitosis and moles you learned in high school might begin to fade. To refresh your understanding of the world, Natalie Angier's The Canon covers the essentials of chemistry, biology, astronomy, and more in entertaining, fun prose.
23To Rethink Normal
Jenny Lawson's Furiously Happy covers the author's longtime struggle with depression and anxiety in a hilarious way that is easy to relate to. Her outlandish stories help normalize the idea of "crazy."
24To Feel Better About Yourself
Michael Farquhar's Bad Days In History covers mistakes that were so bad, they became the stuff of legend. After reading about the Great Molasses Flood of 1919 or the potential early Apple investor who missed out on billions earnings, you'll feel much better about literally everything in your own life.