I didn’t truly enjoy reading books until I was in my twenties. Any reading I did before that was just a requirement for school. But after graduating college, I turned to books for inspiration, and what I read had a profound impact on me and helped shape the way that I think and live my life today.

Here are the top books that I recommend reading in your 20s:

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

I adore this book. Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert, is an incredibly powerful read filled with inspiration for living your best life without fear. It’s about unleashing the power of living a creative life – not necessarily one filled with the arts, but rather a life filled with curiosity.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“If you’re supporting yourself financially and you’re not bothering anyone else, then you’re free to do whatever you want with your life.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“One of the oldest and most generous tricks that the universe plays on human beings is to bury strange jewels within us all, and then stand back to see if we can ever find them.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“Keep your eyes open. Listen. Follow your curiosity. Ideas are constantly trying to get our attention. Let them know you’re available.” -Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love

You may have seen the movie, but as in most cases, the book is better. If you’ve ever experienced the feeling of being lost in life, you will appreciate Elizabeth Gilbert’s story in Eat, Pray, Love. It’s about her journey to find happiness again, traveling through Italy, India and Indonesia, after her divorce.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“There is a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day, and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging: “Dear saint, please, please, please let me win the lottery.” Finally, the exasperated statue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says: “My son, please, please, please buy a ticket.”” -Elizabeth Gilbert

“Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing…” -Elizabeth Gilbert

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek

The 4-Hour Workweek, by Timothy Ferriss, is a great read for any entrepreneur, aspiring entrepreneur, or just anyone looking to maximize their time and productivity. In the book, Tim explains how to create an infrastructure to accomplish more work in less time, escape the 9-5, and even work abroad on your own terms.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” -Timothy Ferriss

“Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now!” -Timothy Ferriss

“A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.” -Timothy Ferriss

“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.” -Timothy Ferriss

The Automatic Millionaire, by David Bach

Books

The Automatic Millionaire was one of the first books I had ever read voluntarily, and it fueled my interest for personal finance. It’s filled with simple and solid financial advice for just about anybody. A lot of the information in the book is stuff that we already know, but can certainly use a reminder of. The basic idea of the book is that anyone can become a millionaire, regardless of the amount of money that they make. A few of the key strategies covered are: avoid unnecessary small expenses (“The latte Factor”) because they really do add up to staggering amounts over a lifetime; pay yourself first before the government takes its share; and always automate – automate into retirement accounts, savings, bill paying, and home ownership.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“In order to become an Automatic Millionaire, you’ve got to accept the idea that regardless of the size of your salary, you probably already earn enough money to become rich.” -David Bach

“The point is that whether you waste money on fancy coffee, bottled water (now that’s a funny one), cigarettes, soft drinks, candy bars, fast food, or whatever it happens to be – we all have a Latte Factor. We all throw away too much of our hard-earned money on unnecessary “little” expenditures without realizing how much they can add up to.” -David Bach

 

Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki

Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki is a personal finance best seller that discusses the principles of escaping the “rat race” and gaining financial independence. The best thing about this books is that it makes you think about money in ways you might not have thought about before. It explains the importance of understanding the difference between assets and liabilities, and between going to work for money, and having your money work for you.

Favorite quotes from the book:

“People who avoid failure also avoid success.” -Robert Kiyosaki

“The poor and the middle class work for money. The rich have money work for them.” -Robert Kiyosaki

“Most people fail to realize that in life, it’s not how much money you make, it’s how much money you keep.” -Robert Kiyosaki

“Great opportunities are not seen with your eyes. They are seen with your mind. Most people never get wealthy simply because they are not trained financially to recognize opportunities right in front of them.” -Robert Kiyosaki

 

*Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”