Setting Up for Success
Daily Rituals: Women at Work
Readers who find themselves marveling at how artists, scientists, and other successful people actually do what they do will discover the answers in Daily Rituals. Mason Currey examines the choices that brilliant women made on the path to their accomplishments, featuring Marie Curie, Zadie Smith, Frida Kahlo, Virginia Woolf, and so many more!
No Hard Feelings
Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy
Personal development heavy hitters like Malcolm Gladwell and Daniel Pink chose No Hard Feelings as a selection for their Next Big Idea Club, which should tell you how awesome it is. A practical guide to managing those pesky emotions in professional settings, the book is written by organizational consultants who really know their stuff when it comes to workplace behavior. Read it for all the guidelines you need on how to feel your feels (or not) at the office.
Emily Nagoski, PhD and Amelia Nagoski, DMA
We throw around the phrase “burned out” like confetti, but burnout is a real thing. Emily and Amelia Nagoski prove in this book that it affects women differently than it does men. In Burnout, you’ll feel seen and understood in your own state of exhaustion. Better yet, you’ll learn practical tips for battling the forces that are burning you out.
Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur
Office besties are more than meme fodder, and the aptly named Work Wife offers all the evidence you need to celebrate yours every day of the (work)week. This book is packed with firsthand accounts of the power of work wives through the origin stories of successful businesses and brands, including Food52, the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, and the winning American volleyball partnership of Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings.
Thinking in Bets
Life is essentially just a series of choices, and those choices aren’t always informed. A former poker champ turned business consultant, Annie Duke puts her personal experiences of playing the odds to good use in Thinking in Bets. Through real-world examples in sports, business, and more, readers will learn that uncertainty doesn’t have to be scary. You’ll also get practical advice about making tough decisions, even when you’re not sure you have all the info.
The Making of a Manager
You’ve finally earned that promotion you’ve been working toward. There are people reporting to you! You have decision-making power! Congrats! But also—do you have any idea what you’re doing? The Making of a Manager will help readers learn to be great managers with practical, actionable advice on what to do when you’re not connecting with an employee, don’t have the information that’s expected of you, or find yourself in some other awkward spot.
How to Skimm Your Life
Over the past few years, The Skimm has become the biggest name in easy-to-digest news, and in How to Skimm Your Life, they take their signature readable, approachable style to the next level. The book gives you all the deets you need—and none of the info you don’t—about a slew of adulting subjects, from finance and negotiating to taxes and travel etiquette.
100 Side Hustles
Side hustles are where it’s at right now, but if you’re looking for ways to make some extra cash, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with options. 100 Side Hustles offers readers real success stories from people whose side hustles became big sources of income. Regardless of your skill set or experience, you’ll be inspired by these case studies to get started with your own moneymaking hustle.
The Power of Habit
In the ongoing process of “trying to be our best selves,” we’re trying to establish better habits all the time—more consistent workouts, more productive routines at the office, a bedtime that regularly sets us up for eight hours of sleep… the list goes on. In The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg takes a deep dive into the science of habits, explaining the psychology behind them and offering readers the tools they need to establish better ones.
Stories You’ll Love
Fans of Ottessa Moshfegh’s other work (Eileen and My Year of Rest and Relaxation) will be psyched to find her fiction in a more bite-sized package in McGlue, the author’s first novella. Meet main character McGlue, who’s being held for a crime that he’s apparently too drunk to remember. What’s the nature of memory? Pick up this title to find out.
Sally Rooney has recently become the poster child for millennial literature—and for good reason! Normal People is her latest creation, the story of a years-long friendship between Connell and Marianne that follows them through changes in mental health, romance, and circumstance. Readers will see echos of their own relationships in this smartly written account of life in your late teens and early 2os.
Conversations with Friends
A peek into the weird things that happen in the life of a modern millennial, Conversations with Friends is a tale of relationships, adultery, class, and intimacy that’s just a little too close for comfort. Thanks largely to Rooney’s sharp 20-something voice, readers will feel all the feels—hope, awkwardness, regret, pain—right along with main character Frances.
The phrase “supper club” calls to mind images of fabulous people gathering to indulge in delicious food, and readers will get that and so much more in this novel. Feeling stuck in her life, main character Roberta launches a supper club to welcome a unique group of women for feasts and friendship. They gather for meals under the cover of darkness, enjoying good food and empowering each other to reclaim their truest selves.
Prep may have been written in 2005, but the coming-of-age story at its center is about as timeless as it gets, and readers will want to return to it over and over again. We meet main character Lee Fiora as she’s beginning to navigate the new world of a schmaltzy boarding school far from her home in the Midwest. There’s friendship, romantic obsession, academic stress—all of which comes together in a nostalgic package that will make you both relieved and bummed that you can’t do high school over again.
Look How Happy I'm Making You
Look How Happy I’m Making You will make millennial readers feel loved and understood no matter where they stand on the question of when—or if—they want to start a family. In this stunning short story collection, Polly Rosenwaike writes about the experiences of women balancing jealousy and infertility, facing the reality of becoming a single mother, figuring out what their own motherlessness will mean for their prospective children, and feeling overwhelmed with their newborns.
Broke Millennial Takes On Investing
Financial journalist Erin Lowry became a big voice in millennial money with her first Broke Millennial book in 2017, and she’s back with a new guide to help 20- and 30-somethings learn to invest their cash. Thanks to Lowry’s conversational, easy-to-digest style, readers need not feel intimidated, regardless of how new they are to the investing space.
Ever wonder how you can make more money in less time? Join the club. Readers of all ages can benefit from Grant Sabatier’s journey to grow his bank account from $2.26 to $1.25 million, but millennials may find this book’s step-by-step format especially useful. Sabatier offers at times surprising advice to help people use their time effectively while maximizing their finances.
Alexa von Tobel
You use apps and devices to manage your calendar, social life, and travel, and it’s time to get real about using them to more effectively manage your finances. In this book, financial expert Alexa von Tobel gives you the tools to do more than just manage them. You’ll finish Financially Forward ready to make the most of what you earn using mobile pay, autopay, Bitcoin, and more. Thanks to the author’s tips on privacy and security, you’ll also feel safe navigating your finances online.
Food for Thought
Childfree by Choice
Dr. Amy Blackstone
If you’re running out of stock answers to questions from your loved ones (or even strangers) about when you’re going to start a family, it may be time for you to take a page out of Dr. Amy Blackstone’s book—literally. A childfree woman who’s become an expert on the childfree choice, Dr. Blackstone takes a close look at the growing numbers of adults who are choosing not to have children in this well-researched, insightful read.
Text Me When You Get Home
You probably aren’t looking for proof that your female friendships are an objectively vital part of your life, but Kayleen Schaefer’s Text Me When You Get Home offers you that proof anyway. In it, you’ll find a fascinating history and examination of gal pals, based on interviews with women, reflections on girlfriends as they appear in pop culture, and Schaefer’s personal experiences. Readers will want to hold their friends a little tighter after this one!
The Yes Brain
Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson
Millennial parents will celebrate this contribution to the parenting bookshelf, written by bestselling authors who also happen to be experts in psychiatry, parenting, and teen psychotherapy. Readers will learn how to cultivate a Yes Brain—a sense of openness and curiosity—in their children so they grow up to be more imaginative and better equipped to deal with adversity. It’s a proactive approach to parenting!
It’s no secret that the data we share online is now being mined for use by companies and organizations. That data can also be useful to us as individuals, as insight into who we really are beyond our devices. In Dataclysm, Christian Rudder demonstrates the predictive ability of social media likes, the power of online buzzwords, and the challenges associated with trying to stay private in our hyperconnected world.
Nancy Jo Sales
Millennials who feel they have a pretty good handle on social media since coming to it as teenagers will have their minds totally blown by this investigation of what it’s really like to grow up in our modern universe. Readers will be treated to the author’s incredible reporting, which reveals the good, the bad, and the (very) ugly of today’s online behavior between the tween and teen years.
Here’s a hot take: creativity is important for everyone, even if they don’t work in a so-called “creative field.” Don’t believe it? Pick up Big Magic and prepare to be proven wrong. The brilliant Elizabeth Gilbert will inspire you to grab hold of your most creative inner self and use it to drastically improve the quality of your life.
Memoirs & Essays
The Source of Self-Regard
Just months before her death in August 2019, the brilliant Toni Morrison gifted us with a new collection in The Source of Self-Regard. In it, she shares a beautiful mix of essays, speeches, and reflections on our culture, any one of which is bound to give you valuable food for thought. Get Morrison’s take on everything from immigration and female empowerment to race and her own work.
Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant
Millennials in search of a laugh or a lesson in the midst of life’s challenges will find both in Joel Golby’s Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant. And yes, every one of those “brilliants” in the title is absolutely necessary. Pick up this book for essays about travel, dinner parties, and family, to name a few. Also pick it up for a reminder that there’s probably a moral in the most ridiculous of stories.
On Being Human
Perfect for anyone wondering how much truth there is in that old saying “your struggle is your strength,” On Being Human is Jennifer Pastiloff’s exploration of the adversity that became opportunity in her own life. In this memoir, Pastiloff shares stories of crummy jobs that taught important lessons, scary leaps of faith, and inner healing through selflessness. You’ll close this one ready to look for life-changing moments in unexpected places.
Salt in My Soul
Mallory Smith was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as a toddler. In spite of her illness, she resolved to “Live Happy,” a philosophy that served her well as she graduated from Stanford Phi Beta Kappa, became a CF advocate, and pursued writing professionally. For more than a decade, Mallory shared this journey in her personal diaries, which have since been published in the wake of her death. Salt in My Soul is a story of bravery and positivity that will inspire readers battling a range of challenges.
Notes to Self
Is there anything that can make you feel less alone in your saddest and weirdest struggles than an essay written by someone who’s been through the same thing? Notes to Self will offer you that sense of solidarity about all kinds of experiences, including infertility, caring for a parent, and sexual violence. Women in particular will find comfort in Pine’s beautiful reflections on coming through the difficult situations that we too often keep secret.
The Year of Magical Thinking
Any one of Joan Didion’s books deserves an essential spot on your bookshelf, but The Year of Magical Thinking might be especially resonant for millennials. In it, Didion offers a painfully honest account of her marriage that may inspire readers of all walks of life to take a good, hard look at their own relationships. Oh, and the writing is about as good as it gets.
We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.
Sometimes you just need to laugh, and when you do, you’ll be glad to have We Are Never Meeting in Real Life ready and waiting on your shelf. Blogger and TV writer Samantha Irby recalls hilarious moments and reflections from her life in this essay collection. In the process, she proves the power of being able to laugh at yourself.
Leveling Up Your Personal Life
How to Make a Plant Love You
Summer Rayne Oakes
Want to increase your home’s Instagrammability with the addition of a few smartly placed succulents and some leafy greenery? Scared your thumb isn’t quite green enough to pull it off? Enter Summer Rayne Oakes, an expert in urban houseplants who’s here to arm you with the tools you need to successfully bring the outside in, no matter where you live.
This guide to staying hitched is the perfect required reading for anyone who’s recently tied the knot. Even readers who have been hitched for years can benefit from the author’s relationship expertise, developed over a decade as the relationship reporter for Time magazine. You’ll get a crash course in the six subjects that are most likely to derail your marriage, and advice on how to navigate them.
If you thought your days of putting pen to paper in a workbook designed just for you were over, you thought wrong! Instagram artist Mari Andrew has leveled up the workbook format just for adults. Grab your favorite pen (or crayon) and work your way through this guided journal, designed especially for millennials settling into adulthood and discovering who they really are.
Never again find yourself without a greeting card! Little Gestures is packed with 50 postcards for birthdays, thank you, congratulations, empathy, and even “just because.” Tuck this little book away and rest assured that you’ll be ready and waiting with the perfect—and beautifully designed—card for every occasion. You may love Mari Andrew’s illustrations so much that you decide to use the postcards to decorate your bedroom or workspace.
Linda D. Anderson, Sonia R. Banks, and Michele L. Owens
Readers who struggle with managing healthy expectations in their relationships will get some serious peace of mind in Silent Agreements. As you read it, you’ll reflect on the unspoken rules that are mysteriously established between you and your loved ones and realize just how dangerous they can be. The authors won’t leave you hanging—you’ll get advice on how to better communicate and get those expectations back in alignment.
Cannabis and CBD for Health and Wellness
Aliza Sherman and Dr. Junella Chin
Not sure where to start with figuring out how cannabis and CBD can fit into your wellness regimen? Look no further than this comprehensive manual. In it, you’ll find a basic history of cannabis and a simple field guide for using it to manage chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and more. You’ll also learn the basics of cannabis—how to ingest it, how much to use, and when to use it for maximum effect.
The Bucket/F*ck it List
The concept of a bucket list may be a little morbid, but if you don’t think too hard about it, it can be pretty fun. This diary-style book inspires you with 3,669 must-do activities or adventures that you’ve gotta try before you die, then lets you categorize them as “bucket” (need to try!), “f*ck it” (no, thanks!), or “done it” (check it off the list!). Readers can hang on to this book for life—literally.
In Excuse Me, New Yorker cartoonist Liana Finck proves that you’re never too old to love cartoons and never too young to be a little jaded. Readers will be treated to more than 500 of Finck’s cartoons, each one a hilarious observation about life as we know it. It might just be the book on your shelf that’s most relatable to everyone you know.
Tiny Beautiful Things
You’re probably most familiar with Cheryl Strayed for her bestselling survival memoir Wild, but Tiny Beautiful Things is also a necessary read. Before she was the face of women hiking the PCT, Strayed was the anonymous advice columnist for The Rumpus, and this book is a compilation of some of her best insight. Even if you can’t relate to the wild scenarios presented in the columns, you’re sure to find some helpful nuggets.
Millennials seem to be constantly taking heat, but the truth is, they’re a generation of creative boundary-pushers and out-of-the-box thinkers, and a lot of us also happen to love a good book. With that in mind, I’ve curated a list of 40 books for millennials that are essential for every personal collection. These titles will feed your appetite for everything from personal development to beautiful storytelling.
(Plus, if we continue adding to our bookshelves, millennials might get a little less judgment. Maybe? A girl can dream.)
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