As I promised Friday, I have a super exciting review for you guys today. About a month ago I was contacted by the amazing and talented Paul Angone of All Groan Up to be part of the launch team for his first book, 101 Secrets For Your Twenties — a hilarious, yet serious and thoughtful book about what your twenties are all about. He used his own struggles through twentysomething-hood (he just crossed over into thirtysomething-ness) to help other twentysomethings realize that (A) they aren’t alone in their struggles and (B) it’s OKAY to have struggles. Today, I wanted to tell you all what I thought about the book and whether or not I think it’s worth a buy.
Spoiler alert: I loved it and it is.
Note: As is my style, this review will be very informal and unstructured. There are a ton of reviews out there (Full disclosure: I didn’t read them because I didn’t want them to influence mine!) that you should check out for even more information about the book. Just buy it, I wouldn’t steer you wrong.
101 Secrets For Your Twenties contains…wait for it…101 secrets for life in your twenties. I counted. Also, each secret has a number. Like many of us, Paul woke up one day and realized he was dissatisfied with the direction his life was headed. He didn’t feel successful — he had a job he wasn’t passionate about and he didn’t feel as though he was making an impact. He got fed up with all of it and decided to find the secrets to doing twentysomething-hood right. It’s not a new story, but it’s a story that many of us twentysomethings (and thirtysomethings and fortysomethings) can relate to. And it’s an honest story to boot.
Paul has been kind enough to publish what he found out about twentysomething-ness for the rest of us struggling with the same feelings of “What Now?” that he struggled with. It’s entertaining as hell (check out the caffeine quadrant and the descriptions of the different types of awkward coworkers for some serious laughs), it’s honest (real talk about marriage not fixing any problems and the necessity of change to thrive), and it’s full of practical advice (like when NOT to look at Facebook and how to make and keep friends as a twentysomething).
Without giving away the entire book (which is difficult, because I highlighted like three-quarters of it), let me go through some of my favorite parts — both quotes and secrets. Some of these are finance related. Most are just about life in general.
From 29 Signs That You’re An Adult: “Debt goes from being this fairy tale to be repaid in a land far, far, away. To your daily reality show.”
From 22 Signs That You’re Having a Quarter-Life Crisis: “You surf the Internet so much at work every day that you literally hit a point where you don’t know what else to search for.”
On adults that don’t drink caffeine: “I don’t know what kind of adult you are. And honestly, I don’t want to know.”
On complain-ism: “Complaining has become our social currency, our shared language used to form a mutual — if somewhat bitter — understanding of the world we live in.”
On gaining weight as a cubicle dweller: “Don’t let office birthday cake be forced on you like a cigarette behind your middle school. Don’t sit at your computer perched like a Roman gargoyle.”
On cubicle dwellers in general: “I would be willing to bet that only 13 percent of all “Cubicle Americans” actually have a positive outlook on life. And half of that 13 percent is probably stealing from their company.”
AND MY FAVORITE…
On complacency: “For years I felt like I was just an actor in my own life, hanging out in a trailer smoking a cigarette as I waited for God to write a scene worth my time.”
There are far too many good ones (like 101 of them) so I will just list my top 5.
Secret #36. Your 20s might be less about finding out what you want to do, and more about finding what you DO NOT want to do.
Secret #58. Everyone is too busy putting a PR spin on their own lives to care too much about yours.
Secret #60. Our 20s are not about finding home; our 20s are about finding the right place to build it.
Secret #73. The biggest risk of your 20s would be never taking any risks at all.
Secret #85. Never looking at your budget and never making a budget is the exact same thing.
And a bonus secret…
Secret #17. Every time you write a rent check, an angel loses its wings.
My favorite part about this book is that a year ago I would have told you I didn’t need it.
I have a tendency to be a bit…cocky. I’m sure I hide it well. If you would have asked me to read this book a year ago, I would have scoffed. “I don’t need that. I’m a pro at twentysomething-ness.” And I thought I was. I was making almost $50k straight out of college with decent benefits and a 401(k). I was (and am) in a great marriage. While I have a lot of debt, I have never paid a bill late in my four years of twentysomething life. I left my silly insecurities behind in my teenage years. What do I need to learn about being a twentysomething?
Well, then I started freelance writing. Found out that you don’t actually have to hate your job to get paid (this sounds obvious now, but it wasn’t then). Quit my comfortable job. Decided to move across the country with whatever will fit into my car to a state I’ve never been to with absolutely no career plans. And all the sudden, I don’t have everything figured out anymore. Turns out, I never really did. I just understood the status quo and figured that I would resign to a life of ordinary. Oh the things that can happen in the course of 365 days (five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes!).
101 Secrets For Your Twenties by Paul Angone is a great book because NO ONE has it all figured out. As Paul puts it, “This twentysomething shoot ain’t easy. It’s a decade exploding with intensity and ambiguity. Anxiety and excitement. Purpose and pointlessness. Answers riddled with questions. Paradoxes mixed with 100 percent certainties. There are so many “firsts.” So much change. So many “what ifs, what nows, and what the hecks.” Even if you think you know everything you need to know about being in your twenties, chances are you don’t. Very few people are pros at finances, relationships, faith, career, and just general grown-up-ness. We could all use a little help from someone who has actually been there.
In conclusion, you should buy this book (have I mentioned that yet?). It’s smart, well-written, funny, and honest. Paul is the bee’s knees. And while I’m sure you are awesome at being a twentysomething, I bet even you could use a little extra guidance. READ ALL 204 PAGES OF AWESOME. You can thank me later. Or now. I like praise.
Paul has been nice enough to give me two copies of the book to give away. Don’t worry, I’m not going to make you follow 491 people on Twitter and promise me your firstborn. Just leave a comment below with your own secret for people in their twenties. This giveaway will close on Monday, July 15th at 5 PM EST. I will choose two winners at random on Tuesday, July 16th. If you want to comment, but do not want to be entered into the giveaway, (A) what’s wrong with you? and (B) please specify that in your comment.
Good luck, y’all!
[I did not receive any compensation for this review but I did receive a copy of 101 Secrets For Your Twenties. This review is my 100% honest opinion on the book.]