Customer Reviews


398 Reviews
5 star:
 (301)
4 star:
 (70)
3 star:
 (13)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


222 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 25 year old's Review: This is a Paradigm Shifting Book Anyone 17+ Should Read
I read Dr. Meg Jay's NY Times piece on co-habituation (...) which lead me to ordering her book. I received it yesterday and read it in one sitting. So, I think it's pretty good.

As a twenty something, I would recommend this book to my friends and even those still in high school. Dr. Jay teaches lessons about how to ideally approach one's twenties and why it...
Published on April 18, 2012 by Peter Park

versus
57 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meg Jay's advice to 20-somethings: "Mountains Don't Care"
This book provides tough love that many of us 20-somethings need, which is best-summarized with the last sentences of the book:

"As I gathered up my maps and turned to go, I hesitated and asked the ranger, 'Am I going to make it?'
He looked at me and said, 'You haven't decided yet.'
He was telling me what this book has been all about. The future isn't...
Published on July 10, 2012 by A fellow with a keyboard


‹ Previous | 1 240 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

222 of 230 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 25 year old's Review: This is a Paradigm Shifting Book Anyone 17+ Should Read, April 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I read Dr. Meg Jay's NY Times piece on co-habituation (...) which lead me to ordering her book. I received it yesterday and read it in one sitting. So, I think it's pretty good.

As a twenty something, I would recommend this book to my friends and even those still in high school. Dr. Jay teaches lessons about how to ideally approach one's twenties and why it really matters. She interweaves research, stories, and counseling sessions with her patients to make a thought provoking but easy book to read. In many of those patients, I saw my friends or myself. There was the twenty something coffee barista still waiting for the right opportunity to come by. There was the beautiful and successful, girl chronically hooking up and never dating because she's still plagued with teenager, self-image problems. There was the bicycle shop guy wanting to be original and afraid of settling down. What they all have in common is this intense desire to know, "Am I going to make it? And what the hell should I be doing in my twenties? School was so easy, but life is so hard."

This book isn't a step by step guide. It won't go into how to systematically meet guys/girls, get over depression, or how to do well on an interview. There are plenty of books on getting into the details. Instead, this is a thought provoking book aimed against the popular twenty something zeitgeist today that, "we can do anything", "there's always time", and "I have until 30 to get my life together." Not to mention the million other stories we tell ourselves like, "I'm never going to get good at this", "It's better to wait rather than choose", or "Everyone on Facebook is doing better than me." In a sense, this book is like "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" to personal finance. They are paradigm shifting books that sweep away the false assumptions and beliefs we acquired from our childhood and culture and replace them with solid, real principles on how reality works. This book isn't going to do the heavy lifting for you, only you can do that. This book is the starting point to begin living one's twenties with drive, clarity, and purpose.

The book itself is divided into three sections: Work, Love, and The Brain and the Body.
Work talks about increasing your identity capital, the value of "weak ties", that you know what you want even though you think you don't, the unhelpful prevalence of Facebook comparisons, and seeing a career as the first step in a unique, customized life versus settling down.
Love goes into the importance of taking dating seriously in your 20s, compatibility with possible in-laws, how to make sure "living together" isn't harmful, and choosing the right partner.
The Brain and Body is sort of a misc. collection of pieces centered on how your brain, body, and mind works.

The Brain and Body section also covered a lot of neuroscience research I wasn't aware of. For example, your brain undergoes a radical period of reconfiguration in your 20s which means now is the best opportunity for learning skills. Or, the frontal cortex that controls a lot of our mature responses such as regulating emotions is still developing for most people in their 20s. Besides the physical brain, Dr. Jay also talks about the mind such as learning how to calm yourself down, how to develop confidence (rather than believing it's fixed), and that you can radically alter how you feel by changing parts of your life.

It also has a very frank chapter on fertility and that ladies don't have as much time as they think to have children. The final chapter before the epilogue talks about mapping your years to see how limited your time truly is. It seems common for many young people to talk about getting their career in order or going to graduate school eventually, getting married, and having kids but not all at the same time. Except, when you're 25 or 27 saying this, you're quickly running out of time.

It's hard to convey in a review how good the book is. This is the book I wish I could have written in ten years. Not just because of the advice, but because of the patient interviews. I found myself agreeing and sharing the same POV as the patient many times but through the counseling session, it was almost like I was sitting there and seeing my own assumptions fall apart and seeing the truth for what it really is. This book doesn't knock you over the head with what Dr. Jay thinks is right but begins from where you already are and lets you see for yourself the problems in your logic. Just as any good psychologist does.

This isn't your run of the mill advice book. There's a lot of popular myths and assumptions that this book dispels with cold, hard truth. I'm a self-help addict, and there was plenty of new information I never heard or thought of before.

The underlying message in all the stories and chapters is start living your life now. Take responsibility. Don't believe the lies that your twenties don't matter or that confidence is only innate. For most people, the late night parties, pointless jobs, and random hookups won't be what build your identity, what you care about or remember in the future. If anything, as Billy in the book says, you will probably feel betrayed that you wasted the best years of your life doing all the meaningless things that culture and others mislead you to believe most important. So, start preparing now because the investments (or lack thereof) that you do in your twenties will have the greatest impact in your career, marriage, and overall happiness. As she ends the book, "The future isn't written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don't be defined by what you didn't know or didn't do. You are deciding your life right now."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


61 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Roadmap to a happier life --must read for 20-somethings, April 16, 2012
After I read this, I was surprised no one had discussed making the most of the twenties decade before. With the job market slow for college grads, and a seeming extension of the teen years into the entire twenties decade, this book is a huge wake up call and an excellent roadmap out of youth and into what should be the most exciting time of your life. This book covers two basic and profound aspects of life; choosing a mate and having children and choosing a path that leads, step by step, to a career that is fulfilling and rewarding.

The author makes a point about dating: are you goofing around or really trying to sort out whom you want to spend time with? After all that is sorted out and you eventually find the right person, you could be a lot older and suffering from infertility. That's a great point; we spend a leisurely youth and then when we get serious, it may be difficult or impossible to conceive (I didn't get married seriously until I was forty, so I can totally support this advice. I have no children.) Here is a case for being serious about whom you choose and deciding to have children before the mid-thirties, when it starts getting a lot more problematical. (And you are at the peak of strength, less likely to be fatigued by the task.)

The second very important point of this book is that frittering time away in jobs that don't lead to a career will cause you to be "damaged and different." In other words, one really doesn't have the time to take any old job and the more time you spend on what you think you want to do for the majority of your work life, the better off you will be. According the author, the string of random, low paying and dull work can lead to depression and drinking. So finding what you love, whether it's taking internships or whatever it takes to get a foot in the door, is a good plan compared to goofing around thinking "there is time" because the gap for earning becomes unbridgeable if you wait too long to get onto your chosen path.

This is strong, and even possibly unpopular advice for a time when choices seem limited, actions seem to be disconnected from future consequences, and there is little direction for people in their twenties. Yet, the advice is good and can be the difference between a great, productive life and waking up at 39 and wondering why it all seems to have gone pear-shaped. If you are just finishing university, or if you have a college-aged child, I'd hand him or her a copy of this book and really discuss it with friends and family. Everything from partying to dating to working is covered here, not in a judgmental fashion but with careful thought, backed up by psychological references. This could be a defining moment, reading this book. I can tell you from watching the children of friends of mine, that choosing carefully in the twenties IS vital to happiness and choosing unwisely can lead to huge misfortune in your forties.

This book should be on everyone's list, from high school through college and it's about time someone wrote it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


57 of 72 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Meg Jay's advice to 20-somethings: "Mountains Don't Care", July 10, 2012
This book provides tough love that many of us 20-somethings need, which is best-summarized with the last sentences of the book:

"As I gathered up my maps and turned to go, I hesitated and asked the ranger, 'Am I going to make it?'
He looked at me and said, 'You haven't decided yet.'
He was telling me what this book has been all about. The future isn't written in the stars. There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don't be defined by what you didn't know or didn't do.
You are deciding your life right now."

Reading this book, you get the sense that Meg Jay was gritting her teeth as she wrote it. She does her best to be sympathetic to the 20-something psyche, writing with all the delicacy she can muster, but you can still sense an underlying current of, "COME ON, PEOPLE, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!" That's good. We need that. We've been coddled for too long.

If you are thinking of working at a coffee shop because that seems non-corporate, or going backpacking in Europe in order to "find yourself," or putting off marriage or children until you've finished grad school, then Meg Jay is talking to you, and you should listen.

But there's one thing about this book that I found troubling: It has a rather Me-Against-the-World sentiment. In the epilogue, Meg Jay writes about her favorite sign, one posted at Rocky Mountain National Park that says MOUNTAINS DON'T CARE, meant to encourage preparedness against an uncaring wilderness. She views the world as out-to-get-you unless you are tenacious and strategic and forward-thinking. You've got to acquire all the resources you can as quickly as you can to ensure your safety before the world GETS YOU.

She even views marriages and families this way, as resources, something to be acquired for safety's sake. She even suggests that we be "ambitious" in picking a good partner, and she advocates having classes and guidance counselors to help us pick a spouse much as we have them to pick a career.

This book would have been more convincing if instead of emphasizing the importance of accruing-resources-before-it's-too-late, it emphasized that certain things are too important to be treated as "resources."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


32 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I'd recommend this book to anyone who is clearly wasting away their 20s., November 6, 2012
The thing is, I don't know too many people who are, unless the have a trust fund.

I found some of the advice to be good, but this book is definitely for a certain demographic; mid to upper middle class, college educated, predominantly white, with a touch of naïveté. Not quite me (thank god).

Good book if you want to do the corporate thing until you retire. This book is not great if you want to lead an inspired life, or want to become an entrepreneur, or want to challenge the world and make it a better place. The author seems all about stepping up to the plate... to slave away in the corporate system, get a mortgage you can barely afford, and have your 2.15 kids.

The author mentions a few older clients who wish they'd done more in their twenties, and has many clients in their twenties. The main reason this book felt off for me was because it seemed to come from a work ethic and mindset of previous generations; nose to the grindstone and when you're 40-50 you'll finally reap the rewards and be able to enjoy life. Millennials don't want that though, we want to work to live, not live to work. Sure, everyone wants nice things and comfortable place to live eventually, but I think the author is flawed in suggesting that the best way to move into the future career-wise is to do what everyone has always done.

This book is a nice wake up call for the basics, ie you won't live forever. But in terms of thriving in life, as opposed to just surviving, I was disappointed. There are plenty of other inspirational books out there for my generation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've read all year, April 21, 2012
I admit I was skeptical at first. One look at that title and I thought it was going to be another hokey self-help book. Wrong. This book investigates the stereotype that the twenties are the "throwaway years" of one's life and proves that they are actually a foundation-- that the decisions you make in this time will affect the course your life will take in your thirties and forties (in life, love, and your career). The author is a psychologist who offers real-life conversations she's had with her twentysomething clients. She also has a great tone; she is never condescending while tackling the stigmas and misconceptions that are damaging this generation. I found it to be incredibly relevant and helpful. Plus, It's a quick read. Excellent book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars do as i say not as i do, October 24, 2012
By 
Orna (United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I bought this book impulsively while in a book store and read it in a frenzy.

The one thing that has really bothered me ever since reading the book (back in July 2012) was that the author writes about her experience working multiple years in Outward Bound without direction or a goal in mind. The reason this has bothered me is because she just brushes over it. She spends the whole book describing how 20-somethings should start their lives out in a direction because of all the consequences down the road (the airplane trajectory analogy comes to mind), but she never identifies how her spending years in Outward Bound has affected her life. She even says it was a good thing because it made her stand out in graduate school applications. How can she spend the entire book criticizing current 20-somethings for their lack of direction without doing the same about herself??? I would have really liked to hear about her experience and how it has positively and negatively influenced her life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Puts words to feelings-- a solid read, April 25, 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I assumed that, as someone in their twenties who has things reasonably "together," I wouldn't get too much out of this book. I read her piece for the NY Times, though, and went ahead and ordered a copy. I found the book a quick and engaging read, and I have spent a lot of time ruminating on it further. I think this is one of those books whose argument stays with you for a long time and shapes how you view the world. It definitely gave a voice to my fears for the future, and enabled me to see how to make choices and articulate desires for the future. This book empowers young people in a world where parents and mentors may dismiss our concerns for the future, saying we have plenty of time. If you're on the fence, this book is worth a read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


17 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Cliffnotes Version for Navigating Your 20s, October 15, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now (Paperback)
I was really excited to read this book after seeing so many positive 5-star reviews here on Amazon, but quickly into the 2nd chapter, I was skeptical.

My overall take on it is that this is for people who lack the imagination to discover answers for themselves, or who lack the courage to take the risks that are necessary to gain real life knowledge. It follows a very formulaic mainstream American life trajectory. Nothing new or insightful in it. Nothing groundbreaking. Nothing even remotely revelatory about it.

It doesn't seem to give any thought or analysis to a life that DOESN'T follow a traditional American path. It's all about graduating college, having a career, getting married, popping out babies, buying a house, blahdeblahblahblah. Is that what life is really all about? Is that the ultimate pinnacle of the human experience? To be a homeowner slathered in debt, working over 40 hours a week, doting on your children? Is that when we really have everything figured out?

I also don't agree with "The Cohabitation Effect"--basically suggesting that you should NOT move in with a significant other until you are engaged to them. Wait until you put a ring on it until you figure out some more of the fundamental tendencies and personality traits of your partner that could be potentially deal breaking. Seriously? That sounds completely regressive and 50s-esque to me.

In the chapter that was nearly nauseating to read and made me want to throw the book out the window (but I only had about 2 chapters to go), "Every Body", she is essentially saying have kids in your 20's because if you don't now, your reproductive physiology goes down the drain and you will regret it later. Assuming that everyone actually wants children. She paid the barest of lip service to couples who don't want to have kids, mentioning it as an afterthought, consisting of merely 6 lines in the book toward the end of the chapter.

At 24 years old and just starting my career, I would be completely depressed reading this book if I were NOT employed or feeling successful and happy in my own life. Trying to see it from another perspective, this "advice" would be anything but motivational.

I could go on and dissect each chapter by chapter for more evidence on why this is complete BS but it isn't worth my time. I can't believe I wasted 13 bucks on this crap. I can't wait to sell it back to a local bookstore ASAP. Don't waste your time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An OK read for the under-22 set, July 1, 2012
By 
Having just finished my 20s, I was curious what a psychology PhD might have about the proper way to live them. She's probably right about the 20s being your most influential decade, and might even be right about 80% of life's most significant events taking place by 35. Also, I'm in agreement with most of the big lessons imparted in the three sections of this book, which can be summarized as:

[on "Work"]
-Don't just take some job at a coffee shop; find an entry-level role in a field you hope to work in so you'll at least have a chance of being discovered
-Try to network with people outside your social circle, since most people's circles are narrow and homogeneous (and become more so with age). It's the connections you least expect that lead to the most interesting jobs -- and relationships.

[on "Love"]
-Don't cohabitate with someone as a test of future marriage, because this strategy increases the chances of divorce due to "consumer lock-in" (the tendency to stay together because you've already invested so much time, share common friends/pets/furniture, are approaching the "age 30 deadline", etc.)
-Don't date down
-Choose someone with a similar personality

[on "the Brain and the Body"]
-Calm your emotions
-Don't wait too far into your 30s to have kids because fertility starts declining rapidly, and treatments get more expensive and less reliable
-Plan out a timeline with specific goals for your 20s, or else it might end up being too late to achieve your goals

Fine advice, but not exactly revolutionary, is it? This book might be a digestible 200 pages, but it still could have condensed its points to fit into 50. The excess fat comes from the author employing the same time-wasting narrative approach of women's magazines like Psychology Today and Time/Newsweek: telling long-winded anecdotes of not very interesting people, only occasionally shedding light on something factual.

As a side point, there's an occasional lack of critical thinking. That theory about cohabitation causing divorce has been around a while; it didn't pass the smell test then and it still doesn't now. Sure, cohabitation might make official divorce numbers rise, but that's because it doesn't get any credit for the ones it prevents, such as by highlighting a couple's incompatibilities and steering them away from marriage in the first place. Just think about it: as long as you don't let yourself get swept up into the whole Sunk Cost Fallacy thing ("I've been with him/her so long that we might as well go all the way..."), a cohabitation test drive can only be beneficial.

Still, the book's bigger problem is seeming like it could have been written by any well-read 30-year-old. But hey, if you're 19 and don't have the first clue what to think about the years ahead, reading this might get you asking the right questions.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for 20somethings and parents of 20somethings, March 31, 2012
As a career higher educator and the mother of two 20somethings, I found that this book put many of my own thoughts into words. As I read it, I took three pages of notes, and then passed the pre-publication copy I had received on to my 20something daughter. She loved it as much as I did (thank goodness). It affirms much of what I want her to know, and these ideas coming from a seasoned professional gave my motherly advice validation. Thank you, Meg Jay.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 240 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now
$17.00
Usually ships in 1 to 3 weeks
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.