Top 5 Books Every Millennial Must Read: Career, Personal Finances & Adulting

top 5 books millennials must read career personal finances adulting

Are you a millennial? Are you in your 20’s and 30’s? Have you ever caught yourself pausing for a second during your hectic day and asking “Am I on the right track?” or “Is that all there is?” I ask myself those questions constantly ever since graduating college five years ago, and every time I find myself a little confused, lost or anxious, I turn to books for advice and motivation. The most concerning topics that I want to tackle right now are career, personal finances, and adulting.

This is the generic sequence of events in life after graduating college:

1.     Enter the workforce
2.     Work for some time at your first job
3.     Switch over to another job (and if you’re lucky, this may be one step closer to your dream job)
4.     Have your personal finances in check (e.g. have a retirement account, figure out the ins-and-outs of investing)
5.     Eventually save up enough to buy a house
6.     Find a partner you want to spend the rest of your life with
7.     Get married to said partner
8.     Maybe have a baby or two

Straight-forward? Yes. But do you realize that society expects us to have all these checked off in a matter of 5-10 years? I bet when you’re still partying your a** off when you’re 22, you did not see all this coming. Adulting is daunting. In no other parts of your life would you have these many changes, choices, decisions, and expectations all thrown at you at once. No body has ever given you a course on how to get it all right. And to make things even more complicated, in this day and age, a fast-track career at a big corporation may not guarantee you more success than a job at a startup that might turn into the next Facebook. 

Reading has been a habit that I keep to help me get inspired, learn new strategies, and to make sense of this “growing pain.” The following books are new releases that I recommend to all millennials. I just ordered all of these books on Amazon, so I’m hoping to write a follow-up blog post of book reviews in a few months! If you are planning to read any of the books mentioned below, let me know so we can have a discussion about the book after. Also, if you’re not a reader, consider getting the audio book version. You really have no excuses now, do you?

top 5 books millennial

Tips on buying books:

  • Read the description & reviews: Does the book give practical advice that’s going to help you formulate a strategy for life? Or would it inspire you to take a leap forward?
  • Read a sample (on Amazon): The sample (usually 1-2 chapters) can be sent wireless to various devices. They’ll give you a general sense of the structure of the book as well as the tone of the author
  • Decide what format is best for you: paperback, Kindle/digital, audio……so many options!
  • If you are a frequent traveler, consider buying the digital version of the book so you can read on your Kindle, iPads, or phones. (This is also a good option if you don’t want other people to see the cover of your book and know immediately what you’re reading.)

(Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing through them help support my blog at no zero cost to you.)

pivot jenny blake

Why you should read this book

I remember reading Jenny Blake's first book Life After College right I graduated from UBC. I was grateful to be at my first "real" job, as a team leader at The Hudson's Bay Company (or more commonly known as The Bay by most Canadians.) Other than the various perks I got working at a department store and being located at downtown Vancouver, I did not find the job very inspiring or motivating. Jenny's book prompted me to make a change and take a leap of faith to move to Shanghai. And now, nearly 5 years later, I'm grateful that I made the decision and took action. Even though I miss my friends in Vancouver so dearly (I'm writing this as I'm on the plane flying out of Vancouver...insert sad face emoticon here), I know I made the right choice 5 years ago for my career. 

Jenny's second book, Pivot, promises to give you non-bullshit advice on making a switch in your career, whether you are changing industry, going from corporate to entrepreneurship, or looking to launch your passion project. 


Read the book if...

  • You feel like you have worked hard and achieved what you were striving for, and now you are asking "is that all there is?"
  • You need a shove for you to make a change or to take action 
  • You feel comfortable or bored in your current job and wonder “what’s next?"


To get to know more about the book

Listen to Episode 049 of The Big Leap Show Podcast for an intimate and personal interview with author Jenny Blake. 

the 10% entrepreneur patrick j mcginnis

Why you should read this book

Patrick McGinnis is the inventor of the term FOMO. For those of you who don't know the acronym, it stands for the Fear Of Missing Out, aka that feeling you get whenever you miss an awesome brunch with friends or some really cool events like Coachella. Once I knew Patrick is the one who coined the term, I got excited about reading his book since he must understands the millennials and what we go through in different life stages. 

In his book The 10% Entrepreneur, Patrick shares personal anecdotes and stories of friends that demonstrate how you are capable of having a side hustle or passion project while having a full time job. Many people jump from a stable, corporate job directly into a full-time self-employed business owner, but this may not be the best option for everyone as we need to get bills paid. Patrick promises to give concrete advice on how to go from 10% entrepreneur to 100%. In other words, how to transition your day jobs into a business that you love. 


Read the book if...

  • You have a burning desire or idea in your heart and you want to do something about it
  • You are looking for ways to monetize your passion / skill set 
  • You want to get rid of FOMO once and for all


To get to know more about the book

Listen to Don't Keep Your Day Job podcast (April 24) for an interview with author Patrick McGinnis

broke millennial erin lowry

Why you should read this book

As a millennial myself, I have noticed that my generation tackles money differently than the generations before us, namely the Baby Boomers and Gen X. Many of my friends (and myself included) graduated with a large amount of student loans, entered the workforce knowing close to nothing about retirement funds, watch others invest money in different things while wishing we could do the same, purchase homes with inflated real estate prices...... All of these moments we feel like we are scraping by and scrambling to figure it all out. 

Personal finances is a topic I've wanted to learn about for a while, but it's really not a sexy topic that I can just dive into, so when I heard about Erin Lowry's new book, I was beyond excited. Erin is a millennial herself, and she has kept her blog (also titled "Broke Millennial") for 5 years. She understands our struggles with money and speaks in our language by explaining financial concepts with personal stories. She promises to offer modern and practical solutions to money problems, help you choose the best budgeting style, and give advice on salary negotiations.


Read the book if...

  • You want to become the boss of your money, and not the other way around 
  • You are undergoing money issues and want to get out of it with the smartest ways possible 
  • You are interested in learning about personal finances but have no clue where to start 


To get to know more about the book

Listen to episode 109 of Mo' Money Podcast for an interview with the author Erin Lowry

the big life ann shoket

Why you should read this book

Ann Shoket is the former Editor in Chief of Seventeen magazine, which should tell you that she knows a thing or two about young women. In particular, she understands that for young women these days, success means more than climbing the corporate ladder. Rather, success is all about having a meaningful life……on our own terms.

The book promises to give actionable advice through conversations with young women who have already achieved a lot, plus Ann Shoket’s own journey in achieving the “Big Life.”


Read the book if...

  • You are a woman in your 20s and 30s, and you want to achieve the "Big Life”: passionate job, supportive friends, and loving partner
  • You want to win respect from your boss who thinks you’re a lazy, self-entitled millennial


To get to know more about the book

Go to Ann Shoket’s website and join the Badass Babes community here

she means business carrie green

Why you should read this book

I first noticed Carrie Green from her Facebook group Female Entrepreneur Association. At the time of writing this post, there are close to 500,000 members in the group. Even though I am not a female entrepreneur (not quite yet at least *wink wink*), I was inspired by her dedication to building this community. Her book has a whooping 5 stars rating on Amazon, and the kindle version is currently on sale for $0.99. Seriously, go get it now. 

Carrie's writing style is motivating and compassionate. When reading this book (I am about half way done at this point), I feel like I'm having a one-on-one session with a mentor. I am looking forward to reading more and following the exercises included in the book! 


Read the book if...

  • You want to start your own business but fear is in the way 
  • You are a female entrepreneur and want to learn practical strategies to improve your business 
  • You are looking to get inspired and empowered to turn your ideas into reality 


To get to know more about the book

Join Carrie’s Female Entrepreneur Association.


Happy reading! Let me know if you're planning to read any of the books above so we can be reading buddies!