Book Review AND Giveaway: “101 Secrets For Your Twenties” by Paul Angone

Not yet 20 in the summer of 2004, I wallowed in self-pity on the walk from my car to my house after work. Inside, I dropped my purse at the door, audibly sighed, and asked my “roommate” a question:

“Is this what adulthood is really about?”

Up at 6. To work by 8 to sit at a gray desk in front of a gray computer doing a lot of what means nothing to me. Out at 5. Home for dinner and back to back episodes of any show entertaining enough to deter me from dwelling on the truth: I will do this again tomorrow, and I will hate it just as much.

“Yep,” my mom replied, half-kidding. “Pretty much.”

Mad at the world (or at high school, at least) for releasing me into adulthood with no good prep (or so I thought), I cried a little. This is probably because of what I didn’t yet know:

Only I could change the life-sucking cycle in which I felt so stuck.

This is precisely what blogger and author Paul Angone proves in his new book 101 Secrets For Your Twenties, which I a) wish he’d written 10 years ago (but I forgive you!) and b) thoroughly enjoyed. 101 Secrets is easy to read, and fast and funny. It is also sometimes convicting. The secrets he shares challenge young adults to jump life’s hurdles instead of pouting about them and to accept that growing pains are part of young adulthood (if we are willing to grow up). Here are a handful of my favorites:

#4: Your twenties are about having the courage to write a frightful first draft.

“We have to be willing to allow ourselves to write some terrible first drafts. You can’t have a good story without a good struggle.”

#10: You grow INTO growing up. 

You might be an adult if “your body begins to ache from vigorous lack of movement,” “Facebook goes from being a hobby, to an obsession, to a chore you dread,” or “You don’t spend the week organizing your plans for Saturday night. No, organizing is your plans for Saturday night.”

#24: Love is blind. Enlist some seeing eye dogs.

“You’re being warned there’s a serious accident ahead, so why in the name of a 7-Car-Pile-Up are you still driving directly toward it? Enlisting trusted guides to help direct your relationship can save your life.”

#56: Watch out. “Official Adults” might stereotype you for being twentysomething.

“If you feel like you’re being stereotyped because of your age, your best ally is quiet confidence – a humble consistency that shows up and gets the job done. You don’t argue with them about your skill set, you just show them every single day how awesome your skills are.”

#76: No one knows what they’re doing.

“Are you freaked out that you have no idea what you’re doing? Perfect! So is everyone else.” 

Now that I’ve given away some of Paul’s secrets, I’ll give away a couple copies of his book. Wanna win one? In a comment on this post, share a secret of your own – something you’ve learned so far in your 20s (or something you learned in your 20s if you’re already out). Include an email address or Twitter username I could use to tell ya if you won.  Entries will count only through 11:59 p.m. EDT Aug. 4. All entries will literally be put into a hat, out of which I will draw two random winners on Aug. 5.

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Visit Paul’s site, Click here to learn more about the book, and here to read 21 Secrets for Your 20s, a blog post by Paul that went viral and inspired the book.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Travel in your twenties before life and commitments catch up. You will never have enough money to go, so just do it!

  • Transitioning into a “grown-up friendship” with your parents entails an exhausting amount of work, but is definitely worth all of the effort. Someday, if I’m a mother, I hope that I’ll remember this truth and be open to what my children want to teach me.

  • I would recommend to marry early or prepare yourself for marriage. Consider ways and habits that will lead to a successful marriage. Ultimately, a job comes and goes, but a spouse is “til death do us part.” Gain skills that will help a married couple. For example, once married, family becomes very important and a person can plan while single to obtain skills that will aide a family. This might be gaining a nursing degree so that a woman can work less hours per week but still get paid a great income. This may mean a man learns to budget, thrift, and develop a home based craft instead of mastering the local pub and 18 holes so that he can earn extra income on the side.

  • While many mid 20 year olds find themselves pulling “all-nighters” pretty frequently, I want to say, its not worth it. Your body will hate you for exhaustion you will cause yourself and the next day will be the worst until you collapse into a sleep coma. Your work will always be less than the best you can do, and you’ll end up doing way more work than necessary.

  • No matter what you do or how you’re dressed, someone out there thinks you’re doing it wrong, and they can’t believe you’re wearing that. Someone else out there is really impressed with your accomplishments and fighting envy for your eyes, or hair, or outfit. Ignore it all. Do what’s right, as best as you can figure it out, and if you mess up, apologize, then get up and try again. “Defeated” is a choice (albeit an extremely tempting one sometimes). [mary.c.tillotson at gmail dot com]

  • You can’t compare yourself to others. You can, but it will only lead to heartache and self loathing. You’ve got to stop looking at other people’s accomplishments and focus on your own. Chances are you’ve done some good, and will get the chance to do greater. Life doesn’t stop in your 20s. [I’m @princess_merida on twitter]

  • I learned that bad things happen to good people.

  • Before Christ I was a; junky, alcoholic, sex addict, self absorbed, and depressed human being! One thing I have learned is… Give your life to Christ and never look back! I have been to 2 continents and 3 countries after my conversion on mission trips and the opportunity to study and receive my degree from a great catholic university, after I failed from 2 other colleges! To believe in Christ is hand ones life over and live it to the fullest!

  • Thanks Arleen for the wonderful post on 101 Secrets and I’m loving these secrets here in the comments. Awesome!

  • I’ve learned recently what a gift singlehood can be – particularly in growth in one’s prayer life. And after talking with young married couples, I’ve learned that one’s prayer life will never be the same after marriage (not unexpected since all of life changes after marriage).

    [aaron.ledgerwood at gmail dot com]

  • Your twenties should be a time of exploration, whether that be exploring the big wide world or exploring your first house. Through exploration, you discover more about yourself and who you really are, who you were meant to be. Your 20s are the building blocks to the rest of your life. I’m so grateful I’ve had this time to myself to think, to discover, and to explore. And I’m only half-way through my 20s! Can’t wait to see what the next 5 years of exploration shows me!