Review: The Defining Decade

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, PhD
Twelve (Hachette Book Group), 2012

I don’t normally read non-fiction books, but this is relevant to anyone in their twenties, including myself.  The Defining Decade outlines why our twenties are an important time in our lives.  What we do in our twenties will determine the rest of our lives.  Now is the time to think about the future.

In her book, Dr. Jay talks about the different areas of life, including work, love, and the brain and the body.  While all of the information is useful and informative, I want to share with you the points that stood out to me most.

1.  “Take the job with the most capital.” (13)
When you have two (or more) opportunities, it is always wise to take the job that will be more beneficial to you in the long run.  If you can either get a job at the local fast-food restaurant or at a respected company that can start your career, the choice is obvious: you take the job that can start your career.  Especially after graduation, it is important not to flounder at little jobs instead of getting your career started.  As Dr. Jay writes, these jobs “signal to future employers a period of lostness” (11).  This can hurt you.  Don’t avoid a real job after graduation.

2.  “Make yourself interesting. Make yourself relevant.” (31)
Weak ties are people we have met, but don’t know well. Many times, they can help us and are willing to do so.  All we have to do is ask a favor.  The connections we have will only be beneficial to us if we use them.  But, in order to use your connections, you must make yourself interesting and relevant to your weak ties.

3.  “Twentysomethings who don’t feel anxious and incompetent at work are usually overconfident or underemployed.” (147)
Basically, it’s okay to feel anxious and incompetent at work.  After graduation, the workplace is a new and foreign environment that you are thrust into.  Of course you are going to feel anxious and incompetent.  It’s normal.  As you learn and gain experience, then you will gain confidence in your abilities to get the job done.

Rating: 5 stars

This book really made me think about my life and what direction I am going.  Everyone is going to take away something different from this book because it covers a lot of important topics and everyone is in a different place in their life.  If you are in your twenties, I definitely recommend that you read this book.

What did you take away from this book?

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Defining Decade

  1. I wish I had found a book like this as I exited my teenage years. I am now 31 and I rejoiced at turning 30 – to me, this is the decade of my life where things get serious and I embrace life for what it is. My twenties were a nightmare!

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