Funnily enough, I found this book through one of those Twitter threads that goes like: I just turned 24!! What’s one piece of advice you have for someone my age? It’s not the type of book I would normally read, but I had a long flight ahead of me and was in the mood for something different. I found the book to be interesting and a little tension-inducing, despite me generally agreeing with most of the principles put forward.
Jay starts by saying that 80% of life’s most defining moments occur by age 35. To a great extent, our lives are dictated by far-reaching twenty-something moments we may not realize are happening at all.
Part 1: Work
In the early innings of your career, focus on building identity capital by doing interesting things. These experiences will help you get to the next piece of capital and so on, leading you to where you want to be. She also talks about weak vs. strong ties. Spending time exclusively with strong ties can limit who and what we know, how we talk, and ultimately how we think. Weak ties can provide access to something fresh, as they frequently introduce new ways of thinking. Weak ties are like bridges you can’t see all the way across, so there’s no telling where they might lead.
Part 2: Love
Marriage is one of the most defining moments because so much is wrapped up in it. People have a tendency to put off thinking about marriage in their 20s, until they turn 30 and a switch flips. As a 20-something, the choices you make regarding your family will define the decades ahead. Jay talks about the cohabitation effect, an interesting phenomenon where couples who live together prior to marriage are less satisfied with their marriages and are more likely to divorce than couples who do not. This definitely goes against conventional wisdom, but I do also think it is very circumstantial.
Jay also talks about dating down / working down - these people typically have unedited stories about themselves from their teenage years that do not reflect who they are today. One reason this happens is that the brain of a 20-year-old is still developing and is often underdeveloped in the forward-thinking aspect. This leads to people undervaluing themselves in the present. The 20-something brain is also highly primed to learn new things. Our personalities also change more during the 20-something years than at any other time in our life.
The topic of kids is also discussed. As a 24-year-old, I thought this would be completely irrelevant but Jay makes some interesting points. Fertility drops sharply in the 30s, so don’t put off thinking and planning for kids. By the time you start, it may be too late. Related to this, Jay warns 20-somethings to not let present bias overcome them. Identify things you want in your 30s and 40s, and work backward from this.
Finally, there are two quotes from the book that particularly resonated with me: