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When I was younger, I loved to read and I read mostly fiction books because I thought non-fiction books were boring.  As I get older, I’m starting to read non-fiction more and more often.

Non-fiction books can be just as fascinating as fiction stories, and they often contain useful information that we can apply to our own lives.

The five books below are anything but boring and they’re jam-packed full of actionable tips.  Here are five books every woman should read in her twenties.

Lean In

Written by the Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, Lean In is a must-read for both women and men.  In the book, Sandberg examines the ways that women are still unequal to men.

Despite making up more than 50% of the workforce today, women are still largely underrepresented in politics and executive-level leadership positions.   Women are also typically responsible for a larger share of child rearing and household chores than their husbands.

In Lean In, Sandberg describes the ways that women are held back and the ways that women hold themselves back.  Her advice to women is to start “leaning in” to their careers instead of “leaning out”.

For example, some women will decline opportunities for advancement at work because they expect to have a family at some point in the future.  This is much less common for men.

Sandberg recommends that women stop leaning out and instead start leaning in.  She also suggests that men should participate in 50% of the housework and childrearing responsibilities.

When women are responsible for a larger share of these duties, it may make it more challenging for them to prioritize their careers.

Thrive

While “leaning in” is important, it can be taken too far if someone becomes a workaholic.  In Thrive, Arianna Huffington, the successful and influential co-founder of The Huffington Post, describes her wake-up call.

After a nasty fall caused by exhaustion and lack of sleep, Huffington realized that she needed to redefine her definition of success.

Huffington describes how we typically measure “success” by money and power, and our relentless pursuit of these things has led to record numbers of stress-related illnesses.

She states that we need to find a third metric for success – one that she calls “thrive”.  “Thrive” includes our well-being, our ability to draw on our intuition and inner wisdom, our sense of wonder, and our capacity for compassion and giving.

Healthy Brain, Happy Life

In Healthy Brain, Happy Life neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki describes her journey from being an unhappy, overweight workaholic to becoming a healthy, happy woman.  Suzuki looks specifically at how our behavior can change our brains – and how a healthy brain leads to a happy life.

She states that there are three ways to make our brains work better: aerobic exercise, mindfulness/meditation, and rich/fulfilling relationships and experiences.

Suzuki explains how these three key activities activate our brains and allow us to think sharper, improve memory capacity, work with greater focus, and improve our moods.

Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking is an amazing read for introverts and extroverts alike.  If you’re an extrovert, it’ll help you to understand your introverted friends, family members, and coworkers better.  1 out of 3 Americans identifies as an introvert, so odds are quite high that someone you love is an introvert (even if they may not seem like one).

As an introvert, I was able to relate to just about everything in this book.  The author, Susan Cain, discusses how Americans value “The Extrovert Ideal” and often devalue introverts.   Introversion in children is often treated as a problem that needs to be “fixed”.

Cain argues that instead of trying to force introverts to go against their nature and pretend to be extroverts, we should instead nurture and value the many positive characteristics that introverts innately possess.

In addition to the book, I highly recommend Susan Cain’s Ted Talk called The Power of Introverts.

The Total Money Makeover

Of course I had to throw in a book about money ;)  If you’re going to read one personal finance book, make it The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.  It sounds cheesy, but this book completely changed my life and my perspective on money.

Prior to reading this book, I believed that debt was normal.  I didn’t think it was possible to live a life without payments.  This book is what inspired me to do the debt snowball and pay my student loans off over three years instead of 10 or 25.

What are some of your favorite non-fiction books?

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Personal Finance Resources:
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
YOLO: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life by Jason Vitug
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
It’s Only Money and It Does Grow on Trees by Cara MacMillan
Blogging Resources:
How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
365 Blog Topic Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox
ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income
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