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The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter and How to Make the Most of Them Now Paperback – 2 Apr 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 239 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; Reprint edition (2 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446561754
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446561754
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.9 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,084 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

THE DEFINING DECADE is the book twentysomethings have been waiting for. It will not tell you what you should do with your life, but it will inspire, motivate, and educate you to figure it out.--Rachel Simmons, author of "The Good Girl"

THE DEFINING DECADE is eye-opening, important, and a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it.--Wendy Mogel, author of "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" and "The Blessing of a B Minus"

Meg Jay brings a sharp intellect, expertise on the life cycle, and extensive clinical experience to this powerful book. Age and time, she argues, are not malleable, even if people live longer and our culture believes that everything is possible. Reading this book will benefit clinicians, cultural commentators, and twentysomethings themselves.--Nancy Chodorow, author of "Individualizing Gender and Sexuality: ""Theory and Practice"


This fascinating, engaging book makes a convincing case that the twenties are the most transformative period of people's lives, and even better, shows readers how to get off the couch and live that decade well. It should be read by all young adults, their friends, their parents, their grandparents, their bosses, their siblings . . . really, by just about everyone!--Timothy D. Wilson, author of "Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change"

Expecting to experience the joy of freedom and self-discovery, many young men and women find instead confusion, loneliness, and anomie. Jay is just the sort of guide that these twentysomethings and their parents need: sensitive, thoughtful, and wise.--Kay Hymowitz, author of "Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys"

THE DEFINING DECADE is a must read for the twentysomething who is looking to build a meaningful, fulfilling, and rich life. Dr. Jay clearly illustrates some of the biggest mistakes we can make in our twenties. But more important she gives advice about how to make decisions that will set twentysomethings up for success in the workplace and intimate relationships in their thirties and beyond.--C. J. Pascoe, author of "Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School "

Listen to me closely. If you know someone already in or entering the third decade of life, or their parents, or their therapist, you must give them this book. Meg Jay slams a cultural corrective on our desk. Pay attention. The twenties are the defining decade of human life where the foundation of every future is laid...No one should turn thirty without having read this book.--J. Anderson Thomson Jr., MD; staff psychiatrist, University of Virginia, department of Student Health; co-author, "Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult's Guide to Facing Bipolar Disorder"


Meg Jay masterfully blends cutting-edge research and life stories of psychotherapy clients to make a compelling case that this age period is crucial for launching love and work. You will learn a lot from this book and it will spur you to seize control of your future now.--Avril Thorne, University of California, Santa Cruz

THE DEFINING DECADE does an excellent job of conveying the latest social science on twentysomething relationships and helping young adults to understand why these relationships can be so confusing and challenging...Young adults looking for insights about love, life, and marriage should turn to Dr. Meg Jay's engaging and insightful new book.--W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia

"Any recent college grad mired in a quarter-life crisis or merely dazed by the freedom of post-collegiate existence should consider it required reading." "Slate.com, Staff Pick""

"Meg Jay takes the specific complaints of twenty something life and puts them to diagnostic use." ""New Yorker"""

"The professional and personal angst of directionless twentysomethings is given a voice and some sober counsel in this engaging guide. While Jay maintains that facing difficulties in one's 20s 'is a jarring--but efficient and often necessary--way to grow, ' the author is sincere and sympathetic, making this well-researched mix of generational sociology, psychotherapy, career counseling, and relationship advice a practical treatise for a much-maligned demographic." ""Publishers Weekly """

"A clinical psychologist issues a four-alarm call for the 50 million 20-somethings in America.... A cogent argument for growing up and a handy guidebook on how to get there." ""Kirkus Reviews"""

"Excellently written, this book is sensitive to the emotional life of twentysomethings." ""Library Journal """

"THE DEFINING DECADE [is] just the wake up call many twentysomethings need." ""The Coffin Factory """

"Before reading THE DEFINING DECADE I didn't know enough about the importance of our twenties to be concerned that I could mess it all up. Now that I do, I could worry myself into paralysis, or, as Meg Jay suggests, grab life by the helm--even if I still have no idea in hell where I'm going. Without a doubt, "The Defining Decade "will leave you eager to embark on what I now see can be the most exciting odyssey of one's life." "Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, editor of "My Little Red Book"""

"THE DEFINING DECADE is the book twentysomethings have been waiting for. It will not tell you what you should do with your life, but it will inspire, motivate, and educate you to figure it out." "Rachel Simmons, author of "The Good Girl"""

"THE DEFINING DECADE is eye-opening, important, and a pleasure to read. I highly recommend it." "Wendy Mogel, author of "The Blessing of a Skinned Knee" and "The Blessing of a B Minus"""

"Meg Jay brings a sharp intellect, expertise on the life cycle, and extensive clinical experience to this powerful book. Age and time, she argues, are not malleable, even if people live longer and our culture believes that everything is possible. Reading this book will benefit clinicians, cultural commentators, and twentysomethings themselves." "Nancy Chodorow, author of "Individualizing Gender and Sexuality: ""Theory and Practice"""

"This fascinating, engaging book makes a convincing case that the twenties are the most transformative period of people's lives, and even better, shows readers how to get off the couch and live that decade well. It should be read by all young adults, their friends, their parents, their grandparents, their bosses, their siblings . . . really, by just about everyone!" "Timothy D. Wilson, author of "Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change"""

"Expecting to experience the joy of freedom and self-discovery, many young men and women find instead confusion, loneliness, and anomie. Jay is just the sort of guide that these twentysomethings and their parents need: sensitive, thoughtful, and wise." "Kay Hymowitz, author of "Manning Up: How the Rise of Women Has Turned Men into Boys"""

"THE DEFINING DECADE is a rare gem: a fresh, original contribution to the study of adult development that's also a pleasurable, almost effortless read." "Daphne de Marneffe, PhD, author of "Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life"""

"Blending the latest social science research with real life accounts of twentysomething clients and students, Jay provides valuable and compelling insights and direction for twentysomethings, their parents, and parents of future twentysomethings." "Leslie C. Bell, PhD, author of "Hard to Get: 20-Something Wom"en and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom.""

"THE DEFINING DECADE is a must read for the twentysomething who is looking to build a meaningful, fulfilling, and rich life. Dr. Jay clearly illustrates some of the biggest mistakes we can make in our twenties. But more important she gives advice about how to make decisions that will set twentysomethings up for success in the workplace and intimate relationships in their thirties and beyond." "C. J. Pascoe, author of "Dude, You're a Fag: Masculinity and Sexuality in High School """

"THE DEFINING DECADE does an excellent job of conveying the latest social science on twentysomething relationships and helping young adults to understand why these relationships can be so confusing and challenging...Young adults looking for insights about love, life, and marriage should turn to Dr. Meg Jay's engaging and insightful new book." "W. Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia""

"Meg Jay masterfully blends cutting-edge research and life stories of psychotherapy clients to make a compelling case that this age period is crucial for launching love and work. You will learn a lot from this book and it will spur you to seize control of your future now." "Avril Thorne, University of California, Santa Cruz""

"Listen to me closely. If you know someone already in or entering the third decade of life, or their parents, or their therapist, you must give them this book. Meg Jay slams a cultural corrective on our desk. Pay attention. The twenties are the defining decade of human life where the foundation of every future is laid...No one should turn thirty without having read this book." "J. Anderson Thomson Jr., MD; staff psychiatrist, University of Virginia, department of Student Health; co-author, "Facing Bipolar: The Young Adult's Guide to Facing Bipolar Disorder"""

"I strongly recommend THE DEFINING DECADE""for anyone in their 20s trying to figure out their life's direction. You'll learn how to search productively, how to avoid being indulgent, and how to turn good opportunities into great ones." "Po Bronson, author of "What Should I Do With My Life?," co-author of "Nurtureshock"""

"I strongly recommend THE DEFINING DECADE" "for anyone in their 20s trying to figure out their life's direction. You'll learn how to search productively, how to avoid being indulgent, and how to turn good opportunities into great ones." "Po Bronson, author of "What Should I Do With My Life?," co-author of "Nurtureshock"""

About the Author

Meg Jay, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult development, and twentysomethings in particular. She is an assistant clinical professor at University of Virginia, and maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dr. Jay earned a doctorate in clinical psychology, and in gender studies, from University of California, Berkeley.


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book states in the words of an experienced professional, the things that parents want to say and young people need to know, to get their lives on track before it is too late for them. It is particularly relevant now that most young people don't have a set pattern for their lives and they have to think for themselves.
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I read this in my early thirties and felt that a lot of the messages - about the rewards that come from sticking at difficult jobs, making commitments and generally acting like a grown-up even if you don't feel like one - were sensible and a good counterbalance to the messages you often get from misty-eyed old duffers/your mates/the telly about what being in your 20s 'should' be like.

That said - I think the key word is counterbalance. Some of the messages might strike some young women as a bit idealistic. Yes, it's important to factor starting a family, if you want one, into your plans, but some people won't have that option for financial reasons or lack of partners who're ready to settle down.

If you're in your 20s I'd say this is a great book to read as a spur to thinking about what kind of life you want in your 30s and beyond (and yep, I'm obliged to say it'll come sooner than you think) as long as you don't let it stress you out or make you think you should have a grand ten-year-plan (unless you want one, in which case, go for it).

Feeling a bit lost and rubbish in your 20s is not unusual, and if anything this book will reassure you that you're not alone.
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What I was hoping for was a step by step manual on how to get what I want. Obviously, the writer would have to know what I want.
What I actually got was so much better. I got a world, a space, a dialogue where what I feel inside is though of as obvious. In this book there is no question that dreams can be made true. I moved me from an anxious pressure to a readiness a practical cutting away of excuses and a warm 'I will make' because I have decided to make it feeling. I am forever grateful to Meg Jay for this and if there were any clinicians in the uk like her I would go straight to them but I am confident I can do it.
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Read this in two days on my train journeys to work. Added a sense of direction that was lost between graduating and being in full time employment. A very good read with examples and stats, albeit based on U.S studies.
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Just what I needed to read at 24 years of age, still living with parents and struggling to choose a direction in my life. This book gave me the courage and strength to get up and do something about my future. I felt like it had been personally written for me. I was worried it would be full of cliches and cheesy lines but it was the complete opposite. Frank, honest and inspiring. Have recommended to all of my friends.
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Rated four because of content. I bought the book after watching Meg Jay's TED talk. I wanted to follow through the talk with more detail. The book develops insights from Meg Jay's work, it is very thoughtful and sets out to help those in this group and those with family of friends in their 20's think through life purposes.
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At the age of 23 I have found myself taking a complete career change; a choice that no doubt will have a great impact on my future but causes much uncertainty at present. I have found The Defining Decade to be a hugely significant book to read during this time and have recommended it to many of my friends who find themselves in similar situations. It by no means tells you what to do, but by god does it give you the motivation to make necessary changes! A very sobering read, leaving me with lots to think about and do. Read it, digest it, and be inspired by it - I know I was!
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For the past several years newspapers (and Jay Z lyrics) have abounded with columns about how thirty has become the new twenty. The relatives and friends of twentysomethings are often all too willing to provide purportedly sage advice about how the twenties should be a period full of discovery and free of commitment; that the beginning of careers and families can now wait until an individual is in their thirties, or even their forties. In her book The Defining Decade, Dr. Meg Jay makes the case that this is not so.

In sections entitled ‘ work’, ‘love’ and ‘the brain and the body’, Dr Jay, a Clininal Psychologist who specialises in twentysomethings, argues that far from being a period free of consequence, the decisions that we make throughout our twenties will often have an exponential effect on the rest of our lives. Drawing upon numerous studies, Dr Jay claims that over eighty per cent of life’s defining moments will have taken place by the time an individual is thirty five and that over half of Americans are either married or with their future spouse by the time they hit thirty.

Whilst the book may prove to be difficult reading for some (notably readers in their thirties and beyond that have fallen foul to some of the errors in reasoning that Dr Jay advises against), few will find fault in her conclusions. The author does not advocate that every twenty something set about creating a detailed year by year plan to see them into their thirties but she does draw attention to a number of issues (career paths and changes in fertility, for example) that all would be well advised to bear in mind as they approach their fourth decade and beyond.
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