The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter--And How to Make the Most of Them Now

by Meg Jay

Paperback(Revised ed.)

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The Defining Decade has changed the way millions of twentysomethings think about their twenties—and themselves. Revised and reissued for a new generation, let it change how you think about you and yours.

Our "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are an extended adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. In The Defining Decade, Meg Jay argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized the most transformative time of our lives.

Drawing from more than two decades of work with thousands of clients and students, Jay weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to take the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, identity and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood—if we use the time well.

Also included in this updated edition: 

  • Up-to-date research on work, love, the brain, friendship, technology, and fertility
  • What a decade of device use has taught us about looking at friends—and looking for love—online
  • 29 conversations to have with your partner—or to keep in mind as you search for one
  • A social experiment in which "digital natives" go without their phones
  • A Reader's Guide for book clubs, classrooms, or further self-reflection

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538754238
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 03/16/2021
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 23,333
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Meg Jay, PhD, is a Clinical Psychologist and an Associate Professor of Human Development at the University of Virginia who specializes in twentysomethings. She earned a doctorate in clinical psychology and in gender studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Her books, The Defining Decade and Supernormal, have been translated into more than a dozen languages and her work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review and on NPR and BBC. Her TED talk "Why 30 is Not the New 20" is among the most watched to date.

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Updated Edition xv

Preface: What Is the Defining Decade? xix

Introduction: Real Time xxi


Identity Capital 3

Weak Ties 17

The Unthought Known 33

My Life Should Look Better on Instagram 43

The Search for Glory 52

The Customized Life 61


An Upmarket Conversation 75

Picking Your Family 89

On Dating Down 98

The Cohabitation Effect 115

Being in Like 128

Twenty-Nine Conversations 139

The Brain and the Body

Forward Thinking 153

A Social Experiment 163

Calm Yourself 177

Outside In 190

Getting Along and Getting Ahead 199

Every Body 209

Do the Math 226

Epilogue: Will Things Work Out for Me? 237

Reader's Guide 241

Acknowledgments 251

Notes 255

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