Book Review: 20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves

20 Things We’d Tell Our Twenty-Something Selves, by Kelly & Peter Worrall

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by Moody Publishers.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

Although I did not find this book to be perfect, overall I thought this was an excellent book by two people looking back on their early adulthood from the point of view of about ten years or so in the future and giving some thoughtful advice to younger people.  Overall, this book comes with the approach of giving thoughtful advice on how those in and just leaving college can live godly lives [1].  Much of this advice hit home for me because it dealt with my own concerns, such as the risks of being known for reading unusual materials [2], and struggles with anxiety [3] and the search for mentors [4].  The best praise I can give this book is that while I would have used my own stories instead of the authors that if I had to tell my twenty-something self twenty things, I would include a lot of the things that the authors told, and I know of little better praise I can give to a book like this.  Perhaps selfishly, I tend to think highly of those whose thinking process is at least mostly similar to my own.

The 250 or so pages of this book are largely filled with the writing of a husband and wife team who are providing the advice.  Much of the advice is pretty straightforward, although that makes it no less necessary.  Young people, and people in general, are prone to neglecting that which is obviously important–examining our spiritual foundation, remaining teachable, choosing our community carefully, feeding ourselves, fostering good habits, learning to rest, being patient, not worrying, adjusting our expectations, taking the right kind of risks, evaluating our emotions, pressing into pain (rather than running away with it), taking sin seriously, embracing grace, seeking healing, living loved, cultivating an eternal perspective, making God’s glory our goal, and preparing to be amazed, among others.  Some of these are likely to be frequent struggles for people long after their twenties are over–the authors freely admit that rest is a problem for them, and speaking for myself there are at least a few of these that I do not do particularly well in.  Likely other readers, whether old or young, will feel the same.  The authors write in a way that is mostly confessional but they avoid telling at least some painful details even if it is clear that they had a bumpy road to their current offices of honor and respect.

Although much of this book is somewhat heavy, the authors do include a humorous note in the afterword about not needing perms, which is a light touch that this book could have used more of.  The authors show themselves in one of the chapters to be too enamored with Hellenistic philosophical thinking and too dismissive of the biblical Sabbath, but thankfully these moments of antinomian Hellenistic Christianity are few and far between.  For the most part, this is a book of solid advice that is worthy of being taken seriously.  As someone with at least a few regrets as to how my twenties turned out, much of which was spent in deep depression after the death of my father, and someone whose thirties are not proving to be a particularly glorious decade either, this book was a bittersweet and somewhat poignant look at time lost to the past, as well as a thoughtful reminder of what needs to be done in the time of my life that remains.  Many readers will likely feel not so different from me in that regard.

[1] See, for example:




About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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