The Defining Decade by Meg Jay: Why Your Twenties Matter and How To Make The Most Of Them Now

Title – The Defining Decade; Why your twenties matter and how to make the most of them now

Author – Meg Jay, PhD

Publisher – Twelve

Format – ebook

Genre – Self help

Themes – quarter life crisis, identity capital, weak ties, cohabitation

I wouldn’t normally pick such a book on my own, but when my book club chose it as the BOTW, I promised to read it. I was in between books so it didn’t really matter that Ph.D. screams research and inspirational. Or that the cover looks like this. So imagine my surprise when I actually liked the book enough to give it a four-star rating.

The defining decade by Meg Jay. A book review on quarter life crisis
The Defining Decade by Meg Jay- cover page

The Defining Decade

This is a book tailored for someone in their twenties. Fresh out of college? Job hunting? In between jobs? Starting your business… This is the book for you. Personally, Meg Jay spoke to the need in me to make a decision. Lately, I’ve been feeling weary, growing up isn’t easy and 4hr traffic jams in Nairobi will have you quitting your job in the morning.

Uncertainty in your 20’s

Meg Jay will tell you that all that uncertainty you are currently experiencing is a generational thing. That raging storm that has you wanting to start a family one minute, party till Monday next second, pursuing your Masters the next day and traveling all over Africa all year is a twenties thing.

The Defining Decade tells you that this is the time to learn new things, dramatically advance your career and have kids. Yes, the reality is, by your thirties, you will have a decreased chance of conceiving, and if you do it might be too expensive. You are also more likely to settle for anyone that comes along at that age.


Your 20’s are your golden years and you should make the most of them. Life doesn’t begin at 30, sorry. Want to be the Branch Manager of your bank at 35, start now, invest in your career. Meg Jay insists that about two-thirds of lifetime wage growth happens in the first 10 years of our career. Imagine if you start at 22? She also talks about avoiding gaps in your CV.

If you can, maximize the time you spend with organizations that will count as experience to your dream job. For instance, do not spend 3 years in customer service if you picture yourself as a web designer at 35. Interning at Google makes more sense from a recruiter’s point of view.

The Strength of Weak Ties

Weak ties are like bridges you cannot see all the way across, so there is no telling where they might lead. Click To Tweet

According to Meg Jay Ph.D. on The Defining Decade, your most authentic advancements will come from people you have no intimate connection with. That friend in high school whose WhatsApp status you just swipe is the perfect person to hook you up with that job at Deloitte you are dreaming of.

I can attest to that. I’ve had 3 job offers and in those 3 instances, I did not even know the person who suggested I send in my application. Tired of giving your well-manicured CV to your relatives? Make new connections, exploit your weak ties, travel, and expand your circle. Truth is, you have squeezed out the potential in your inner circle. Don’t hang out with the same people all the time and expect different results.

Alternative cover page

Is 28 too late?

However, the most interesting thing about The Defining Decade is that even if you are 28 you still have a chance. Not all is lost. Wherever you are, whatever you want, start there. You do not have to spend hours with Meg Jay and co to discover where you went wrong. A session will set you back lots in dollars. Make a plan, start now, in your 20’s.

I am marking this book as a must-read because it is simply necessary. The life lessons from live sessions with Meg Jay’s clients will speak directly to you. The Defining Decade will have you know your twenties are the best years to reintroduce yourself. It will have you know you are not alone in that uncertainty and leave you feeling better about what to do about it.

Also, this book had so many actionable quotes that I am making a separate post just for my favorite quotes separately. Sign up to know when that post gets published. Also, have you read the Defining Decade by Meg Jay? Did you like it? What other books would you suggest for anyone in their 20’s?


  • Appearance and Art
  • Grammar and Vocabulary
  • Plot and Organization
  • Author Authenticity
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