Book Review: Twenty Someone: Finding Yourself in a Decade of Transition
By Craig Dunham & Doug Serven
Sitting down with a copy of TwentySomeone is like getting stuck between your two big brothers on the couch when they’re feeling wise and in advice-giving mode. You might occasionally give them the “and your point is…?” hand gesture, or feel a need to remind them that they’re not that far out of their twenties themselves,* but by the end of the conversation you realize (if you are wise) that you’re actually coming away with some really good advice you’d do well to heed.
(*Of course, when you start dispensing advice when you’re “too young” you run into credibility problems, but if a fifty-year-old writes a book for youngsters in their twenties, he gets, “What do you know about my life? You didn’t even have the internet in your twenties!” So a sage can’t win.)
Although a person is technically a “TwentySomeone” for ten years, this book will be best received by individuals in the early part of that decade, probably in college, and still wrestling with identity questions that will set the course for their adult lives.
The first part of the book addresses the twenties as a crucial time for building character, specifically the attributes of humility, integrity, teachability, and faithfulness. The second part deals with issues of worldview: developing a Biblical perspective on money, time, love/marriage, community, and success. In each chapter, solid and thought-provoking content is presented in a lighthearted and conversational manner. (For instance, the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Steve Miller Band are both quoted within pages of each other.) My favorite feature of each chapter was a bulleted list at the end entitled “Ideas of Things to Do,” giving specific suggestions for putting the principles of the chapter into action.
The authors suggest that the fundamental question for a TwentySomeone to grapple with is “Who am I?”. But they don’t answer the question with a bunch of personality inventories and psychological profiling, as if the answer to this question is fixed and out of one’s control; rather, each chapter takes a proactive tone. It might be better phrased to say that the crucial question to ask on the way into adulthood is, “In light of my particular talents, interests, and opportunities, who do I intend to become?” And then the reader is presented with practical and specific ways to get there.
So if you have a TwentySomething in your life who is fond of introspection (or who maybe needs a nudge in that direction), you should consider tucking this into their stocking. Buy it early so you can skim through it before you wrap it–even if you’re out of the target age range, you might pick up some helpful ideas for yourself!
Disclosure: I wrote this post because a friend loaned me his copy of this book and asked me for my honest thoughts. In other words, although a formal book review like this is a bit outside of my normal posting repertoire, you should know that I’m getting no kickbacks and I have no secret agenda. I just love talking about books!