The Defining Decade

Thirty is NOT the new twenty.

Drawing from more than ten years of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, Dr. Jay weaves the science of the twentysomething years with compelling, behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. She shares what psychologists, sociologists, neurologists, reproductive specialists, human resources executives, and economists know about the unique power of our twenties and how they change our lives. The result is a provocative and sometimes poignant read that shows us why our twenties do matter. Our twenties are a time when the things we do–and the things we don’t do–will have an enormous effect across years and even generations to come.

The Defining Decade is published by Twelve, an imprint of Hachette Book Group USA.

A clinical psychologist issues a four-alarm call for the 50 million 20-somethings in America, “most of whom are living with a staggering, unprecedented amount of uncertainty.”

Hooking up, hanging out and generally holding off adulthood seemed like a viable option to the many damaged, distraught and depressed 20-somethings who found themselves desperate for help inside the author’s office in Charlottesville, Va. Here Jay artfully coalesces much of her in-office therapy sessions into three easily accessible yet provocative sections: “Work” sets a reasonable timeline on career goals, “Love” puts Cupid on the clock and “The Brain and the Body” provides physiological reasons why it’s so important to seize the day. Real-life stories (and some composites) from Jay’s practice aid in convincing, cajoling and maybe even conniving 20-somethings into realizing that there is no time to kill, and that what happens between the teen years and age 30 matters a lot. If nothing else, it’s just harder to do everything later on. The warning, at times almost shrill, is probably justified given the stakes and often-clueless individuals who need motivation. For all those still looking up the hill at 30 (and even those standing on that hill), Jay provides indispensable life coaching. Forget all the balderdash about “30 being the new 20,” the author writes; time still waits for no man, or woman: “There are no guarantees. So claim your adulthood. Be intentional. Get to work. Pick your family. Do the math. Make your own certainty. Don’t be defined by what you didn’t know or didn’t do.”

A cogent argument for growing up and a handy guidebook on how to get there.

Kirkus Reviews

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