Love, life, and more: these 4 books are what every millennial woman needs to find her way

Millennial women don’t have it easy: be it pressures to settle down or conform to unrealistic standards of beauty, they are under much scrutiny. But these books will help them find ways to live life the way they should.

Let’s face it: millennials get a bad rap for everything.

Why is eating out so expensive of late?

“These millennials hype up a restaurant with their Instagram check-ins.”

Why do companies have such high attrition rates these days?

“Millennials hate hard work and quit when the going gets tough.”

Most of these accusations may be unfair as each generation deals with its own set of challenges. And for the millennials it is finding their true identity in a noisy world. This is more so for a millennial woman navigating her way through life, for even as this generation spearheaded much change in status quo, everyday sexism is well and truly alive.

As a millennial women myself, I have gained much from books, which have helped me face the many unique challenges strewn in my generation’s path. There is wisdom in the written word, be it to finding your sense of self, your purpose, or just living a great life.

Here are HerStory’s top picks for the millennial woman to take control of her life and live in the moment:

You Are Here by Thich Nhat Hanh

This book, bursting with colourful page flags and notes, has a permanent place on my bedside table. Though I read it a year ago, I still leaf through it almost every week, because it has changed my life. In the times of instant gratification and carefully constructed online personas, it is difficult for anyone to truly live every moment mindfully.

In this slim book, Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh distills Buddhist practices for mindfulness in the most accessible way possible. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee (nominated by Martin Luther King Jr, no less), this monk gently guides you through practical ways of applying the Buddhist way of meditation and living. And it is wisdom that doesn’t stop giving as I notice that I still strive to follow everything the book taught me.

If you as a millennial woman are struggling to be happy and find ways to savour everyday joys, this is the book for you. It will teach you how to eat, pray, love, but most of all, live. Live in a way that you don’t miss the beauty of a spray of fuchsia bougainvillea flowers on your way to work, or how comforting a plate of dal rice can be - experiences that may be commonplace but when lived with mindfulness become things of sheer joy.

Also read: 4 unconventional books on motherhood to read this Mother’s Day

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

The gig economy and startup life has been enthusiastically embraced by the millennial generation. We want to have unfettered lives that will allow us to swap a brightly lit office cubicle for a ‘workcation’ by the beach. But along with this freedom to work on their own terms, millennials are faced with unique challenges of motivation and creative blocks.

Startup founders, mostly from the millennial generation, are doing great things, solving real problems faced by people. But the startup way of functioning also requires you to be a self-starter, always teeming with ideas that will not make you a ‘me-too’ company.

In Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, author Elizabeth Gilbert hits the nail on the head by debunking the myth that creativity just ‘happens’ or is a great byproduct of mind-altering substances. Creativity takes work, and tapping it would require habit formation and dedication. Gilbert asks you to approach your creative inclinations with the playfulness and wide-eyed curiosity of a child.

She complements this with practical ways to unleash creativity in your work, even if you are not someone doing what is conventionally considered creative: a musician, writer, or an artist. This is a great book for young people who may feel limited in their scope to contribute to great ideas and will gently prod them out of the proverbial box.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

The publishing industry is ridden with memoirs by women, but what makes Wild stand out is that speaks to every woman who is labouring under society’s expectations, so much so that she no longer knows who she is.

At the young age of 22, author Cheryl Strayed was shattered after her mother’s death. Dealing with unparalleled grief, a scattered family, and a marriage in shambles, Strayed was worn out and giving up on life when she decided to do the unthinkable, and what many would call foolish: hike and backpack through the Pacific Crest Trail. Alone.

What follows is an honest, beautiful account of her struggles and triumphs, laced with snapshots of how the decision to go it alone in the wild helped her cope with loss and grief. From pooping in bushes to nursing blisters on worn-out feet, Strayed’s backpacking trip helped prove to herself, more than anyone else, that she had what it takes to handle anything life threw her way.

This memoir on conquering one’s fear, the resulting catharsis, and the ultimate healing will lift millennial women’s spirits as they hurtle through life, avoiding all the obstacles that are laid out for them. This book will also show you that despite everything, life is beautiful, and worth living.

Wild has been made into a blockbuster film starring Reese Witherspoon, but as it almost always goes, the book is way better than the movie. Read it!

Also read: Be a girlboss! YouTuber Saloni Srivastava tells millennials how with tips on personal finance, diets, self-care, and more

Earth is Hiring: The New way to live, lead, earn and give for millennials and anyone who gives a sh*t by Peta Kelly

Even as millennials succumb to society’s traps many times, they are on the constant lookout for their true calling and purpose, and hoping to find meaningful work and relationships. No longer driven by money alone, this generation is looking for ways to make a real difference.

This book is for every millennial woman who is looking at ways to live life beyond the usual grind of 9-to-6 shifts, happy hours, and Netflix binging. It is a raw, honest appeal to millennials to rise above their stations and solve problems that require this generation’s skillset and prowess.

At the heart of the book, author Peta Kelly, without being preachy, tells her readers how to Live, Lead, Earn, and Give. The passages on money and success as we know it will align with a millennial hippie’s heart. Or for those drowning in consumerism and social media superficialities, this book can be the hand that leans to pull you off a cliff you’re hanging from.  

Also read: Trillion Dollar Coach: leadership lessons from Silicon Valley’s legendary coach Bill Campbell


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