8 Books to Help You Win at Adulting

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle

Contributing Editor

Patricia Elzie-Tuttle is a writer, podcaster, librarian, and information fanatic who appreciates potatoes in every single one of their beautiful iterations. Patricia earned a B.A. in Creative Writing and Musical Theatre from the University of Southern California and an MLIS from San Jose State University. Her weekly newsletter, Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice offers self-improvement and mental health advice, essays, and resources that pull from her experience as a queer, Black, & Filipina person existing in the world. She is also doing the same on the Enthusiastic Encouragement & Dubious Advice Podcast. More of her written work can also be found in Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy edited by Kelly Jensen, and, if you’re feeling spicy, in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 4 edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel. Patricia has been a Book Riot contributor since 2016 and is currently co-host of the All the Books! podcast and one of the weekly writers of the Read This Book newsletter. She lives in Oakland, CA on unceded Ohlone land with her wife and a positively alarming amount of books. Find her on her Instagram, Bluesky, and LinkTree.

Sponsored by TarcherPerigee, publisher of F You Very Much by Danny Wallace.

A hilarious look at the rudeness that’s all around us—where it comes from, how it affects us and what we can do about it—from the brilliant comedic mind behind the hit movie Yes Man.

You’re not just imagining it: People are getting more rude—from cutting in line, gabbing on their phones and clipping their nails on public transportation, to hurling epithets on Twitter and in real life (including a certain President who does both). And the worst part is that it’s contagious…

Danny Wallace’s engaging and illuminating new book examines the scourge that’s turning normal people into bullies, tantruming toddlers, trolls, and other types of everyday monsters—and shares what we can do to stop the madness.

Let’s agree that we all can stand to improve our adulting in one way or another. While we may be A+ in some parts of our lives, other things may be more like a C at best. Maybe we want to have a cleaner home or whip our finances into shape. How can we advance our careers? Have better friendships? What do we need to do to achieve happiness? If you’re reading this then you’re probably a bit like me and you tend to turn towards books for answers. So, here’s a list of some books that will help you level-up your grownupness.

Unf*ck Your Habitat: You’re Better Than Your Mess by Rachel Hoffman

I have been a fan of the Unf*ck Your Habitat website for a long, long time. This isn’t your typical household organization book. UFYH helps normalize the mess and clutter that happens because of mental illness or just life getting in the way of cleaning. The UFYH way is against marathon cleaning and for putting things away and not just down and doing at least one thing. Take breaks and take care of yourself while you’re taking care of your space.

You Need a Budget: The Proven System for Breaking the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle, Getting Out of Debt, and Living the Life You Want by Jesse Mecham

No one is “naturally” good at personal finance. You know this, right? And if it’s not modeled for you growing up and you don’t learn it in school, it’s rare you learn it on your own. You Need a Budget began in 2004 as a website that taught the usefulness of author Jesse Mecham’s Four Rules for financial health. It then spread to a mobile app and now this book.

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen

This book is my bible. Less than 40 pages in, I was given tools to reframe my every day. When you change and focus your days, you change and focus your life. There is a “To Do” flowchart in here that is a total game-changer. You need this book, you just don’t even realize how much.

How to Stop Feeling Like Sh*t: 14 Habits That Are Holding You Back From Happiness by Andrea Owen

This book has a lot of real talk about the ways we lie to ourselves, sabotage ourselves, make excuses to ourselves, blatantly ignore ourselves, and many other things we do to stand in the way of our own happiness. Don’t let the unnecessary gendering of this book (it’s aimed toward women) keep you from reading it. These are things that all types of people can recognize in themselves, and this book not only describes these things but offers ways to stop the harmful cycles and work towards a happier you.

You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

This book is just full of truth bombs that, while the tone is entertaining, can be a real wake-up call for those who feel stuck where we are in life. With sharpness and wit, the author throws open the curtains so you can really examine your current situation, and then offers directions on not only how to move onward, but upward.

Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Stop Worrying About What You Should Do So You Can Finish What You Need to Do and Start Doing What You Want to Do (A No F*cks Given Guide) by Sarah Knight

By the same author who brought you The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck, Get Your Sh*t Together introduces readers to the elements of mental decluttering. Sarah Knight walks (curses?) readers through figuring out what f*cks to keep and what f*cks to let go of, including all those that stand in our way of getting sh*t done.

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

Mark Manson reaches through this book and attempts to save readers from the trap of “positivity” and place them into reality. Reality, where not everyone is special and sometimes things are shitty, yes, but where readers can finally address things head-on instead of swimming in the delusion that everyone is special and everything can be solved with sunshine and rainbows.

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

Lilly Singh has a very distinct voice, one which readers should be familiar with if they’re fans of her work on YouTube. Her advice has a wide range: some of it’s spot-on while other bits of it are questionable to say the least. What this book really has going for it is that Lilly Singh is an amazing cheerleader, and readers will definitely feel motivated to get their life moving after giving this a read.