cover image Your Turn: How to Be an Adult

Your Turn: How to Be an Adult

Julie Lythcott-Haims. Holt, $26.99 (496p) ISBN 978-1-250-13777-7

Lythcott-Haims, former dean of undergraduate advising at Stanford, follows up her 2016 How to Raise an Adult with this valuable guide to “adulting.” The author puts aside traditional markers of adulthood—education, employment, moving out, marriage, and children—in favor of a vision of becoming an adult as a “delicious” process of “wanting to, having to, and learning how” to fend for oneself, discover one’s passions, and find one’s chosen family. Refreshingly, Lythcott-Haims avoids talking down to readers and instead connects through vulnerability—particularly an illuminating anecdote about the author clashing with Stanford administrators, accepting criticism with maturity, and being rewarded with a large promotion for her candor in discussions. Narratives from successful people in the author’s extended network form the lion’s share of the text—including journalist Irshad Manji, a queer Muslim woman who shows how “moral courage” is the key to “being good at having tough conversations,” and a film agent who focused on community theater to revitalize a passion for his career—along with accounts from students she has counseled, family friends, and colleagues. Lythcott-Haims also shares sound workplace advice (prepare, play well with others, join the ecosystem, and find a mentor) and 16 principles of good character, among them “embrace that your purpose in life is to learn and grow.” Those overwhelmed by the demands of adulthood would do well to check this out. (Apr.)