How To Be An Adult

  • This book is available for purchase HERE


written by Nerissa Nields
Illustrated by Katryna Nields
Available in paperback and e-book on
all Nields shows
some local bookstores
and The Nields website

Praise For How To Be An Adult

“This is a magical book. Nerissa Nields manages to combine the essence of “Hints from Heloise” with a spiritual wisdom reminiscent of Sharon Salzburg or Byron Katie, leavened with the humor of Anne Lamott. Every twenty-something (and many 40- or 50-year-olds, as well) should own and read How to Be an Adult.”

– Judith Hooper
author of Of Moths and Men and The 3-Pound Universe

“How To Be An Adult is packed with information required to make it in the real world where a person needs to rent an apartment, vote, set up a 401(K) and buy those eggs. If you know anyone who is graduating soon, buy them a copy of this book. It might be more useful than a car.”

– Gay Daly
environmental journalist, author of Preraphaelites in Love

About the Book

Nerissa Nields wrote How To Be An Adult to help college graduates, and young men and woman at just about any stage in their newly independent lives, to navigate those aspects of life one doesn’t learn in a typical liberal arts education. And just as she knows firsthand the benefits of running her own record company to distribute and market her music CDs, she has chosen to publish this book under her own imprint, Mercy House Publishing.

The idea for this book dates back to 1991 when Nerissa’s sister Katryna graduated from college with no clue how to do anything vaguely grown-up, except drive a car. But she didn’t know how to take care of the car, or how to change its registration when she moved, or how to get health insurance, or how put together a balanced meal. Naturally, she turned to her older sister, Nerissa, who ultimately wasn’t much help. “Can we go to the bookstore and find a book called How to Be an Adult?” she asked. They did go to the bookstore, and even though there was a book by that title (a handbook for psychological growth by David Richo), it was not what she wanted. So Katryna decided she and Nerissa should write such a book. But that meant they would have to do research, and as they were too busy driving around the country in a 15-passenger van trying to get famous in their folk-rock band, The Nields, the project was shelved.

Fast-forward 15 years. Nerissa is pregnant and Katryna is the mother of two kids. Neither of them knows how to be an adult, but they’ve been passing pretty effectively for several years now (at least they fooled Katryna’s kids). But something about being pregnant lit a fire under Nerissa, and she decided the time had come to finally write this book. She figured the research would do her good. The book first came out in 2008 on Levellers Press, and it was a best-seller on that imprint. Nerissa also sold the book from the stage and from some local bookstores, and word of mouth and feedback were so strong and consistent that it occurred to Nerissa to make the book an ebook. But as soon as she got back into the project, she was struck by how much she had learned in the five years since the book first came out. And so she went about revising. The new book—available as both ebook and paperback––reflects her very latest research. The ebook is chock full of links, which makes it especially useful to today’s college student or post-grad.

Through her own personal history, Nerissa touches on most milestones – large and small – people pass on their road to independent adulthood. Nerissa does not claim to be an expert, just someone resourceful and determined; and someone who learned from plenty of her own mistakes along the way. Some of the topics covered, for which practical and oftentimes real life lessons, answers and advice from Nerissa and a variety of wise contributors are provided, include:

How To…

  • Figure out what you want to be when you grow up
  • Get a job
  • Get along with annoying people
  • Take care of yourself, inside and out (nutrition, exercise, mental health, etc.)
  • How to be a good citizen of the world (and lower your carbon footprint)
  • Rent an apartment
  • Choose a pet
  • Keep your house clean (enough)
  • Fix a broken toilet
  • Have a swell dinner party
  • Cook lots of yummy things
  • Budget and save
  • Get insurance-health, auto, life
  • Take care of your car
  • Register to vote
  • Date
  • Get married
  • Get divorced

And some final thoughts on parenthood

For additional press queries, please contact Michaela O’Brien by:
phone: 413-587-0713
or Email

To book Nerissa and Katryna for speaking engagements on How to Be an Adult, please contact Patty Romanoff by:
phone: 413-527-9393
or Email


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