This Book Changed My Life (Before It Was A Book)

My review of The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman

{image by Myquillyn Smith and provided by The Next Right Thing book launch team}

Heads up: I loved this book — adored it — and want you to love it, too. It’s currently #2 on Amazon in its category, with good reason.

You can buy it anywhere books are being sold, and I also provide some easy links near the end through which you can purchase. Ordering before April 2nd, 2019, snags you several free + beautiful companion offerings. Blah blah blah…okay, moving on.


That feeling of pulling a long-anticipated book out of it’s yellow manila mailer-jacket? Nothing. Like it.

That how I felt this afternoon when I slid Emily P. Freeman’s new offering out of the envelope - The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions. This was my pre-release copy, as I read and reviewed a digital version last month, and it was a total treat to get my hands on it early, since it doesn’t hit shelves until April 2nd.

To say this book has changed my life is an understatement.

But let’s back up.

This book was born out of Emily P. Freeman’s work on a podcast, by the same title. I was introduced to the podcast in the autumn of 2017, when it was 20 episodes young.

A month or so later, while digging in the archives, I heard episode five of the podcast, “Offer Your Work With Hope.” That episode, without question, is the reason I am writing today.

I felt I finally had permission to embrace writing as one of the purposes for which God created me.

I experienced a moment of such intense relief, and adrenalized joy, it brought me to tears.

Because I finally felt able to call myself what I was made to be, I have continued to write, and have begun to see it as a gift to give away.


Fast-forward to now, and the podcast has become a book.

{image by Myquillyn Smith and provided by The Next Right Thing book launch team}

The topics Emily explored via the spoken word have been curated into a volume of gentle wisdom and steady hope.

Subtitled as “a simple soulful practice for making life decisions,” The Next Right Thing may not provide the answers to the decision you’re facing (then again, it totally might); but it will lay out an array of helpful tools for understanding:

  • why a decision weighs on you
  • what you can actually do while you wait for clarity in the decision
  • how you can carry your questions into the presence of a God who loves you

My biggest personal takeaway from the book was being reminded of how often I allow a twisted version of God, and a doubting of his love, to overshadow both my decisions and my perspective of him.

This warped viewpoint trickles down into every layer of my life. It affects how I view my marriage, my motherhood, my friendships, my difficult relationships, my work, and my very own soul.

I believe this book is about far more than decision-making. The choices we plunge into on a daily basis are simply the vehicle Emily was able to use to bring us face to face with this truth:

“The point is becoming more fully ourselves in the presence of God, connecting with him and with each other, and living our lives as though we believe he is good and beautiful.”

This book was a reminder of “the big picture,” and how our tiny, fragmented pieces of that picture can be a lens through which we look to see the goodness and love of God.

I will be giving copies of the book as gifts this year and I’d love to experience a book club around its pages — this is actually a goal of mine for the upcoming summer months.


{image by Myquillyn Smith and provided by The Next Right Thing book launch team}

Here are a few peripheral, practical takeaways:

Easy to read

As much as I love reading (and I love it — my idea of a vacation is going someplace cozy with a bag full of fresh books to read, and that’s about it), I still appreciate being able to catch a few words on the go. Seriously, who doesn’t love something with short chapters?

I was very happy with how the material was separated out into digestible chunks, able to be enjoyed for several hours, or just for a few minutes at a time. I could cover most chapters in 5 minutes.

Practices and prayers

Each chapter ended with a short and peaceful prayer, and a simple “practice” — a point of easily-accessed application that gave some handles to the concept covered in the chapter.

Honestly, these were actually one of my favorite parts of the book…which I found weird. That’s not usually my thing. I’ve just never been able to get into printed prayers, especially.

But they’re just…beautiful. They brought a sense of calm into my world, every time.

Quotes

Some authors are gifted in their ability to discover powerful quotes, and then weave them into a text in a creative and meaningful manner. Emily P. Freeman is one of those people. Thoughtfully-used quotes bring richness to any narrative, and The Next Right Thing is a perfect example.

Story-telling

Story is what keeps us turning the pages and moving forward in a book. In The Next Right Thing, every chapter tells a story, whether born out of Emily’s personal experiences, something she saw or heard, or a scripture passage. The story, long or short, is then gently connected to some aspect of decision-making.

No dust jacket

This one is petty, and I do not apologize. I HATE book dust jackets. They’re so sloppy and crinkly and constantly getting in the way.

Yet, this book is a lovely, sturdy hardcover minus that awful dust jacket, and without losing any of the admitted perks — the inside synopsis and author bio and photo are still part of the package.


The book releases April 2nd, and because I pre-ordered {affiliate link}, I am receiving not only another copy of the hardcover book, but also several valuable, free gifts:

  • The audio book (say whaa?! Yep, for the price of the book I get both!) read by the author, whose voice is ah-mazing. Content aside, she’s my all-time favorite podcasting voice to listen to.
  • A behind-the-scenes video (which I have not yet watched)
  • An online, self-paced companion video course called Discern & Decide, with printable workbook

I was impressed with the value of the freebies — the audio book alone was quite an offering in my opinion, as those aren’t cheap!

The Next Right Thing is available on Amazon {affiliate link}, B&N, at nextrighthingbook.com, etc.

If you want the bonuses — audio book, Discern & Decide video course, and behind-the-scenes video — , you will want to pre-order (anywhere) before April 2nd, AND claim the bonuses before April 2nd at nextrightthingbook.com.


If you’re interested in reading through it with a book club, let me know! I’m considering reading through it with a local group, and then with non-locals via Voxer or Zoom or something.

Have you ever done a book club? Do reviews ever influence your decisions on a book you haven’t read? And, all importantly, do you HATE dust jackets?