The Next Right Thing Book Summary - The Next Right Thing Book explained in key points
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The Next Right Thing summary

Emily P. Freeman

A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions

4.1 (135 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman is a guide to making decisions with clarity, especially in times of uncertainty. It offers practical advice and reflections, encouraging readers to quiet the noise around them and listen to their inner voice.

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    The Next Right Thing
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    Doing the next right thing is about shifting your focus from outcomes to the present moment.

    Around her fortieth birthday, author Emily Freeman realized that she wanted to go to grad school. It wasn’t that she needed it to further her career, or even that something was lacking in her life. In fact, she had a job she loved and a family that she loved spending time with. She just thought that it would help her delve deeper into her journey of spiritual growth alongside like-minded people.

    Still, that didn’t feel like a legitimate answer to the oft-asked question of why she wanted to go to school. Though it was possible for her to take time off work, and her husband was supportive of the idea, the potential outcomes of the decision plagued her for weeks. If she were to enroll, she feared that the commitment would take a toll on her time with her family. But if she didn’t do the course, wouldn’t she regret it?

    Chances are, if you’ve ever had to make a difficult decision, you were similarly focused on the outcome. But what if there were another way to approach decision making?

    What if, instead of trying to control the future, you just tried to do the next right thing?

    Versions of this advice have been preached by everyone from Martin Luther King Jr. to Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s also a practice that can be observed in the actions of Jesus Christ.

    Think about when Jesus raises Jairus’s daughter from the dead in the Gospels. We might expect Jesus to deliver a sermon about how Jairus and his wife should kneel at the foot of God for the miracle, or about what the daughter’s life now has in store. Instead, he tells them to cook her lunch. This simple task was Jairus’s next right thing.

    That might seem like a banal request from the son of God, but it holds an important lesson – namely, that we should be focused on the present moment. Instead of agonizing over mapping out our futures, we would be better off living our lives one next right thing at a time.

    In the end, Freeman’s next right thing was to enroll in the grad program. Though she never found the clear-cut explanation for her decision that she had been seeking, she knew it was an opportunity both to grow into a fuller version of herself and to bring her closer to her faith.

    Your next right thing will likely look different than your neighbor’s. The following blinks will suggest some practices that might help you find yours.

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    Key ideas in The Next Right Thing

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    What is The Next Right Thing about?

    The Next Right Thing (2019) takes a fresh look at common decision-making wisdom. Drawing upon personal anecdotes as well as stories from the Bible, these blinks offer soulful advice to guide you through decision fatigue or chronic hesitation so that you can find your next right thing.

    The Next Right Thing Review

    The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman (2019) is a book that explores decision-making and finding clarity amidst life's uncertainties. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • Offers practical guidance on navigating difficult choices and finding peace in the midst of uncertainty.
    • Combines personal stories, reflections, and insights from various sources, making it relatable and thought-provoking.
    • Empowers readers to embrace the power of their own intuition and trust their instincts when making decisions.

    Best quote from The Next Right Thing

    The decision is rarely the point. The point is you becoming more fully yourself in the presence of God.

    —Emily P. Freeman
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    Who should read The Next Right Thing?

    • Christians interested in finding spiritual guidance
    • Recent graduates or people going through a time of transition
    • Ditherers looking to become more decisive

    About the Author

    Emily P. Freeman is the author of the Wall Street Journal best-selling books Simply Tuesday (2015) and A Million Little Ways (2013). Her podcast The Next Right Thing aims to enrich her listeners’ personal and spiritual lives.

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    The Next Right Thing FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Next Right Thing?

    The main message of The Next Right Thing is to make decisions amidst uncertainty with clarity and peace.

    How long does it take to read The Next Right Thing?

    The reading time for The Next Right Thing varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes a few hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Next Right Thing a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Next Right Thing is a worthwhile read for anyone seeking guidance in decision-making. It offers practical insights and helpful strategies.

    Who is the author of The Next Right Thing?

    The author of The Next Right Thing is Emily P. Freeman.

    What to read after The Next Right Thing?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Next Right Thing, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • You’re About to Make a Terrible Mistake! by Olivier Sibony
    • Decisive by Chip and Dan Heath
    • Farsighted by Steven Johnson
    • Start With Why by Simon Sinek
    • Effective Decision-Making by Edoardo Binda Zane
    • Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed
    • Slow Productivity by Cal Newport
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
    • Think Again by Adam Grant
    • The Other Significant Others by Rhaina Cohen