Book Review: Before You Hit Send

Before You Hit Send:  Preventing Headache & Heartache, by Emerson Eggerichs

[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishing.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

There is a deep irony within this book, and that is that this book was written by the same gentleman who wrote Love & Respect and its family of books [1] but that the book largely fails on precisely those two grounds.  Make no mistake, this book is a failure.  It is not a failure in the sense that the book is useless, for it is very useful and contains a great deal of insight.  This book is a failure though because the author has an obvious goal of making a classic work that will both address key issues of communication in our times as well as do so from an enduring Christian perspective but comes off as being less than kind and less than respectful to his audience.  For most writers dealing with the issue of communication [2], a certain disrespect would not come off as so damaging, but this is an author who made his reputation on showing the importance of love and respect and here he simply drops the ball, and the context of the author’s work makes this more unpleasant to read than I thought would be the case.  By no means is this a bad book, but with a bit more sensitivity it could have been a far better book.

This book is about 240 small pages and is divided into four very straightforward questions that the author rather sensibly argues should govern every bit of communication we send:  Is it true?  Is it kind?  Is it necessary?  Is it clear?  In each chapter the author talks about how the principle is often ignored in our world, categorizes people based on how and why they ignore or fail to follow the principle, and then urges an approach to help the reader encourage themselves or others who have that particular failing for that particular reason in adopting more godly means of communication.  The author provides a lot of insight, much of it gained perhaps somewhat awkwardly by people oversharing on social media in response to the author’s Love & Respect books, but the tone of the book comes off as a bit critical and mean-spirited.  Even though the author speaks rather negatively about the approach of people who tell the truth bluntly or who say too much, the author shows both tendencies himself in this book.

Ultimately, the author seems a bit unaware of the tension between the four qualities of communication.  Speaking the truth, the whole, truth, and nothing but the truth, as the author speaks of in the first chapter, is in tension with the third principle of being economical with one’s truth and only saying what is necessary.  Likewise, the principle of focusing on kindness in communications is in tension with clarity of communications.  It is easy to see where people could go wrong in many different ways, and not necessarily because of moral failure.  It is, in the end, the author’s determination to label people by their communication habits that comes off as being the most unkind.  And since this is an author who claims the moral high ground in terms of the tone of his own communications, the way this book is structured comes off far worse than it would for someone who did not have the image of being focused on love or respect, neither of which is showed to the massive amount of people who would find themselves labeled in this book.  As is often the case in books like this, had the author been more modest in his own self-presentation, he would achieved more in actually showing the qualities he talks about in this book.  And in a book about communication, one cannot really tell effectively unless one shows the principles one purports to be an expert of.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014/01/02/book-review-love-and-respect-in-the-family/

[2] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/08/10/book-review-how-to-negotiate-with-kids/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/06/26/book-review-dealing-with-people-you-cant-stand/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/06/book-review-hidden-communion/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017/03/06/book-review-how-to-read-a-person-like-a-book/

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016/11/25/book-review-lonely-husbands-lonely-wives/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Book Reviews, Christianity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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