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One Good Deed: Book Review

One Good Deed: 365 days of trying to be just a little bit better

By Erin McHugh

ISBN:  978-1-4197-0417-8 (alk. paper)

Published by: Abrams Books, USA

Book received via: Net Galley

At the age of 52, Erin McHugh decided to actively pursue her dream of writing books. Consequently, she was unable to spend time on the volunteer work and activism that she did in the past. Influenced by a family connection with a  newly canonized Saint – Brother Andre Bessette, she thought she could do something good for someone every day.  She decided to keep a diary of her deeds and that is how One Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying to Be Just a Little Bit Bettercame about.

Starting on her birthday she begins to share the good deed she did for the days that follow. It’s simple things like stopping off patronize a lemonade stand run by kids or giving up her prized window seat in a bus to allow an elderly couple to sit together. Sometimes her good deed is not reacting to provocation. “What’s so great about that?” you ask. Try it at home and let me know. 😉

One of Erin’s ‘deeds’ I appreciated was when she went to a restaurant and kept waiting for her order. Finally, she was told that since it had taken so long, it would be on the house. She was naturally happy. When the food came it was really delicious. Erin offered to pay for it. The waitress came back saying that the offer for free food still stood. Erin left a generous tip for the waitress. I thought there were a lot of things that happened in this one deed – she did not yell at the restaurant staff (as I might have), she had a good meal, her offer to pay for it must have made the management happy, their refusal made Erin happy and the waitress got a tip which made her happy, I’m sure.  It just goes to show that one good deed can create ripples of goodness.

I liked Erin’s style of writing – chatty, engaging and you feel that you know her having had a walk-through of 365 days of her life. What’s more the ‘good deeds’ are things that everyone of us can do – everyday acts of kindness that make us better human beings and consequently the world a better place.

One Good Deed: 365 Days of Trying to Be Just a Little Bit Better is a book I’d like to  keep and read everyday for inspiration. For the purpose of the review, I had to read it in a few days time. But I’ll make sure to read it again slowly and be inspired. It’s the kind of book that will inspire me to take up a similar project – I can feel it coming on already. Stay tuned. Better still get yourself a copy – be inspired – and take up your own One Good Deed project.

May you be inspired – every day!


  1. […] kindness is not a one day affair. It must become a way of life. I reviewed a book called ‘One Good Deed‘ a couple of years ago that suggested you could do one good deed a day and gave several ideas […]

  2. […] kindness is not a one day affair. It must become a way of life. I reviewed a book called ‘One Good Deed‘ a couple of years ago that suggested you could do one good deed a day and gave several ideas […]

  3. Erin McHugh Erin McHugh July 31, 2012

    Corinne, you totally “get it” — and it looks like your readers do, too! Thanks for your kind words!

  4. AdrienneSmith AdrienneSmith July 30, 2012

    Now that sounds like a book I would enjoy Corinne.  Thanks for sharing this one and will put it on my wish list.

  5. hudakcollins hudakcollins July 29, 2012

    Wonderful post Corinne!  I believe doing something like that would allow us to look at little closer at what we do and how we act sometimes without even realizing it.  I think it would be a great challenge….I wonder if I could get my son to do it with me.  That would be fun to sit down each weekend and see what we have done ☺

  6. privytrifles privytrifles July 28, 2012

     @CorinneRodrigues Definately…will be waiting for it..BTW can I request you for an autographed copy right now itself 😉

  7. rachhoyt rachhoyt July 28, 2012

    I saw her book and wanted to buy it but am too overwhelmed by all the stuff I already bought and haven’t read.  🙂  I’m glad to learn her book is as I imagined.  I am a firm believer in these types of good deeds.  It would and does make the world a better place.  That scene you described in the restaraunt… usually only servers who happen to be the customer are that nice to their server about a delayed meal.  That would have ‘made my day’ back when I was a waitress.  🙂
    I once told my casheir at Taco Bell how pretty her makeup was and experienced a huge return of love.  It was like no one had told her she was pretty in 10 years.  All I did was say what I was thinking.  She really did look pretty.  I can still picture her eyes.  🙂

  8. CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

     @Lazy Pineapple Thanks for letting me know. I’ll wait for the paperback edition too – I’ve put it on my wish list for now.

  9. CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

    Zephyr, let’s all hope that the paperback edition comes out soon. 🙂

  10. MelissaTandoc MelissaTandoc July 28, 2012

    This is a very beautiful and inspiring book BS. It would also be a good project 🙂 I do agree that we attract all the goodness in other people as well. Imagine how the tone of our voice when speaking with someone could change a his/her mood or way of relating with us 🙂 Now I have a track of really good books. Thanks for sharing this one 🙂

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

      MelissaTandoc Oh yes. Like I mentioned in one of my comments – we might do a good deed everyday but the awareness of it might lead us to work harder on it, don’t you think? Are you up for a project like this, Melissa. I’m having a wild idea – will share on FB.

  11. galenpearl galenpearl July 28, 2012

    This reminds me of the kindness game I used to play with my daughter.  We would each look for opportunities to be kind every day, and then we would talk about what we did at the end of the day.  It was fun to actively seek ways to be kind, and it was also fun sharing our experiences with each other.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

      galenpearl I like your phrase ‘actively seek ways to be kind’. I think that’s the key. I remember my niece and nephew doing this when they were little in preparation for Christmas. Every good deed meant a piece of straw for Baby Jesus’ crib. They loved it – because the crib was such a visible sign of their ‘goodness’. 

  12. styler1 styler1 July 28, 2012

    Very nice. Reminds me of the good deed our cabin steward did tonight, to show our boys how to make an emelphant out of towels. This man works on these. Cruise ships, from India, and gets two months off ater five months. It’s the little things of these big flashy commercial. Things I will remember best, that generosity, and I hope my boys will as well.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

      styler1 Oh I know those elephants and I’m sure your boys loved it. Yes, it’s always the little things that touch us the most, don’t they, Sandra?

  13. femmefrugality femmefrugality July 28, 2012

    I’m going to have to add it to my to-read shelf!  Thanks for the recommendation!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

      femmefrugality Let me know how you like it. I loved your piece on Marilyn Monroe and marked the book ‘to-read’ too. 

  14. privytrifles privytrifles July 27, 2012

    Lovely review Corinne. I have a book called Daily Inspirations by Robin Sharma on my desk which I read everyday before beginning my day . This book seems so much like that…. would surely like to have it in my collection!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

      privytrifles I have one by Alan Cohen which I love. I’m hoping write my own 365 days reflection book soon – hope you’ll add that to your collection too 😉

  15. Janaki Nagaraj Janaki Nagaraj July 27, 2012

    Seems like a good book to have. But, I can’t imagine you yelling at the restaurant staff.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 28, 2012

      Janaki Nagaraj Then you really don’t know me yet. Don’t be fooled by the exterior 😉

  16. Zephyr Zephyr July 27, 2012

    That sounds like a wonderful book but it is a little expensive and like
    Vinita would wait for a paperback edition. But buy I must, if only to
    get ideas and inspiration from doing one good deed a day. Loved your
    review too 🙂

  17. G Angela G Angela July 27, 2012

    you are right corinne, that is what I don;t do it too, must make it a habit, thanks for sharing!

  18. G Angela G Angela July 27, 2012

    Very inspiring, definitely one good deed a day is not too much to ask for, thanks for sharing !

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      G Angela It is so easy to do – I’m sure we do it – but the recording of it allows us to inspire ourselves to do more.

      • Lazy Pineapple Lazy Pineapple July 27, 2012

        CorinneRodrigues It is available on Flipkart but is a bit expensive. I will wait for the paperback cover as I want to keep it in my collection…

        • Corinne Rodrigues Corinne Rodrigues July 27, 2012

          Ah thanks for letting me know. I’ve put it in my wish list and will wait too.

  19. Lazy Pineapple Lazy Pineapple July 27, 2012

    Sounds like a really wonderful book. I would love to buy this..any idea where I can?

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      Lazy Pineapple Actually it’s not out in the market yet. I got a review copy to be read on Adobe – and that will expire soon. As I see it’s not yet being offered on Kindle either. Will find out and keep you posted. 

      • Lazy Pineapple Lazy Pineapple July 27, 2012

        CorinneRodrigues Thanks Corinne. It is available on flipkart but is a bit expensive. I will wait for the paperback edition and request flipkart to get it…

  20. RituLalit RituLalit July 27, 2012

    This is such a feel good post … I really appreciate it

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      RituLalit Thanks. It always feels good to have you stopping by. 

  21. Anne Anne July 27, 2012

    You do come out with interesting books Corinne. I haven’t even got my hands on the last one and here is another I’d love to have on my bedside table. Thanks for sharing!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      Anne @ Writers Space I just get lucky, don’t I? 🙂 Actually, I’ve signed up with some great sites for doing reviews and I’m loving the fact that I’m getting to read so many good books at a time. This one sure is a bedside book, Anne. 

  22. colleenaleena colleenaleena July 27, 2012

    This sounds like just the sort of book I would love to read!  I shall add it to my list.  Reading about good, generous things is an inspiration!  Have a wonderful day!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      colleenaleena I’m sure you’ll enjoy it – but like I said, it’s to be read slowly to really get the full value of it. 

  23. Ruchira Ruchira July 27, 2012

    Even one small good deed a day gives you a lot of happiness ! I think Ill go for this book ! We all need something like this in our lives !

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      Ruchira  Yes it does. I think if we all started a project like this ourselves, the world would be a much better place.

  24. Rachna Rachna July 27, 2012

    Sounds like a good book to read. That tip on not reacting to provocation is something that really works! The few times I’ve done it, the argument just fizzles out. But, I seem to be not able to do it consistently :(. I enjoyed the restaurant experience too. I have walked out of places where the service was shoddy!

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      Rachna It was a good read – but I’ll have to read it again, slowly this time. I must try not responding to provocation – hard for someone like me! And I have very high standards for service too, which is what really inspired me about this incident Erin shared. 

  25. SulekhaRawat SulekhaRawat July 27, 2012

    Great book, I like the title and the review, have to get this book. Little things make such a difference in people’s lives. Congratulations to Erin for writing this book at the age of 52, there is no age for starting something new.

    • CorinneRodrigues CorinneRodrigues July 27, 2012

      The beauty of it is its simplicity and the do-ability of the deeds, Sulekha. Isn’t it inspiring to have someone start a writing career at that age? Very inspiring indeed. Thanks for sharing the post.

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