This book has to be one of the best books written about execution. Jeff Olson is a highly successful entrepreneur and what sets this book apart is that it talks about philosophy. Have you ever driven to the office and once you got there almost forgot you drove? Basically the habit of driving is so ingrained that it does not require any thought. This is the whole concept of slight edge behavior.
Why is this important to me? Think about these 9 unbelievable stats:
1. The average American eats 158 pounds of sugar per year. Processed sugar creates mood swings and deep crashes.
2. 33% of adults are obese
3. 33% of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives
4. 42% of college graduates never read another book after college
5. There were 1.5 million NEW bankruptcy filings in the last 12 months.
6. Big Drug companies make billions of dollars each year on Ritalin, Prozac, Xanax and other mind altering drugs.
7. 43% of American families spend more than they earn each year
8. Average households carry $8,000 in credit card debt.
9. The average person spends 26 hours per week watching TV and surfing the web.
These are all examples of bad slight edge behaviors. The great Jim Rohn said “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” This statement has real power and is the key to true success and happiness regardless how you define it.
The slight edge is always working. The human condition dictates you are either expanding or contracting. There is no steady state.
When a baby is born, they are one day closer to their death. This is not a cruel thing, it is just our reality. It is this paradox that makes life so precious.
If you had a choice of either $ 1 million dollars today or your money doubled each day for 31 days starting with a penny, what would you do? Two people out of ten would choose the penny. The other 8 would take the $1 million. After 31 days of the doubling, you would have $10 million dollars. This is the concept of compound interest – the eighth wonder of the world. By the way, 8 people would also simply turn their financial future over to a stock broker or financial planner without taking accountability for the results themselves. I guess this is why everybody’s retirement is in question. – WISDOM is expensive!
The slight edge works in the same way. If you eat a Big Mac and large fries today, you are not unhealthy today but do it for three meals per day for 30 days and you will almost kill yourself. Watch the movie Super Size me for more details.
In a nutshell, the slight edge consists of the daily habits you do that can magnify your results with very simple changes. Think about this for one minute. If you cut out 145 calories per day – i.e. one can of soda, do you know that in three years you would be lighter by 45 pounds? This is a very simple thing to do and a very simple thing NOT to do. For the numbers geeks, here is the math: 145 calories x 1095 days / 3500 equal 45 pounds. The opposite holds true if you add 145 calories per day. Result 45 pounds of additional pleasure!
Taking an inventory can be one of the most important and mind blowing things you will ever do. You will see things that you had no idea you were doing or how much it really adds up.
I challenge you to take an inventory of how you spend your time. For one week, catalog what you do from the moment you get up to the time you go to bed. If you drive to work, are you listening to morning radio or a learning CD? How long is the commute? When you get home, do you crack a beer and put the TV on for the next 4 hours until bed?
Now catalog where you spend your money. For one week, write down every penny you spend and you will be shocked where it goes. The point of doing this shines light on what is really going on in your life.
Remember the slight edge example of either adding or subtracting just 145 calories per day? The result after three years is a spread of 90 pounds. Everything you do has a slight edge effect and it simply is up to you if that effect is positive or negative.
The Slight Edge is a great book and I could continue to write about the effects that this book has had on me. About 18 months ago, I kicked up my reading requirements each week using the slight edge philosophy. Using this philosophy has made a huge difference in my effectiveness at work as well as the creation of this website.
My view on this is really simple. Your average book has about 200 pages and the authors typically have 20 years of solid experience in their field if they are any good. If you read just 12 books per year then you will acquire 240 man years of knowledge. If you really think about this then you can accomplish anything. This is the essence of slight edge behavior.
I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days.
One thing you can take away from this book is understand the Slight Edge. This is more of a philosophy but understand that every daily routine you do has a compound effect over time in a positive or negative way. The slight edge is always working. Think of this as you would gravity. You can believe it does not exist but jump off a four story building and you will know that gravity exists. This is the same with slight edge behavior.