Alexey Shmalko’s blog

The Slight Edge: Review

September 15, 2018

Recently I have read a wonderful The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness by Jeff Olson. (I thank drets very much for this suggestion.)

I like this book so much that I recommend it to everyone. (I even did “sell” it to my friends five times in a single day.) I see it as a pre-requisite reading for all other self-improvement books and here is why.

The difference

The author was in search of an answer, what successful people do differently so that they are successful and 95% other people are not. The amazing secret he found is that there is no secret—all actions that people need to do to become successful are already known and described in millions of books and articles and cover all areas of human life.

So what’s different between highly successful people and highly unsuccessful ones? Successful people actually do these actions.

Again, what actions?

The main idea of the book is that there are many success-forming actions which are easy to do (and as easy not to do). They are really small. In fact, they are so small, there is no difference if you do them today or not. However, what matters is that they accumulate over time so much that they literally define what direction your life is heading.

Let’s peek for example reading 10 pages of a non-fictional book daily.

It’s no hard to do. Every person who can read could do that. And it’s as easy not to do. (ok, ok, not reading is little easier)

Let’s face it, if you read 10 pages, you will hardly change—you likely won’t see any difference at all. Again, if you don’t read 10 pages today, there will be no difference either.

So why read? In one year, 10 pages a day turn into 3650 pages. Which equals to a dozen or two of best personal development books. If you read them, you will change.

Another example is your ration. Today, it’s not hard to find healthy food to eat—not harder than finding a pizza or burger. And the thing is, if you eat a pizza or burger today, you’ll be fine; but if you eat pizzas and burgers for years—you’re screwed.

This change is the slight edge principle in action. It applies not only to self-development but literally to any area of your life: your capital, career, knowledge, health, your networking, relationship with the significant other, you name it. In each area of your life, you can find a simple action you can do every day.

It’s your choice

The slight edge principle is universal, and it always works—either for you or against you. If you don’t improve, you decline.

Every single day you take dozens of similar small-action decisions. Every moment you decide what you do and what you don’t.

What should push you to action? Should it be motivation, willpower, or something else?

Motivation is often temporary, and even if long-term, fluctuates from day to day. To help you act daily for years and decades, motivation is a weak friend.

What about willpower? Willpower often means you do something against your will—you hardly will do something against your will for decades.

So what should push you? It’s your knowledge. When you understand how the slight edge works for you (or will work against you otherwise), when it becomes a part of your life philosophy, when you evaluate each of your decisions on how they will impact you in the long run, you will take right decisions.

So what

I’ve read the book a week ago—not a long time to see much effect. However, what I do see is that I keep up with some habits I’ve been struggling to keep with for a long time.

It is a coincidence drets shared today that he has started building new habits 90 days ago. The Slight Edge is the thing that helps him continue and not give up.

I really see The Slight Edge as the pre-requisite reading for all self-development books and recommend it to everyone.