In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson sets forward one simple concept: success is not built on massive leaps but rather small, incremental daily actions. Does one really need an entire book to drive home this point?
Quite simply, yes. You may already know the benefit that comes from developing daily habits, but after reading this book, you will begin to see it in a new light. You will see that success truly is the cumulative effect of a little bit of effort, day after day.
Furthermore, if you've been engaging in personal development material for any length of time, this book will help fill in the gaps in your knowledge. If you are just getting started, this is a great foundational book on which you can cut your teeth on.
If you understand the Slight Edge, you can start building towards a better future today. You can get in shape, get out of debt, learn an instrument, amass wealth... Whatever you choose, you can begin charting a course for the betterment of your life through consistent, daily actions.
The Revised Edition
I've read the original book about three times and the revised edition once. In this review, I will primarily be talking about the revised edition, which features stories from people who applied the Slight Edge to create the results they wanted in their life, and extra chapters that explain Slight Edge principles in more detail.
Let's take a look at what has changed and what has improved with the new version.
One of the things that changed with the revised edition is the design. The original Slight Edge book that I have sports a fairly generic cover, with a serif font and abstract background imagery representing water.
The new book cover is more design conscious, with different font choices, effective usage of color (black, white, grey and blue), and creative use of negative space (the letters EDGE are bold, blue and tilted upward to dominate the right hand side of the cover).
The revised edition also features more graphical illustrations, bolded and enlarged quotations, stylized headings and other textual design elements that make the book more engaging.
Personally, I'm not 100% sold on the bolded quotations. Basically, at certain points in the book, key concepts have been bolded and enlarged. It is fairly normal for authors to emphasize sections of their text, but here it's almost as if they've done all the work for the reader, who may want to (and still can, but may not be inclined to) add their own underlines and markings. Readers should be able to dig for their own golden nuggets without a lot of help. Aside from that, I feel that the new design elements are welcome.
The various testimonies that have been added to the revised edition add credence to Olson's success philosophy, which is largely based on Jim Rohn's work. When you read about the kind of people that have achieved their desires through applying the Slight Edge, you too will begin to believe that you are able.
The extra chapters dig deeper into the Slight Edge philosophy and explain it in greater detail. This is where readers will find additional clarification, simplification and practical application of the material.
I'm a little torn about this. On the one hand, it's nice to see that the book has been fleshed out with more detail. On the other hand, the original text was not hard to understand, and already covered the Slight Edge concept concisely. The original book left the reader with enough information to figure out what they needed to do next. The revised edition spells it out, letter by letter, just in case you missed it.
Sadly, reiteration won't necessarily help more people grasp the ideas contained within the book. Those who get it will apply it, persist and achieve. Those who don't get it, unfortunately, just won't get it. Those who feel inspired will walk out the journey. Those who don't believe will write it off as "just another book".
The original Slight Edge book contained its fair share of grammatical, spelling and sentence structure errors. Many of these problems have been corrected in the new text, but unfortunately there are just as many new errors as there were old errors.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it looks as though the editor didn't really do their work, or there just wasn't an editor at all. Even the afterword by Amber Olson (discussing Slight Edge principles for a younger generation) contains simple slips that no one caught.
Sometimes bad editing or the lack thereof can ruin a reading experience for me. However, this is a very important book and the content itself is so valuable that I can't dock too many points for lack of editing. It just bugs me sometimes. I need help. I'm working on that.
If you are planning on beginning your personal growth journey, or if you are already in the midst of it, this book belongs on your shelf. It is a truly inspiring read from cover to cover, and if you already have considerable study behind you, you will discover that this book really "makes it all fall into place".
There isn't a lot of room for misinterpretation, nor are there a huge number of exercises that require exhaustive personal inventory and soul searching. In fact, you will discover that many people have put their own spin on the philosophy, or they have applied it in a way that makes sense to them, and have still achieved many of their goals.
Don't strive for quantum leaps in your life. Begin taking small, meaningful actions every day towards the completion of your goals.