The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson one of my favourites. I read it way back in October last year and I’ve been crapping on about it ever since.
I will admit it’s taken me quite a while to finally sit down and type out my thoughts on this one (this was the book for March… sorry about that). But I’m so glad I’m finally doing it because I’m completely obsessed with the ideas in this book.
So what’s The Slight Edge about?
The book cover will tell you that The Slight Edge is about ‘turning simple disciplines into massive success’ and I have to say that description is pretty damn accurate. Accurate and boring.
But please don’t let the boring description deter you. Yes, this book is about something that’s pretty common sense but it’s also about something that we completely overlook.
Since the whole point of the Smart Twenties Book Club isn’t for me to ‘review’ the book but more to tell you what it had me thinking about and doing, here are two of my favourite lessons from the book (I chose these two because my other favourites are way too hard to explain in the length of a blog post):
Consistency is underrated
We always hear that we need to ‘be consistent’ – it’s a nice little piece of advice that always seems to get thrown around without anyone really going into it.
Until reading this book I wasn’t entirely convinced about this whole consistency thing. What difference will it make if I skip one gym session? Why can’t I just stick with my new habit most of the time?
But this book framed it in a way that made so much sense to me – good decisions compound over time. And, more importantly, bad decisions compound too. Let me explain:
Skipping one gym session doesn’t really make a difference to the overall result – but that’s only if you just skip one gym session. I think we’ve all experienced that negative momentum that seems to kick in when we make a bad decision. One skipped gym session quickly turns into one skipped month of gym sessions and before we know it we’re trying to sell the remainder of our gym membership to a friend so we can get out of our contract early.
But the good news is, this whole compounding thing works the other way too. Making good decisions every day creates momentum and it becomes easier to keep going and easier to stop letting yourself make those same old lame excuses.
And, over time, all of those good little decisions will add up to something amazing, just as all those bad little decisions will add up to something not so great.
For a while, it may seem like there isn’t really a difference between going to the gym and skipping it ‘just this once’ – in the short term you can’t see the effect that one good or bad decision has. It really doesn’t feel like it matters whether you do it or not.
But it does make a difference. The things you do day-in day-out will add up to something. So do you want it to be something good, or not?
The Slight Edge makes such an amazing case for consistency, and it is difficult to sum that up in a blog post. But let me just say that if you read this book you will find some seriously compelling reasons not to make a bad decision ‘just this once’.
And actually, the morning routine I wrote about in this blog post was largely based on the ideas I got from this book (especially the idea to read 10 pages of a book everyday, which will equate to reading one average-sized, 300 page book each month).
Keep it simple
I think my biggest takeaway from this whole book is something that’s not really directly talked about (at least that I can remember) but is a theme throughout the whole thing – keep it simple.
We’re always looking for a complex solution to our problems. We find it hard to believe that simplifying something can be more effective.
There’s so much competing information out there about what we should be doing, what time of day we should be doing it, how many times we should do it – so don’t try to reconcile it. Just pick one thing and try it out. Do it for long enough that you actually have a proper chance to see whether it’s good or not (at least a month, 3 months is better) and then if it’s not good, change it up. But choose one thing and give it a real chance to work.
Keeping it simple can really be the best way to do it. Good things take time.
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What do you think?
Have you been follo read The Slight Edge? And if not, do you think you’d read it?
Don’t forget that comments are always appreciated – I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts on this!
Slight Edge seems like it’s right up my alley so I’m going to read it next! I saw Wild in the theater, but the books are usually better:) Thanks for the ideas!
I’d love to know what you think of it Kate, please let me know! And I was going to see Wild in the cinema but once I heard there was a book I decided I’d read it first (since it sounded like a book/movie I’d really like and, as you said, the books are usually better).
I’d love to know what you’ve been reading!
It seems like Slight Edge has a bunch of great tips in to but I have such a problem reading those kinda of books; I just feel like I’m being lectured at. I prefer a story haha. I like the idea of your book club posts though!
Haha yeah I know what you mean Pia! Sometimes a lesson is so much more effective when it’s taught through story. You’re right that this book probably isn’t for you, there are stories throughout it but it’s not a story (if that makes sense) I’d love to know what you’ve been reading/if you have any recommendations!
I’ve been really into Salman Rushdie actually. He’s a great writer but his books can be a bit long. I’m also a Margaret Atwood fan (Oryx and Crake is amaaaazing).
Thanks for the suggestions Pia! Xx
Sounds like a great read and I’v been hearing a lot about Wild I may have to check it out!
Thanks so much 🙂 I’d love to know what you think of it if you end up reading it!
The Slight Edge sounds like a great book. & a book I would absolutely love. I have to buy it. I love what you write about the gym. It’s so true. I used to skip gym a lot. I would say: just this one time. It won’t make a difference. But after 30 times it starts to make a difference. In the end I decided to quit and do something I actually like (running). But you have to be consistens too about running. But I guess you have to be at every thing in life. I need that book! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing. You have a really great blog!
Heidi the book sounds perfect for you! I loved it because I felt like the book was talking straight to me, all the struggles he talks about were/are exactly the kinds of struggles I have (and it sounds like you have them too). It can be so hard to be consistent with exercise but I think it’s good you realised that you were just going to the gym because you felt you ‘should’ and not because you actually enjoyed it, and that you changed to running instead. I think it’s so much easier to stick to something when you’re doing it for the right reasons. I just read your August goals post and hope it all goes as planned (and if not, that you can keep going with it anyway haha)
Let me know if you read the book, I’d love to hear what you think of it!
The one about the gym really makes sense! If i miss one workout I give up because I think i’ve failed!
Yep Aleeha haha I have exactly the same thing! It’s not easy to keep going when you ‘screw up’ but it can definitely be done 🙂
I’ve been looking for books to add to my reading list and this one sounds perfect! Thanks so much for sharing about it. xx
Thanks Bethany 🙂 I’d love to know what you’re reading!
I’m finishing up Yes Please by Amy Poehler right now.
Yes! Yes please is amazing, I listened to the audiobook version (which was narrated by Amy – making it even better) and I absolutely loved it! Xx
Definitely adding this to my reading book! I love self-improvement style book and this looks like it has some great advice
If you love self-improvement books you will definitely love this haha I’m obsessed with these kinds of books!
I’ve never read it but will be adding it to my TBR list. I love self-improvement and self-development books.
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