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Book Summary – The Slight Edge

The Slight Edge

by Jeff Olson

Jeff Olson has done a wonderful job of highlighting a number of simple, easy to understand habits that, if taken, will massively improve your productivity.

Olson’s basic premise is summed up in the third chapter:

  • Simple daily disciplines – little productive actions, repeated continuously over time – add up to the difference between failures and success.

The book is broken down in to two parts.  The first part, How the Slight Edge Works, goes over the basic elements of the model while the second part, Living the Slight Edge, highlights how to put these principles in place.  Part one includes:

  • The Beach Bum and the Millionaire. Each of us holds within us the ability to be a bum or a massive financial success.
  • The First Ingredient. Your success will be dictated by your philosophy.
  • The Choice. Simple daily disciplines – little productive actions, repeated continuously over time – add up to the difference between failures and success.
  • Master the Mundane. Simply doing the basic tasks associated with your job will give you a huge advantage.  Most people do not do their jobs.
  • Slow Down To Go Fast. Everything has its own time frame.  Quit hurrying and let things develop naturally.
  • Don’t Fall For the Quantum Leap. There is no such thing as an “overnight success”.  Success comes from consistent, hard work.
  • The Secret To Happiness. Happiness is created by doing simple, easy things and doing them every day.
  • The Ripple Effect. Our fates are all interconnected – we have an impact on others via everything we do.
  • But You Have To Start With a Penny. While simple habits build up over time, you must take the first step and start.

Part two includes:

  • Two Life Paths. You are either growing or dying.  There is no alternative.
  • Mastering the Slight Edge. Mastery simply involves doing the tasks each day.  Over time a master emerges.
  • Invest In Yourself. Spending to improve your capabilities is one of the best investments you will ever make.
  • Learn From Mentors. Avoid reinventing the wheel.  Learn from those who have gone before you.
  • Use Your Slight Edge Allies. The four allies are (i) momentum, (ii) completion, (iii) reflection and (iv) celebration.
  • Cultivate Slight Edge Habits. The seven slight edge habits are (i) show up, (ii) show up consistently, (iii) cultivate a positive outlook, (iv) be committed for the long haul, (v) cultivate a burning desire backed by faith, (vi) be willing to pay the price and (vii) practice slight edge integrity.
  • Three Steps To Your Dreams. Write it down.  Look at it every day.  Start with a plan.
  • Living the Slight Edge. Write out your goals and dreams, a simple starting plan, and a single daily discipline related to you (i) health, (ii) happiness, (iii) relationships, (iv) personal development, (v) finances, (vi) career, and (vii) impact on the world
  • Where to Go From Here. Do one discipline each day, review what you accomplish, and surround yourself with people who have been successful

Olson’s formula is both intuitive and easy to understand.  Further it is very straight forward to implement and most all readers will relate to at least one individual recommendation where they have acted in a manner similar to that which he suggests.  With the steps laid out for you, all you need to do is implement them.   It’s that easy.  It’s that hard.

Finally, while the notes give you a flavor of the book, this is one that you should pick up and read cover to cover.  Olson’s included a brief summary section at the end of each chapter that allows you to quickly re-read/review the book.

If you would like to download a PDF copy of this book summary you can do so by clicking here

As a side note, Olson’s book was the motivation for Darren Hardy’s The Compound effect.  You can find a summary of Hardy’s book here.


At F5 Financial Planning we focus on helping individuals and families find balance between faith, friends and family, fitness and finance.  We make sure that they have the financial freedom to enjoy those things in life that are important to them.  And while we believe the left-brain facts and data are critical; we work with our clients to get them in the right state of mind to focus on the goals they want to achieve.

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Curt Stowers

Curt Stowers

Curtis Stowers helps individuals and families across the United States grow their financial assets, particularly in the Naperville, IL region. He is a Certified Financial Planner, holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from the University of Illinois, and is the founder of F5 Financial.