PF Book review: The Slight Edge

Intro: Every once in a while I’ll share a review on my blog. This is my opinion of a book, product or service I used and I detail why I came to that conclusion.  This is my book review of The Slight Edge by author Jeff Olson. I rate books on 4 dimensions:

  • Does the book contain valuable lessons I can carry out ( related to personal finance / career progress / personal development)?
  • Is it an enjoyable read?
  • Will I read the book again?
  • How much fluff does this contain vs. content?

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The Slight Edge
Slight Edge book review personal finance

Book Title: The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success

Book Description: The Slight Edge is a way of thinking that enables you to make the daily choices that can lead you to the happiness and success you desire.

Book Author: Jeff Olson

Book Edition: 2013

Number Of Pages: 274

  • Valuable lessons
  • Readability
  • Read again
  • Fluff vs. Content


The Slight Edge – Jeff Olson

Valuable Lessons

What it’s about

The Slight Edge is not a personal finance book, so what is it doing on a PF blog? There are two really good reasons for this:

  1. At its core the slight edge really is about the concept of cumulative returns. Cumulative returns are a powerful force in your finances, but as the book demonstrates they are equally powerful in career, health, happiness, relationships, etc. Of course I’m interested :-).
  2. GenYFinanceGuy who has an amazing PF blog and is doing some really impressive stuff, swears by the book. And when someone successful recommends a book, the least you can do is have a genuine look at it.

In The Slight Edge, Jeff Olson details how the little decisions we make in our daily lives add up and compound to generate huge results, either in our favor or to our disadvantage. And by making the right small decisions every day for years on end, we can make the principle of cumulative returns work in our favor.

This book lays out a brutal truth we all know: there are no miracles and effort takes a long time to generate results. The Slight Edge makes you embrace the process and learns you how to navigate it.

What it isn’t about

It is very general. The Slight Edge will push you to carry out a good set of behaviors, but there is no guidance on which behaviors or how much of it you should do. Think of it as the opposite spectrum of Tim Ferriss: No what-to, no details, no minimum viable dose prescriptions. Jeff Olson assumes that each of us intrinsically KNOWS what to do. We just need to go do it. I would read this book and follow-up with a book like “The 7 habits of Effective People” to make it a bit more tangible.

Things I learnt from this book

  • What the slight edge you can start with very little and accomplish major things.
  • The road to succes is boring, even mundane. And that is exactly why so many of us fail at it.
  • Good techniques like gratitude journaling, daily reviews, etc..
  • The book contains a hard-hitting self assessment on how you are doing in various areas of your life. Nice wake-up call.

If by now you want to know what this Slight Edge stuff is about: Great!Pick up the book The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness.


At 274 pages long I read this book over a week-end. I read the updated 2013 version which has two additional chapters. The language is clear and concise. And the author ends each chapter with a couple of bullet points on what the major learnings are for that chapter: GOLDEN.

Read again

The Slight Edge does not bring any new or revolutionary insights and reiterates on many concepts highlighted by previous well-known authors. But it does tackle how to keep motivated and going at it when things do not change immediately for the better. Because , they won’t. Change and the results it brings take time. So I will read this book again when I feel that I’m slacking, just to get my a$$ kicked and remind myself that every choice I make will add up and bring results in the long run. But I won’t read the entire book all over. There are about 4 chapters that bring all the good stuff home and I’ll be focusing on these.

Fluff vs. Content

This is one area where I felt the book was less convincing. If you’ve read a few personal development books, many concepts come back. Stephen Covey, Brian Tracey, Napoleon Hill, … they are all in it and I feel not enough original content was added. A lot of the examples seemed familiar (possibly because J.O. was the originator and I heard it through some other source, but still…). There is an entire chapter that I would skip ( Chapter 8: The Ripple Effect). And it does contain a bit of self promotion and many examples from the personal life of Jeff Olson.

Now this is really subjective. I know that this book has helped 1000’s improve their lives and turn their fate around. The effects this book has made are massive. But in my very humble opinion, it could do with a bit of trimming. But please understand: don’t throw out the baby with the bath water! This book is worthy of your undivided attention.

How can I apply this in my daily life?

The point of reading a non-fiction book is to learn something and apply it in real life, so here are a few ideas I took away from The Slight Edge:

  • When things take a bit longer than I hoped for, I need to think about the natural process change requires. Stuff stacks up over time and it take a bit to gain momentum.
  • When I feel like I’m slacking and need a booster, I’ll read a few pages of this book.
  • Daily review of my actions. did I do something (even small) to move towards my goals? Did I do some thing (even small) that pulls me away from my goals?

What about you?

Have you read The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness? How much did you like it ? How has it impacted your life? Join the conversation in the comment section below.

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