“The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson Book Review, Chapters 7-9

As I am beginning to apply to the slight edge philosophy to my life I am already seeing some changes in my behavior.

By waking up 15 minutes earlier, I can actually do my hair and look a little more like a hottie than a hot mess. Writing two blogs a week is helping me become a better writer and constantly sparking my creativity. Whether these blogs get published or not, at least I’m writing!

As we close on Part 1 I’m already feeling better about my life and the choices I’m making and continue to make. Chapter 7 hits home with choosing happiness because my living mantra is “Don’t pursue happiness – create it.”

So, let’s wrap up Part 1 together and see what The Slight Edge has to offer in these next 3 chapters.

Chapter 7: The Secret of Happiness

The 7th chapter is The Secret of Happiness, not to be confused with the secret to happiness!

This chapter resonates deep within me because as you all know that I try live my life by creating my own happiness. It’s a choice you have to make every day otherwise, you’ll be unhappy. You must wake up every day and choose to have a good day. It’s a mundane task that you choose to do. Just like choosing to eat breakfast, going to work out, or reading a book.

Olson goes back and talks about his mother and how she was not only rich, she was happy.

She never talked in negative terms. She always found the good in everything. She made a regular practice of counting her blessings. She did kind things for people.

Chapter 7, Page 97

Olson makes a list of people that are happier with their lives also are (fill in the blank). The ones that resonated with me are:

Develop more resilient personalities to handle adversity better

Have more fulfilling and longer-lasting marriages

Are more altruistic and have a greater net positive impact on society

You can find the full list in your copy of The Slight Edge on page 98.

This is a great chapter and I could probably write a whole post on how I feel about creating happiness and how much this chapter resonated with me, but I’ll stop here and let you read it for yourself. We can talk over coffee 🙂

Chapter 8: The Ripple Effect

Chapter 8 takes a unique turn because Olson has his daughter, Amber Olson Rourke, chime in on her view of the slight edge. She writes about growing up in a household where the slight edge is just “what they did”. She learned and applied this philosophy to her life at a very young age. Rourke put her responsibilities first through high school, college, and after which in turn made her very successful, but there was something off. Rourke started gathering personal stories of people who’s lives had changed because of the slight edge philosophy. She understood that there was a deeper meaning that to how we could just help ourselves. She wanted to answer the question: “How are we collectively changing the world?”

Chapter 8, Page 119

By making these small, positive choices in our own lives we create small, positive choices in the lives around us. Consciously listening, retaining, and understanding what people are saying to us and then providing encouragement to people will go a lot further than nodding your head, smiling, and thinking about last night’s episode of The Bachelor.

Chapter 9: But You Have to Start with a Penny

Olson starts off the chapter with some inspiring time travel. Telling the story of how Facebook started off as a simple prank and became a multi-million dollar social media platform. Then how a few crumpled pieces of paper became Stephen King’s novel, Carrie. He tells how Rosa Parks was the catalyst to the civil right’s movement and how we were all once tiny blobs of gelatin. All of these examples started small and grew to become some of the most historic things on our planet. You could say they were the size of a penny.

Every day, in every moment, you get to exercise choices that will determine whether or not you will become a great person, living a great life. Greatness is not something predetermined, predestined, or carved into your fate by forces beyond your control. Greatness is always in the moment of the decision. But you have to start with a penny

Chapter 9, Page 133

What you and I do every single day of our little time in life matters. Waking up early. Going for that run. Reading that book. Taking that photo. It matters.

I’ll tell you a story: I was a freshman in college and every freshman had to go to this invocation. We were all supposed to read this book, Wine to Water by Doc Hendley and write an essay over something impactful in our lives. There would be ~30 students chosen out of who wrote the essays to meet Hendley and then about 10 out of those 30 to go to Africa to plant a water well. I was one of the 30 (whoo!) chosen and at this invocation we all had to get their early so we could meet with Hendley. We all met, had a great time, and listened to the invocation.

Three weeks later I get called to the Office of Student Affairs because I apparently did not show up to invocation. It was required and since I missed I had to watch a VHS recording of it and take a quiz. WHOA, hold the phone. I was there! I met Doc! We talked about water! And wine! And Africa! They didn’t believe me.

They didn’t believe me until I whipped out my phone and showed them the photos I took. I took photos of Hendley, selfies with my friends, but the one that stood out the most was the photo of the girl next to me that I took a photo of while she was asleep. Thank goodness I did not care about invasion of privacy at the age of 18.

What I did that day, taking photos, mattered three weeks later. This is a small, humorous example, but hey it works.


Part 1 was very inspirational. I’m applying this philosophy to my life and I can seriously see the changes. I encourage you to grab your copy and take Part 2 of The Slight Edge on with me!

Click on the photos below to purchase your copy of The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson and Wine to Water by Doc Hendley. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

All quotes/paraphrases/paragraphs: Olson, Jeff. The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines Into Massive Success and Happiness. Goko Publishing, 2016.