Book Reviews

Book Review: The Edge

Image result for the edge michael heppell

Title: The Edge: How the Best Get Better
Author: Michael Heppell
Topic: Psychology, Habits and Routines
Appropriate for: Anyone interested in improving!
Overall rating: 5/5 – go out and get it now!!!
I’m not entirely sure how this book ended up in my collection, but it sat on the bookshelf for a while as initially it looked like it was going to be a heavy read – I couldn’t have been more wrong! This book is brilliantly written and easily readable in short snippets! It’s a great mixture of humour, real life anecdotes/reflections and logical explanations for how the best improve further!  I think coaches in particular would find this really helpful!
The premise of the book is to uncover how people who have “The Edge” (referred to as Edgers) have managed to get to their current station in life. The author uses examples of historical figures (eg. Thomas Edison), as well as entrepreneurs, athletes and performers to illustrate the principles of becoming an “Edger”.
Some of the chapters include:

  • Habits
  • Values for life
  • Asking great questions
  • Getting the best out of your advisors
  • What “Yes” costs
  • How to be a super speaker

I found the “Asking great questions” chapter particularly useful. The idea is to open up different lines of thinking by having a different type of dialogue. Instead of shutting down opportunities by only seeing the downsides or lack of success, it’s about starting a problem solving process. Some of the great questions that were proposed are:

  • What will make this better?
  • How can I change this?
  • If there was a way, what would it be?
  • Who do I know who…?
  • Has this been done before and if so by whom?
  • Does this fit with who I really am?

In “How much “Yes” costs, the discussion revolves around valuing your time more, having a better ability to prioritise tasks and projects to decided what to commit to personally and what to delegate or remove altogether! A key component of this process was the “Desire-Ability Grid” which suggests what the action should be depending on the level of Desire and Ability.

I thought this was a useful way of thinking about what elements of coaching could be taught or delegates to assistant coaches, interns or players themselves. For example, something requiring High Ability that you personally have a high level of desire for should be done by yourself. Something that requires a low ability could be taught or delegated. This may be a useful way of building autonomy and ownership within a session. For example, if a warm up or cool down has been coached and completed regularly, could this be passed on to a lesser experienced coach or the team captain? Or even something as simple as inflating balls, setting out cones or collecting bibs. These tasks may not require a high level of ability and could be used to decrease your own workload whilst giving responsibility and ownership to your athletes!
These are just a couple of principles that I found useful in the book. I really recommend getting hold of a copy and giving it a read!
You can find the book here: The Edge: How the Best Get Better
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