“Radical Edge” by Stever Farber – Book Review

(Farber, Steve, “Radical Edge”, Kaplan Publishing, Chicago, 2006, 165pp.)

"Radical Edge" by Steve Farber
“Radical Edge” by Steve Farber

Steve Farber is the President of the Extreme Leadership Institute and the author of “The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership”, awarded the 2004 “Reader’s Choice Award” by Fast Company magazine.  He and his organization provide leadership development workshops and seminars ( see http://www.stevefarber.com for what they do and how to access their services, if you are so inclined ).

That previous book, “The Radical Leap” used LEAP as an acronym for “…cultivate Love, generate Energy, inspire Audacity, and provide Proof…” to help guide people out of the doldrums into more meaningful professional life.

(Disclaimer: I did recently receive a copy of this book for only the cost of shipping, but that gifting did not influence my reading or review in any way.  Remember, you receive your tax bill for free…but it may influence you!)

“Radical Edge” has an impressive subtitle: “Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World”!  The concept apparently arose from a discussion group during a raging snowstorm in the middle nowhere when Steve aked the group, “How are we going to change the world”.  The consensus of responses, referencing real world labors and challenges, was “How are we supposed to find the answer to that question?”.   Farber set out to help a little bit…

His quest led him to share the story of gaining and living on the “Radical Edge”, a far more gentle action and posture than you might imagine.  The story is one of self-blindness, self-awareness, and the hope for positive change, gathered into a short, easily read volume of seven chapters: A WUP Upside the Head; Agnes; Fascination, Gratitude, and Thou; Tuning In; The Reunion; Déjà vu; and, Getting Your Radical Edge.  Who is your Agnes?

If you think you know it all, that the way you first succeeded – as you or the system defined success – is the way you must continue to live your life, you’re in for quite a fall.  Stop, Look, Listen and wake up!   Steve Farber conveys the discovery and lessons learned through a story of several days of kindling new relationships, rediscovering old ones, finding out who you are and what you love, not just what you do or how you got there, lowering barriers and raising insights, and discovering how to simply get oneself out of the way and into changing the world.

“Getting Your Radical Edge” provides a gentle summary of the recommendations in the body of the work.  Intentional focus and action on a short set of excellent heuristics is urged, along with a simple but effective collection and processing method for priming the pump.

The book is an easy to read parable, Steve Farber’s method for surmounting the hard edges of the “theory and practice” found in too many “leadership” and “business” books in order to relate and connect to real people in real life circumstances.

Algorithms don’t make gourmet hot dogs, and procedure manuals don’t create skate board champs.

You will only find “nothing new here” if you don’t want to change the world, if you are content with the status quo.    If you don’t want to change, consider the truth that stasis is death for organic systems, for businesses, for artists – for life.  Merely learning to “enhance your performance” is an excuse for a life attempting purely self-gratification.   There is something to see and learn here.  Don’t just “move along”… as retired U.S. Army General Eric Shineski wisely observed,

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.”

As it turns out, I’ve been carrying and using my WUP pad around for decades through a variety of iterations,  whether in the form of a dedicated notebook, planner, journal, “ubiquitous capture tool” or today’s Moleskine.

That’s the simple but necessary part of gaining the Radical Edge.  Waking up lies beyond that, in awareness, involvement and genuine caring about your world and the people in it from close to home to the full scope of the old oblate spheroid.

Invest an hour or two reading this little book and find out (or reinforce, Recapitulation, Reformation and Renaissance are always good!) the never-ending impetus for changing your world for the better.  At the least, you will beneficially reinforce what you might already know (IF you do…IF you apply it)…

Recapitulation, Reformation and Renaissance are always good!


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