On Radical Edge

I just finished reading Radical Edge – Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, And Change The World – by Steve Farber.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “If you assume that you can learn from anyone—if you assume that you must learn from everyone—then everyone becomes a great teacher for you. Even if someone’s a slime-sucking scumbag of a leech they qualify for greatness if you can learn something from them.”

2- “Scan—just like you were a computer scanner. Your scanner just copies; it doesn’t comment, it doesn’t offer an opinion, it doesn’t tell you you’re stupid for time on that photo of the girl you met while v all were dancin’ on the bar at Jimmy Love’s. Just scan your environment and record what you see. Scan the bestseller lists and notice what people are reading; scan the magazine racks and pick up publications that don’t interest you—like, I dunno, The Tattoo Review or Graffiti Today, scan the weekly TV-show rankings; scan the headlines of the daily paper in 20 different cities; scan the room that you’re sitting in; scan the crowd as you’re toolin’ down the street during your lunch break. Then, every so often, write down what you’re seeing in your WUP. Write down your observations of subcultures that are entirely alien to you and trends in the tastes of the popular culture. Capture little idea-snapshots of natural, political, and social phenomena. Scan, scan, scan. Look at everything going on around you and write your observations in the pad…After collecting your observations for a while you stop, read it over, and give it some reflection. What are the implications of this? What can I earn from that? Why are so many people doing X, and what might that mean for all of us?…Talk About it…With everyone…Or everyone that matters, anyway. Talk about your observations and ideas with your team, for example. ‘Here’s what- I’m noticin’. What are you seeing?’ That kind of thing. Just kick it around and see where the discussion takes you—see what happens over time.”

3- “When inspiration strikes, when a new bona fide really great idea presents itself…You have to do it; that’s number six. That’s when the talking comes to a screeching halt and audacious action takes over. Kelleher and King went from idea to Southwest’s first route map on the back of that napkin. In other words. my man, I am expecting you to stick your neck out and try something new in your business. Got it?”

4- “This is how you stoke the fires of your success, Cam: by doing what you love in the service of people you love, who in turn, love what you do for them…I may not have the capacity to love everyone, but I certainly do have the capacity to act as though I do and to run my business accordingly. And if I and my team can really do that, then no other business in my market space can come close to the experience that we give our customers.”

5- “So, instead, she treats every customer encounter as an exercise in fascination.”

6- “”Your business, your personal life, and your effect on the world,” she said. “When you’re hitting on those three cylinders simultaneously, you’ve achieved The Radical Edge and life takes on an entirely new level of meaning.”

7- “If you really want to stoke your business till it burns so bright that everyone will take notice, there are two things you must be with complete abandon…One: be deeply fascinated by the life of every person—customer, employee, colleague—your business touches; and two: be deeply grateful for who they are and what they do…It all starts with the heart, Cam. If you develop a sincere love for people, you’ll automatically be fascinated with and grateful for them. If you’re fascinated with them, you’ll discover how to add value to their lives; and if you’re genuinely grateful for their patronage, partnership, or friendship you’ll show them in ways that are sincere and meaningful. Those are the essential elements of a fabulously productive business relationship—or any relationship, for that matter.”

8- “That old saving, ‘it’s not personal; it’s business’ is just plain false. Business is personal, personal, personal,” she tapped three times on the linoleum table top for emphasis. “And,” she twinkled, “is there anything in the human experience more personal than love?”…I regarded that a rhetorical question. Love is your leverage,” Agnes said. “And if you’re observant, if you stay fascinated and grateful, love will hand you your competitive advantage on a solid gold platter.””

9- “We don’t consider ourselves to be naive or idealistical though others certainly may. We are pragmatists of the highest order: we believe there is nothing more eminently practical than looking at the world, asking ‘how can this be better?’ and then holding ourselves personally accountable for getting it done.”

10- “There are four change the-world guidelines that we’ve agreed on so far, but we’re always open to more, and I’m sure we’re missing more than a few things. Let me spell them out for you…The first is to define what you mean by ‘world,’ and get clear on how you want that world to be different from the current reality. ‘World’ doesn’t have to mean the very fabric of human existence, although it certainly could be. It could be the world of your customers, neighborhood, industry—or the world of one person, for that matter. You define it for yourself…Second guideline is…act as though our every action has a direct impact on the world. In other words, you should perform every deed as if it will either improve the world or damage it…Third…Don’t judge yourself based on the outcome of your efforts…Meaning you cannot ultimately control the end results. You do everything you can, you do your homework and your research, and you enlist the people you need to get the job done-whatever it is…What’s the last one?…Never-never, ever—try to do it alone.”

11- “But it’s not about finding your frequency by ruling out everything else on the contrary, it’s about finding the frequency that includes all those other important values and ideals. The very act of trying to wrap it all together is what’s really important, because to do that you have to get very clear on what you mean by each value and principle. You have to define, think through, and understand each to its core, and evaluate your life against each one. The clearer you get, the closer you get to the frequency that pulsates through your life and characterizes who you really are.”


Omar Halabieh

Radical Edge


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