On the Edge: The Art of High-Impact Leadership by Alison Levine, Business Plus, 272 pages, $27.00, Hardcover, January 2014, ISBN 9781455544875
On the Edge is an engaging page-turner that uses Levine’s experiences as a mountaineer (as well as Wall Street veteran and professor) to explore, and advise on, the challenges we each face as we strive to become better leaders. I found myself utterly charmed and productively consumed, as Levine’s high-risk experiences give plenty of weight to advice such as: “Rigidity is just as dangerous as complacency” and “Treat every opportunity as if it is your one chance to … leave people with an accurate impression of who you are.” If Levine can implement these standards while sucking on oxygen and hanging off the side of a mountain, we surely can do it while sipping our coffee and sitting at our desks.
Alison Levine will help you realize that extraordinary challenges are extraordinary for a reason, and often feature aspects beyond your control, or that are particularly risky, so each time you try to scale them, you learn something more that you needed to know to proceed. Being the best leader you can be is about continually accumulating knowledge and adjusting, not ever assuming you know everything. On the Edge is a great reminder of that lesson, and so much more.
For more from Alison Levine, here is a link to her appearance on the Joy Cardin Show on WPR.org. You’ll get a great sense of the book from this conversation.