The book examines the approach of people who are both extreme athletes and business executives. The athlete-executives featured in this book push the normal limits of human performance and in the process face unpredictable circumstances. In both athletic and business realms, having the courage to face these challenges has brought them opportunities to achieve things that most people find impossible. According to the authors, the athlete-executives achieve success in ways that demonstrate universally applicable lessons.
The authors believe there is an increased potential for self-discovery when pushing your limits. A compelling reason to move out of your comfort zone on a regular basis is that you will always learn about yourself in new settings. It is a route to gaining self-insight and discovering how well you respond to adversity.
One of the athlete-executives examined in the book is Bob Gordon, who said he never met a mountain climber he didn’t like. Extreme sports like this bring extraordinary people together. The people who share this common interest also share mental assets and an emotional drive that bond them psychologically. Most of them are graduates of top business schools. So doing these extreme sports also provides good networking opportunities.
The ability to perform well under high stress provides an advantage in any environment. The dangerous activities and challenges pursued by the people featured in this book require quick decision making. By pushing themselves to the edge of endurance again and again, they force themselves to think under stress — a skill that is quite useful when a great opportunity rises on your horizon or a problem develops in your company.
Most of these executives have been able to improve their self-control in intense situations. Regularly testing their limits provides frequent challenges to these athlete-executives and they become proficient in self-discipline.
These limit-testers do not, however, have completely identical personality types and analogous backgrounds, although they do share common traits. A desire to push one’s self may explain why someone gravitates to a particular athletic endeavor. This experience is also the reason why their businesses grow with unusual energy.
There is another ingredient to their success: a sense of purpose. These people tend to think they have a reason for being on this Earth.
According to the authors, “daredevil” and “extreme athlete” are not interchangeable terms. These athlete-executives are skilled in intelligent risk-taking. They are not simply adventurous; they are adventurers who control risk.
The lessons from the Edge fall into three primary categories: personal excellence, team leadership and team excellence. In conclusion, the authors call to their readers: “Climb your mountain. Sail across your sea. Run your race. Ride your bull. Aspire to be great in business and sport. The decision is yours.”