Book Review – EDGE – Turning Adversity to Advantage.
Full of personal anecdotes and based on research, author and Harvard Business School professor Laura Huang lives and breathes EDGE – Enrich, Delight, Guide, Effort. Hard work alone isn’t enough. You need something else to stand out and give you that EDGE which makes you unique and different. Taking stereotypes and biases and flipping them, discovering your individual story, and then building on it means you can find your authentic self. Be the person no one else can copy because no one has your specific journey, successes, setbacks, insights, and experiences. As a result, no one can replicate the special value and perspectives you bring. This is important in a busy world where people and organizations make assumptions which often are incorrect but will not change unless you take action by empowering yourself with EDGE.
I wish I had this book years ago when starting out on my career. Yet by luck and circumstance I stumbled across EDGE. Don’t be lucky. Learn from professor Huang and her research.
EDGE is reminiscent of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, David and Goliath. Being an underdog has a set of advantages and we should embrace them and use them rather than see them as disadvantages. Professor Huang argues the same thing at personal and individual level.
As I reflect on many self-help, leadership, and business books that I recommend to colleagues and mentees, I realized that Huang’s EDGE is the only book I’ve read that is from an Asian American woman and a woman of color. For that, I’m eternally grateful to have found this and recommend this book particularly to Asian Americans.
On a personal level, as an Asian American, I fully appreciated many of professor Huang’s stories and the high number of Asian Americans she profiles. I feel and see her self depreciating humor, doubts, and insecurities of finding one’s self and identifying in a culture that can be at odds with one’s values and instincts. I appreciated hearing her journey where see ultimately succeeds as she also continues to move forward. What makes her work particularly powerful is when one reads it. Like any excellent work, we react differently to the message depending where we are in our own lives. Early in a career before any professional or personal failures or setbacks reads differently than mid-career at a crossroads of the next step.
For that, I look forward to reading it again and again and recommending it to my colleagues and peers. I can’t wait for them to find and use their own EDGE.