Stuart Edge had a dream. He also had a crappy job—literally. Stuart cleaned porta potties for a living. On The Edge: How My Crappy Job Changed My Life is his story about how he leveraged his life experiences, including his crappy job, to achieve his dream of making films and videos, and turn it into his career.
Stuart’s story begins in early adolescence. He talks about his life experiences and how they impacted his dream to make films. In some ways it was a typical childhood, and in other ways very different. He suffered family challenges, anxiety, social discomfort and school challenges like many kids—but he also spent a year living in Mexico following his parents’ divorce and having to learn a new language and culture.
The first half of the book primarily focuses on his adolescence and the lessons he learned that helped him to find and stay focused on his purpose as he moved into adulthood. Following school and two years spent as a Mormon missionary, Stuart found himself in need of a job to support himself and pay for college, which is where his “crappy” job came in.
I admit I am not sure it’s a job I would have accepted, but for Stuart it was apparently the right job for him at the time. It’s at this point of the story where he really begins to focus on the challenges and the process that led him to become the YouTube success he is today.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Stuart’s work, he’s made dozens of YouTube videos, many of which are clever and entertaining pranks. His first big viral video was called the Mistletoe Kissing Prank and involved college students and (duh!) mistletoe.
In his book he tells about how he leveraged his time in the porta potty biz to listen to uplifting audio casts, speeches, talks, etc., while he worked and how he used those as inspiration to continue pursuing his dreams even when they seemed distant.
Obviously it worked because he is now one of the consistent top performers in the YouTube world.
This is a quick and engaging read for anyone who has a dream and needs a little motivation to get there. As an entrepreneur, and as one who teaches others to become entrepreneurs, I am always inspired by the paths of other entrepreneurs and how they were able to achieve their dreams.
It’s an easy read as well. The book moves consistently, though the first chapter or so felt a little slow. One of the features of the book that I enjoyed was Stuart’s use of “sticky notes” to share little nuggets of wisdom he learned along the way. Apparently, a love for the sticky note is something we have in common, because I too, use sticky notes regularly for jotting down inspiration, quick lessons and motivations. One of my favorites was “Whatever your situation, find a purpose in it.” Since I believe very little in life is actually random, it’s definitely a pearl of wisdom I would pass along.
This is a great addition to the library for budding entrepreneurs of all ages. I would highly recommend it for high school students who are still trying to figure out their path in life. Stuart is not much beyond college age and most of this book takes place during his high school and college years, so it will be one most students can relate to.