Summary of The Soft Edge

Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success

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The Soft Edge book summary
Turn your company’s values into a competitive advantage with this trust-based strategy.


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According to Forbes publisher Rich Karlgaard, the secret to success lies in the “soft edge” – your organization’s intangible values, such as creativity and connection. The soft edge, as practiced at such companies as Apple, FedEx and Northwestern Mutual, boosts innovation, raises profit margins, builds your brand, and increases employee commitment and customer loyalty. Unlike hard-edged tactics such as cost cutting, competitors can’t copy your value-based advantages. In this highly readable, story-rich account, Karlgaard shows you how to boost your competence in the “five pillars of the soft edge: trust, teams, smarts, taste and story.” He also profiles companies that effectively use the soft edge strategy. getAbstract recommends Karlgaard’s practical approach to entrepreneurs, managers, directors, investors looking to sustain growth and students of strategy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why managers wrongly stress the “hard edge” of execution over the “soft-edge” of values,
  • How the soft edge helps you compete, and
  • How to develop competence in the “five pillars” of the soft-edge: “trust, smarts, teamwork, taste and story.”


The Values Advantage
Too many companies overlook the “soft edge” of their business. Their leaders may be clever at strategy or efficient at execution, but they neglect values such as trust, creativity and team spirit. In today’s market, these soft values are critical.

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About the Author

Forbes magazine publisher and columnist Rich Karlgaard co-founded Upside magazine, Garage Technology Partners and the Churchill Club business forum. He wrote Life 2.0.

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