Reading List: On the Edge

UPDATED: May 25, 2023
PUBLISHED: January 18, 2014

Adventurer Alison Levine has skied to the North and South Poles, served as team captain of the first American Women’s Everest Expedition and scaled the “Seven Summits,” the highest peaks on every continent. So when Levine talks about high-impact leadership, she means it, literally and figuratively. Off the mountain, she is a leadership development consultant and keynote speaker with more than 20 years of experience working with leaders in business, sports, politics and academics. Levine also spent several years as an adjunct professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where she helped prepare cadets for life-or-death situations. “The leadership principles that apply in extreme adventures [and military operations] also apply in today’s extreme business environments,” she says, because both settings require leaders to “make crucial decisions on the spot and in conditions that are far from perfect.”

This book stands out from the rest of the leadership pack because of Levine’s knack for making mountaineering experiences relatable, personally and professionally. “It’s easy to get lost on a mountain during a whiteout and lose sight of the summit,” she writes. “It’s also easy to get lost in the unpredictability of life and lose sight of personal and professional aspirations.” On or off the mountain, leaders have to push through the toughest of times and adapt to a rapidly changing environment while maintaining a good attitude.

Whether she’s recounting a close call or moral dilemma while climbing Mount Everest or sharing another priceless leadership lesson, Levine keeps the reader engaged and occasionally enthralled by her adventurous spirit, her courage and insights. On the Edge is terrific, containing a mountain of valuable leadership advice that will appeal to executives, politicians, educators and students, parents, and athletes and coaches. Levine’s peak performances give a whole new meaning to the idea of a leadership summit.

by Alison Levine

Business Plus; $27

Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.