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Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success | [Shane Snow]

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

How do some startups go from zero to billions in mere months? How did Alexander the Great, YouTube tycoon Michelle Phan, and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon climb to the top in less time than it takes most of us to get a promotion? What do high-growth businesses, world-class heart surgeons, and underdog marketers do in common to beat the norm? One way or another, they do it like computer hackers. They employ what psychologists call "lateral thinking: rethinking convention and breaking "rules" that aren't rules.
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Publisher's Summary

Entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow (Wired, Fast Company, The New Yorker, and cofounder of Contently) analyzes the lives of people and companies that do incredible things in an implausibly short time.

How do some startups go from zero to billions in mere months? How did Alexander the Great, YouTube tycoon Michelle Phan, and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon climb to the top in less time than it takes most of us to get a promotion? What do high-growth businesses, world-class heart surgeons, and underdog marketers do in common to beat the norm?

One way or another, they do it like computer hackers. They employ what psychologists call "lateral thinking": rethinking convention and breaking "rules" that aren't rules.

These are not shortcuts, which produce often dubious short-term gains, but ethical "smartcuts" that eliminate unnecessary effort and yield sustainable momentum. In Smartcuts, Snow shatters common wisdom about success, revealing how conventions like "paying dues" prevent progress, why kids shouldn't learn times tables, and how, paradoxically, it's easier to build a huge business than a small one.

From SpaceX to The Cuban Revolution, from Ferrari to Skrillex, Smartcuts is a narrative adventure that busts old myths about success and shows how innovators and icons do the incredible by working smarter - and how perhaps the rest of us can, too.

©2014 Shane Snow (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (186 )
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4.3 (149 )
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  •  
    TRENDS 09-22-14
    TRENDS 09-22-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    4
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    "Smartcuts Delivers The Goods!"
    What did you love best about Smartcuts?

    Smartcuts was awesome because of how it brought the different principles together in an applicable format. Theory was backed up by how they were executed and studies that aligned.


    What other book might you compare Smartcuts to and why?

    If you combined the principles from Smartcuts, Lean Startup and Virtual Freedom you'd be one powerhouse player.


    13 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TupacAmaru 01-07-15
    TupacAmaru 01-07-15 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Interesting and Important book"

    I truly found this book useful. He made a deliberate decision to look at his subject matter in a different way, used current examples and didn't try to force-fit the evidence to fit his theory (a major sin of a lot of modern writers). I've already recommended this book to 3 persons.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 01-30-15
    Gerardo Austin, TX, United States 01-30-15 Member Since 2011

    Businessman, Technologist, Marketer. Loves to learn and enjoys books. Mostly nonfiction plus historic novels.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Inspirational but not very practical"

    This is a super interesting read (or listen). The book is very well written and very well read. It is enjoyable.

    The stories are very inspirational. The message is crisp. The principles are valid and valuable. I just don't think it is a book that makes it easy to put them into practice. The stories are based on ultra successful people, some that started at the bottom, and how they rose to success - but there is little advice that one can get into practice at the end of the book.

    It is not one of those books that leaves me with a dozen post-it notes and a couple action items. And yet, I have to recommend this book. It delivers on its promise of success hacking.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    mcw 02-09-15
    mcw 02-09-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Pretty Good"

    I guess I just had different expectations for what this book delivered. It was an analysis of successes and constant affirmation that lateral thinking and climbing different ladders is the way to the top.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daniel 02-04-15
    Daniel 02-04-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Good stuff"

    Some salient and memorable points. You can tell the collection of work it draws on is more limited than that of some other professional researchers and professors on the topic, but the points extracted are nevertheless insightful and packaged in interesting and engaging vignettes. Four stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Pelto United States 02-03-15
    L. Pelto United States 02-03-15 Member Since 2014

    BookGobbler140

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
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    Performance
    Story
    "Kind of boring and repetitive"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    To be truthful, I drifted off into thoughts many times while listening. I got bored. Perhaps abridging it would be better?


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Rewrite and edit to take out the repetitive parts and make it less boring in the reading.


    Did Shane Snow and Erik Bergmann do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    Meh


    What did you take away from Smartcuts that you can apply to your work?

    I'm not sure they delivered on the promises to show you how to hack into success faster. The Jimmy Fallon stuff was my favorite part of the book.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm sorry, because I really wanted to love it. :(

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joshua Wilson 02-02-15 Member Since 2014

    Lifetime learner

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    4
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    "Smart people should read Smart Cuts"

    This book give me the basic framework to think about how to leverage when I already know to accomplish the things I wish to accomplish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carolina 01-29-15
    Carolina 01-29-15
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    "A must read!!"

    Fantastic writer! Great real life examples from all kinds of industries. Changed the way I work and think about innovation. Will make you smarter

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rishabh 01-20-15
    Rishabh 01-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Awesome book"

    Love how the author explains each smartcut. It's one of those books I want to keep as a reference in the future.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John 01-14-15
    John 01-14-15 Member Since 2014
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    9
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    "Great book"

    I don't normally listen to books twice but I have every intention of listening to this one twice. One of the best books I've listened to so far.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Mr
    12/1/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good examples taken of real life short cuts!"
    What made the experience of listening to Smartcuts the most enjoyable?

    Real life examples from a variety of people - surfers to presidents - make the book very enjoyable!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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