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Smartcuts Audiobook

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 (521 )
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Performance
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  •  
    TRENDS 09-22-14
    TRENDS 09-22-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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.


    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jim sylvester 08-16-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Just ok"

    The book seemed to have a too many references to products, and websites. I also thoght that the book did not clearly define each "smarrcut" abd how it could be used in everyday life.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Scott Wozniak 03-20-15 Member Since 2016
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    "Great stories, ideas--could change your life."

    Great book on how to radically accelerate your life and your influence. It shows how things like mentoring and leveraging platforms and the ability to see "waves" coming can make the difference from incremental change to big leaps forward. He challenges us to reject the idea of slowly working our way up the ladder, spending years of paying dues before you can finally do something big or meaningful. He says that if you are willing to rethink some assumptions you can leap forward and instead of taking shortcuts for 10% improvements you can take what he calls smartcuts and get 10X improvement.

    With gripping stories as examples and solid social science to back it up, this is one of the better books I've read. Highly recommend it.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    TupacAmaru 01-07-15
    TupacAmaru 01-07-15
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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.

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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.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff Thomason 06-30-15 Member Since 2016

    SkyFitsJeff

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    "Disappointed - This could have been so much more"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    If you have a fairly liberal mindset, you enjoy sexist language, and you just want your worldview reinforced, you'll enjoy this. If you are looking for insight, useful perspective, or specific ideas to help you improve in work and life then I'm afraid you'll find yourself disappointed. The stories are interesting but unrelated, and the author's explanation is over simplistic and lacks the research and logical rigor of other books I've read. If you just want an entertaining read about interesting true stories, you'll probably enjoy this.


    Has Smartcuts turned you off from other books in this genre?

    I will be more cautious in the future and probably read the Kindle sample before wasting another credit on a title that sounds interesting but is by an author I'm unfamiliar with or that wasn't strongly recommended by a trusted reader.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was very competent but nothing out of the ordinary. It fit the book and never got on my nerves.


    Any additional comments?

    I read a lot of these types of books, and they are hit or miss. Some are excellent and I can't wait to recommend them to everyone else and put the things I've learned into practice. This wasn't one of those. It felt like someone had read the books I have read, loved them, and wanted to write one himself but lacked the insight to do so. It was entertaining, but not as educational as I've come to expect. And I was put off by the sexist language.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Brun 05-08-16 Member Since 2014
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    "Waste of time."

    This book is such a disappointment and I still don't understand how it got so many good reviews. The book is filled with recycled anecdotes and stories from so many other startup and marketing books. Nothing new here, so don't waste your time and go straight to Malcom Gladwell or Seth Godin, because this is just a watered-down version of their books.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim Dierckxsens Belgium 04-04-16
    Tim Dierckxsens Belgium 04-04-16 Member Since 2015
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    "A fresh perspective"

    New stories and a fresh perspective. There were a few moments I grew tired of listening but there are enough gems to compensate.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Yoshida 03-27-16
    A. Yoshida 03-27-16
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    "Some Good Advice"

    The book has some good ideas but the writing style and content are lacking. The chapter starts with an anecdote and stops abruptly with a teaser. There is a slow build-up to the actionable advice but not actually revealing it. Then the author returns to the anecdote at the beginning of the chapter. At this point, you've forgotten what was the anecdote about. While some of the advice seems to make sense and the author provided examples to support it (like if your career ladder is blocked, switch to another one or make lateral moves to climb faster -- case in point, some ambitious U.S. presidents has less years in politics than U.S. senators). Then there is the advice to find a mentor who can guide you specifically on your career and give frequent feedback. The author gives the example of Jimmy Fallon, who had a laser beam focus on joining Saturday Night Live. The first time he auditioned, he wasn't selected. He kept at and honed his skills until he got another chance to audition for SNL. Wait a second... what about the advice of switching to another career? What about the examples of young presidents on the fast track who didn't put in their time through each rung of the political career ladder? When are you supposed to know when you're not good enough versus when you're in a dead-end career?? The other noteworthy advice is to hunt for patterns. Experience people recognize patterns, like what makes a good song. Successful people hunt for patterns, like what is the next music genre that will hit it big.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reg 01-21-16
    Reg 01-21-16
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    "Truisms sprinkled amidst filler"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    People who aren't particularly worried about their time and don't mind long, meandering, tangentially relevant anecdotes while trying to glean real value.


    What could Shane Snow have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    There's just not enough usable content here. Having listened to several audiobooks recently, I see a disturbing trend requiring authors to pad their books, perhaps to meet some arbitrary length requirement at the behest of publishers. The anecdotes might be necessary if the concepts he was trying get across were complex or needed clarification through example, but they don't. The book should've been an hour in length, if that, based on the amount of actionable information in the book.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    No favorites.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Smartcuts?

    All the unnecessary (and somewhat uninteresting) tales of surfers, and singers, and freedom fighters, might have been all right in a different book, but I was left wondering why they're here. Again, the concepts the book offers are straightforward. Would you need to hear a 15-20 minute tale of someone looking both ways before crossing the street, before buying into the notion that looking both ways before crossing is a good idea?


    Any additional comments?

    This book's poor signal to noise ratio makes it impossible to recommend.

    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!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Cat
    Hatfield, United Kingdom
    12/27/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Disappointing"

    Although I've not since checked, I think when I downloaded this book I did so off the back of some very positive reviews. Hmmm. Maybe I should go revisit them and see what on earth inspired the readers and listeners.
    The reading style was fine (even at speed x 3)
    The content was frankly too weak, too convenient, for my liking.
    I understand the theory and applicability of 'smart cuts'.
    The stories unto themselves were great but trying to pull it all together into 9 fundamentals of **applicable** smart cuts was where I found myself somewhat wryly thinking, "Really?!"..
    I even wrote down the nine points, to study them more closely ; was I missing something?
    Maybe I was, maybe I did.. Maybe that failing was more mine than the books but either which way, the simple fact is that I felt disappointed with SmartCuts.
    Drat.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Florentino Quintero
    Monterrey, Mexico
    10/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
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    "A bit of common sense and a lot of plagiarism"
    If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Someone who has not read about the subject.


    What could Shane Snow have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Propose new ideas.


    You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The book can easily be written in 6 pages without loosing any important information.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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