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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 Ratings

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  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

18 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great content, specially in audio format

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I was able to listen to this while doing other menial tasks, which made this a lot faster than sitting down to read. In terms of the content it's a great book to learn how others have learned to work smarter to get to their goals faster. Shane Snow's explanation of theories with every day examples of people who have succeeded with these techniques is super engaging and refreshing.

What did you like best about this story?

The examples brought it home for me. Specially when he concludes with Dwayne Edwards story.

Have you listened to any of Shane Snow and Erik Bergmann ’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Well Crafted. A little slow.

Stick with this through the tangents. He did an exceptional job of building concepts on top of each other. Similar content to Bold by Peter Diamandis, which I got a little more out of.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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. :(

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

11 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Bill Carr
  • 12-01-14

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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • omonefe
  • 04-01-17

Great read

Amazing read!! I just didn't want to drop it when I started. I also thought the last chapter was icing on the cake

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • deepa rao
  • 08-14-16

very good.

A must read book. My first ever book on audible and totally worth it .

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Cat
  • 12-27-15

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.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Florentino Quintero
  • 10-26-15

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 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jemma
  • 04-17-17

Loved this book!!

Love this book. Easy to listen to, great stories, modern examples. I didn't want it to end.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Sam
  • 11-20-16

Good starting point, no actionable takeaways

Great for someone looking to get inspired, but may be disappointing for anyone looking to find meaningful takeaways in this book. The book does not touch on how you find smartcuts, but rather is a series of stories about people who did. After listening to the book I understand what a smartcut is, but there's nothing I would change in my daily approach to my work based on the read. There's no actionable takeaways or clear guidance on what to do once you know what they are besides "look for them."

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brett
  • 05-19-16

great insight into the minds of the famous

great content and shared hacks from the famous. easy listening and good stories i recommend listening to this one. Who new Skrillex was so entrepreneurial

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Joh
  • 04-11-16

essential distuption technique pointers.

if you understand what that means, buy this book. It describes lucidly how to hack meaningfil outcomes.