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Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success Hardcover – September 9, 2014

4.5 out of 5 stars 235 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“As fascinating as it is fun, Smartcuts is an engaging journey through the types of lateral thinking and creative strategies that so often underlie success.” (Maria Konnikova, New York Times bestselling author of Mastermind)

Smartcuts solves a major mystery, illuminating how visionaries and pioneers find faster ways to achieve their goals. With spellbinding stories and relevant research, Shane Snow has delivered one of the most entertaining and thought-provoking books of the year.” (--Adam Grant, Wharton professor and author of Give and Take)

Smartcuts is surprising and awesome. It’s Malcolm Gladwell meets Tim Ferriss. Part Good to Great, part McGuyver, this is a book every 21st century entrepreneur should read.” (Scott Gerber, Founder, Young Entrepreneurs Council)

“Shane is living proof that Smartcuts work. He hacked his way into Fast Company, Wired and Ad Age, built a multi-million dollar startup by age 30, and now he’s written his first of what I’m sure will be many excellent books. Follow this guy!” (--Ryan Holiday, bestselling author of Trust Me I'm Lying and The Obstacle Is The Way)

“Shane Snow is a fresh and future-thinking voice in today’s tumultuous business climate. You must read Smartcuts if you are a social entrepreneur or would like to be one, because what Shane teaches us most of all is to be “bigger than just business.” (--Soraya Darabi, Co-founder of Zady and Foodspotting)

“[Smartcuts] is a manifesto for success for those who do not want to toil away unnoticed.” (Financial Times)

“It’s worth its weight in 10 airport business books, in part because Snow is such a clear, beautiful writer who does not succumb to aphorism and business gobbledygook.” (New York Times Insider)

From the Back Cover

Serial entrepreneur and journalist Shane Snow delves into the reasons why some people and some organizations are able to achieve incredible things in implausibly short time frames, showing how each of us can use these "smartcuts" to rethink convention and accelerate success.

Why do some companies attract millions of customers in mere months while others flop? How did Alexander the Great, YouTube phenom Michelle Phan, and Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon dash to the top in less time than it takes most of us to get a midlevel promotion? How do high-growth businesses, world-class heart surgeons, and underdog marketers beat the norm?

Like computer hackers, a handful of innovators in every era use lateral thinking to find better routes to stunning accomplishments. Throughout history, the world's biggest successes have been achieved by those who refuse to follow the expected course and buck the norm.

Smartcuts is about bucking the norm.

In it, Snow shatters common wisdom about success, revealing how conventions like "paying dues" prevent progress, why kids shouldn't learn multiplication tables, and how, paradoxically, it's easier to build a huge business than a small one.

Smartcuts tells the stories of innovators who dared to work differently and lays out practical takeaways for the rest of us. It's about applying entrepreneurial and technological concepts to success, and how, by emulation, we too can leapfrog competitors, grow businesses, and fix society's problems faster than we think.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (September 9, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062302450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062302458
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (235 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #71,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian R. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Most business strategy and self improvement books are dry and boring. This one is none of those. It was the right mix of tech language yet some of the more complex ideas were explained in laymans' terms. In each chapter or section, Shane gives multiple examples of what he's trying to explain, and often like a novel, will track 3 or 4 different experiences at once. He'll then bring them all back together by the end of the chapter to make a cohesive point about what he's explaining.

He presents not just the examples that support his ideas, but also gives examples of people who, when faced with similar situations, also fail. This lends some credibility and lets you see what that line is between a "smartcut" and a "shortcut". While there's still a lot of factors that go into creating and capitalizing on a Smartcut, he supports his ideas and the concept well.

At the very least, this book will give you the awareness that climbing the ladder rung by rung is not the only option. It's not always easy to spot and use a Smartcut, but reading this book will help you prepare for doing it. I'd say this book is a lot like Rich Dad, Poor Dad. It's a philosophy and mindset that needs adopted in order to get any benefit. And while it might not always be at the front of your mind, having this knowledge in your back pocket will add to your skillset and strategy as you make your way through your career.

Smartcuts is honestly one of the most well-written books I've read.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book serves as an original career and entrepreneurship guide in the 21st century (which was not the intent of the author). The main thesis of Shane Snow is that luck does not just happen. Using surfing metaphors, Snow indicates that the ones who catch the wave (luck) are the ones who were ready all along looking for it. These remarkable individuals were bound to catch a good wave (luck) sooner or later. It was just a matter of time. And, the way they went about it; they did not waste much time doing it. They did not pay their dues for decades. They spent no time in stagnant situations. They kept moving forward and often laterally (typically a lot faster than the rest of us). This does not mean they did not work very hard. They did. It does not mean they cheated and cut corners. To the contrary, they maintained superior ethical standards. Snow defines smart cuts as short cuts with integrity. These individuals worked smarter, more creatively, and better understood how to take their next step. Most often, they were guided by a life-passion, an interest, a focus that kept them honed like a heat-missile towards their target.

Snow outlines nine foundational smart cuts principles that can accelerate anyone’s career or one’s company growth. They all make perfect sense, are intuitive, not controversial, and not far-fetched. Snow does not make anything up. Every single of his smart cuts principle is well supported by research and documented by many examples.

The smart-cut thinking is an offshoot of “lateral thinking” as defined and developed by Edward de Bono. And, Snow gives de Bono his due credit for the concept. However, while I have read most of de Bono’s books, and did find them interesting; I find Snow’s book far more insightful.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've personally wondered why some things or people rise to the top quickly, and why others never seem to make it. That made Shane Snow's “Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success” a very interesting read. The concept of applying lateral thinking, as computer hackers do, to break rules and reach career heights quickly was not only interesting, but provided some insightful secrets to how some succeeded.

To illustrate the concept of lateral thinking, Snow profiles some unique individuals and businesses and how they achieved accelerated success. I found these stories both fascinating and educational. These profiles included Jimmy Fallon's rise to stardom, David Heinemeier Hanson's quick rise in racing, Michelle Phan's video climb, and D'Wayne Edwards' shoe design quest among others. Cpmpanies include SpaceX, Skrilex and more. All of these stories kept my attention, and illustrated the points Snow wanted to make in this book.

These points, or concepts, cover hacking the ladder, training with masters, rapid feedback, platforms, catching waves, superconnecting, momentum, simplicity and 10X thinking.

There might not be any shortcuts to success, but these stories by Shane Snow prove there are Smartcuts to accelerated career climbing and business growing. Or at least there were for certain individuals and companies. That is the one part of the book that isn't explored, and that is what about people or businesses that do the same, but don't achieve the same rate of success? What if someone's “gut feeling” for catching waves is wrong? How do you ensure your “gut feeling” is accurate and correct?

I really enjoyed reading about the people and businesses in this book, and I liked the concepts.
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