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 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: To rethink convention and break "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
Real life examples from a variety of people - surfers to presidents - make the book very enjoyable!
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.
Someone who has not read about the subject.
Propose new ideas.
The book can easily be written in 6 pages without loosing any important information.
"Smartcuts Delivers The Goods!"
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.
If you combined the principles from Smartcuts, Lean Startup and Virtual Freedom you'd be one powerhouse player.
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.
"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.
"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.
"Disappointed - This could have been so much 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.
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.
The performance was very competent but nothing out of the ordinary. It fit the book and never got on my nerves.
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.
"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.
"Great information for business and life"
Loved the information - there are so many take aways! Shane Snow is a good narrator - pace, tone, and voice keep attention and never grate.
"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.
"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.
"Truisms sprinkled amidst filler"
People who aren't particularly worried about their time and don't mind long, meandering, tangentially relevant anecdotes while trying to glean real value.
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.
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?
This book's poor signal to noise ratio makes it impossible to recommend.
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