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Smartcuts

How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

By Shane Snow
16-minute read
Audio available
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

Smartcuts (2014) is about the secrets used by innovative companies and bright minds to achieve big successes in the shortest possible time. It outlines the reasons why unconventional methods are much more powerful than traditional ones in today's business world, and what you can do to take advantage of them.

  • Entrepreneurs
  • Anyone interested in productivity or innovation

Shane Snow is an award-winning journalist whose work has been featured in Wired, Fast Company and the New Yorker. He co-founded the company Contently and serves on the Contently Foundation Board for Investigative Journalism.

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Smartcuts

How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

By Shane Snow
  • Read in 16 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 10 key ideas
Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow
Synopsis

Smartcuts (2014) is about the secrets used by innovative companies and bright minds to achieve big successes in the shortest possible time. It outlines the reasons why unconventional methods are much more powerful than traditional ones in today's business world, and what you can do to take advantage of them.

Key idea 1 of 10

Don't climb the career ladder from the bottom up – hack into it instead.

A lot of people assume that climbing the career ladder step by step is the best route to success. That's rarely the case, however, because success isn't just about working hard – it's about working smart.

That's where lateral thinking comes in. Lateral thinking is about making unseen connections between ideas and searching for smart solutions outside the box. It allows you to uncover possibilities you might not otherwise notice.

Lateral thinking helps you find smartcuts, the most efficient and sustainable means to success. Don't be turned off by the term's similarity to “shortcut," which has a negative connotation and implies that quality might be skimped. Smartcuts get you to where you want to be in the smartest way possible. Remember: there's nothing wrong with taking the quickest path to success. In fact, that's the best way to use your time and resources.

A lot of successful people have made good use of smartcuts, even several US presidents.

About one-third of US presidents didn't follow the traditional route of serving in Congress for a considerable period before running for the presidency, instead spending only about seven years in an elected office. They gained relevant experience in other fields, then managed to “hack” into the presidential ladder at just the right time.

Consider that Woodrow Wilson was the head of a university and Dwight Eisenhower, who went on to defeat Hitler, had never held an elected office before he became president. These men didn't climb their way straight up the political hierarchy – they moved across it diagonally. This is what you too need to aim for as an entrepreneur.

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