How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

by Shane Snow

Number of pages: 257

Publisher: Harper Business

BBB Library: Entrepreneurship

ISBN: 9780062302458

About the Author

Shane Snow is a journalist and entrepreneur. A fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, Snow has been named one of the Fobes magazine’s “30 Under 30 Media Innnovators.”


Editorial Review

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. 

Book Reviews

"In his book, Snow teaches you how you can do more than you are doing and do it faster than you think by thinking about things smarter. He also explains how you can find the business secrets to shorten your path to success in real life and divides the book into three main sections of how this happens based on hundreds of interviews with incredible people."The Entrepreneurs Library

"This book comes out of countless hours of research, hundreds of interviews, and the dissection of myriad academic papers in an effort to answer that question."Stanford Social Innovation Review

"SmartCuts is an attempt at explaining how the outliers Snow has observed in his journalistic career have managed to completely bypass the traditional, incremental, system of progress that most of us work through." Adam Chudy

"Snow's advice is sensible, if not groundbreaking: Be savvy, flexible, make an effort to learn from your mistakes and others' successes and collaborate with well-connected people." Los Angeles Times

"The focal point of Smartcuts is centered around busting old myths and scrapping conventional wisdom that most of us follow in an effort to get ahead in life. Snow’s overall thesis is that progress can be faster today than ever before." Tech in Asia

Books on Related Topics

Wisdom to Share

People are generally willing to support other people’s small dreams with kind words.

Creativity comes easier within constraints.

USB flash drives were not just less expensive than compact discs, but simpler to use.

Disruptive innovation is when the introduction of a lower-cost product steals market share from existing players, like when email usurped postal mail.

Simplification often makes the difference between good and amazing.

Sometimes bigger is not better. Sometimes more of a good thing is too much.

The trouble with billionaires is when they arrive at the top, their momentum often stops.

Soar principles explain how people from different wakes of life defy expectations and become world-class icons.

Mentorship is the secret of many of the highest-profile achievers throughout history.

There is a difference between rapid, but short-term gains, which we call shortcuts, and sustainable success achieved quickly through smart work or smartcuts.

Anyone can speed up progress in business or life

The common pattern is that, like computer hackers, certain innovators break convention to find better routes to stunning accomplishments.

Pick your era in history and you’ll find a handful of people who buck the norm and do incredible things in implausibly short amounts of time.

Despite leaps in what we can do, most of us will follow comfortable, pre-prescribed paths.