This is a book about thinking and working differently.
Most good things take time. But they don't have to take so much time. Smartcuts is about the outdated best practices and counterintuitive human behavior that holds us back from personal growth, breakthrough problem solving, and business success—and how to blaze our own hacker trails by using "lateral thinking."
Here's a little about what's in it:
Ch1. Hacking The Ladder
Why paying dues is not a winning strategy for personal and business growth—and what to do instead. Also, I weirdly predicted the next two presidential election outcomes (and subsequent job performance) before anyone knew the candidates.
Ch2. Steal From Masters
What kind of teaching and mentorship accelerates our growth the most? The answer, it turns out, is twofold... and opposite of what most formal programs do.
Ch3. Feedback vs. Failure
When do we learn from failure? It turns out, only in certain circumstances. But when we get those circumstances right... we get world-class performance and accelerated growth.
When reinventing an industry or process, it pays to take a journey back to the fundamentals, the first principles underlying the current way things are done. But when trying to perform within a set industry or process, it pays to work on top of the highest layer of abstraction.
They say it's not what you know, but who you know. Turns out, what you know matters. And if what you know can help people who have lots of other people paying attention to them, "who you know" can be a very short list.
Ch6. The Second Wave
First mover advantage usually isn't the winner. The second mover who waits for the trailblazing work to be done can use lateral thinking to traverse the trail smarter. Also, good surfers spend time studying waves for patterns...
Ch7. Depressed Billionaires
No matter how successful we are, we're not going to be happy unless we have one particular, ongoing element in our lives. And it turns out that this element also has helped a lot of successful people do the impossible.
Ch8. Radical Simplification
How a design principle from Da Vinci to Apple Computer has helped save babies lives, and how the questions this principle forces us to ask can spark lateral thinking on a whole 'nother level.
Ch9. 10x Thinking
Popularized by Google X and Elon Musk (back before he turned into a political and media provocateur, ew), 10x thinking embodies what the best of lateral thinking can do for us.
And the secret is not about the ideas that come from this thinking... but how 10x thinking rallies the right people to our cause.
The New York Times:
“[Smartcuts] is 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.”
- David Carr