Smartcuts covers how to stimulate - mostly - professional development. Hence its subtitle is How Hackers, Innovators and Icons Accelerate Success.
By example, the author Shane Snow analyzes how certain successful people move seemingly faster to the top than others. And while there is no overnight success, you have to work hard to be among the best, there are ways to stand out and to arrive at the top a bit faster.
First, Snow emphasizes the importance of understanding how to climb a ladder. Traditional ladders are just slow, in certain cases are not even viable. He suggests switching ladders sometimes, bringing as an example of how quite a few of the US presidents got elected. And the book was written even before Trump arrived at the Oval Office without any political experience. But if you read the first chapter, you’ll understand he is not the first such president.
If you want to reach the top, you have to work hard and smart. You have to train. And there is not much value in learning from mediocre trainers, you have to learn from the best. It’s not a coincidence that so many career advisors suggest not to pick a job based on the salary but based on from who and what you can learn.
Getting and even more to actively seek for feedback is essential, either if you train with a master or if you are trying to hit the market with a new product. Put aside that if someone gives you constructive feedback, he gets more engaged with your case. What’s more important for the moment that it’s much easier to improve if people tell you what is wrong. Is it evident? Yes. Do you still embrace feedback in your life? I’m sure some of you will say yes. Some.
Going back to the work smarter part. You don’t have to build things from scratch. In fact, it would be rather moron. When you develop a website, do you use some frameworks and libraries or do you recode everything? After all, do you use a high-level language or do you write in assembly? God forbid, do you write in machine code directly? I’m pretty sure that you don’t reinvent the wheel every morning. That’s a mindset you have to embrace in order to grow faster. Step on the shoulders of giants and use what’s already out there. You’ll have more energy to use your creativity to build something new, something outstanding.
You also have to be at the good place at the good moment. One might say it’s about luck. In certain cases, it can be luck. But if we analyze long last successes, they are never about luck. The lucky ones will barely be able to sustain the momentum, their success will fade out quickly. You have to be out there and experiment with trends, analyze and understand them. It will give you leverage. After some time, you’ll understand which wave it’s worth to ride and you’ll find your rides one after the other.
Something that will help you stand out on your journey is simplicity. That’s something I talk about in Zuckerberg and his gray T-Shirt. Greatly successful people try to cut meaningless choices out of their lives. That’s why Barack Obama or Steve Jobs mostly wear/wore the same clothes all the time. They have/had more important decisions to make. So do you. I don’t say that you have to wear the same clothes every day - especially not without having them cleaned - but you do have to consider the importance of your decisions.
But simplicity is not only about individual decisions. It’s also about product design. It’s not by chance that Steve Jobs referred to simplicity as “the ultimate sophistication”. Just keep it simple.
Last but not least, Snow writes about 10x thinking. Thinking big has a big tradition in motivational literature and its importance can be explained in multiple ways.
One is that if you aim high, like 10x you have to approach things from a different perspective and even if you don’t manage to reach the 10x goal you have in front of your eyes, only let’s say twice or three times. You already won big compared to the others.
The other approach is what Snow took in his book is that while people are willing to support small dreams, they do it only with kind words. On the other hand, they are more happy to support huge dreams by investing their money and even their lives in it.
“Big causes attract big believers, big investors, big capital, big-name advisers, and big talent. They force us to rethink convention and hack the ladder of success.”
In his book, Smartcuts, Snow walks the reader through ten steps to achieve more than conventional hard workers by working smart and using the knowledge and platforms already out there. I liked the book because it gathers many ideas that you might have already had, but now they are more organized in my head. Besides given the many stories of successful people in it, the book is easy to read and to remember to. I am not sure if the book is a game-changer, but it definitely helps to guide us forward in our careers and everyone can find some ideas in it that she can use on the way.