Ever wonder how some people and organizations manage to skyrocket to success, going from being unknown to being what everyone is talking about seemingly overnight? In Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators and Icons Accelerate Success, journalist and Web entrepreneur Shane Snow gives insights into nine strategies that buck the norm and enable the people and companies that use them to gain success in abnormally short times.
Published last month by Harper Business, Snow’s book is as entertaining is it is informative. Instead of just focusing on present day success stories, he mines history going all the way back to Alexander the Great to show us how some people are able to do incredible things at a pace that leaves others in the dust. He shows us how people have used lateral thinking that ignores conventional wisdom about how success is achieved to rise to the top. This isn’t just a stroll down history’s lanes, however; Snow uses plenty of current-day examples. I very much enjoyed the story of how “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon achieved success at such an early age.
(If you’d like a free copy of this book, be first person to e-mail me at Jeanne@yourghostwriter.com.)
As a communications professional, I particularly loved Snow’s description of how the Cuban revolutionaries, including Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, were able to use the technique of “superconnecting” to gain enough followers to overthrow the much better armed and financed Batista government. Snow defines superconnecting as “the act of making mass connections by tapping into hubs with many spokes.” In other words, identifying and reaching out to people who know lots of people will get you where you want to be a lot of faster than trying to build an audience or a customer base one person at a time.
One thing that’s important to note is the critical difference between smartcuts and shortcuts. Shortcuts are focused on short-term gains and can even involve immoral acts, such as cheating customers and suppliers. In contrast, smartcuts are focused on building long-term success; they involve working smarter and without the negative consequences that often come from taking shortcuts.
At just 200 pages, Smartcuts is a fast read that will provide you with plenty of ideas on how you can use lateral, smarter thinking to achieve greater success faster.