Smartcuts: The Breakthrough Power of Lateral Thinking

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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.

From SpaceX to The Cuban Revolution, from Ferrari to Skrillex, Smartcuts is a narrative adventure that busts old myths about success and shows how innovators and icons do the incredible by working smarter—and how perhaps the rest of us can, too.

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About the author

Shane Snow is a New York City–based journalist and Web entrepreneur, and the cofounder and chief creative officer of the media technology company Contently. He holds a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University and is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts. Snow contributes regularly to Wired magazine and Fast Company, and has written about innovation for numerous publications, including the New Yorker, the Washington Post, and Advertising Age. Snow is a sought-after speaker at technology and advertising summits, and writes for LinkedIn's Influencer program. His work in technology entrepreneurship has been recognized by the United Nations, the New York Times, Inc., Forbes, Details, and New York City's Economic Development Council.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Sep 9, 2014
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Pages
272
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ISBN
9780062302465
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / General
Business & Economics / Leadership
Business & Economics / Management
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Steven D. Levitt
The New York Times bestselling Freakonomics changed the way we see the world, exposing the hidden side of just about everything. Then came SuperFreakonomics, a documentary film, an award-winning podcast, and more.

Now, with Think Like a Freak, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner have written their most revolutionary book yet. With their trademark blend of captivating storytelling and unconventional analysis, they take us inside their thought process and teach us all to think a bit more productively, more creatively, more rationally—to think, that is, like a Freak.

Levitt and Dubner offer a blueprint for an entirely new way to solve problems, whether your interest lies in minor lifehacks or major global reforms. As always, no topic is off-limits. They range from business to philanthropy to sports to politics, all with the goal of retraining your brain. Along the way, you’ll learn the secrets of a Japanese hot-dog-eating champion, the reason an Australian doctor swallowed a batch of dangerous bacteria, and why Nigerian e-mail scammers make a point of saying they’re from Nigeria.

Some of the steps toward thinking like a Freak:

First, put away your moral compass—because it’s hard to see a problem clearly if you’ve already decided what to do about it. Learn to say “I don’t know”—for until you can admit what you don’t yet know, it’s virtually impossible to learn what you need to. Think like a child—because you’ll come up with better ideas and ask better questions. Take a master class in incentives—because for better or worse, incentives rule our world. Learn to persuade people who don’t want to be persuaded—because being right is rarely enough to carry the day. Learn to appreciate the upside of quitting—because you can’t solve tomorrow’s problem if you aren’t willing to abandon today’s dud.

Levitt and Dubner plainly see the world like no one else. Now you can too. Never before have such iconoclastic thinkers been so revealing—and so much fun to read.

Shane Snow
A terrific and timely book that makes a compelling case for fundamentally rethinking how your business communicates. Recommended!

-Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and author of Hug Your Haters

Once upon a time, storytelling was confused with talking at people. Not anymore. Shane and Joe are your narrators in a journey that will transform how you talk to other human beings to be more believable, relevant, compelling and unforgettable.

-Brian Solis, experience architect, digital anthropologist, best-selling author


Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas spend the overwhelming majority of their time thinking, writing, and theorizing about brand storytelling - so you don't have to. They're smart and they know this topic inside out (and sideways). Read their book. While I can't guarantee you'll rise to Shane and Joe's ridiculously obsessive level, you will be infinitely better prepared to tell your own brand's story. Promise!

-Rebecca Lieb,Analyst, Author & Advisor


“The Contently team understands the power of story, and how to craft and spread a great narrative, like no other. In an era where brand, design, and mission are a competitive advantage for every business, Contently underscores the importance of stories and how they transform companies and industries.”

-Scott Belsky, Entrepreneur, Investor, & Author (Founder of Behance, bestselling author of Making Ideas Happen)

I can't think of a better way to illustrate the power of story telling than by telling great stories. This book should be required reading not just by those with content in their titles, but by anyone in Marketing AND Sales. Then, when you're done, give it to your CEO to read... but make sure you get it back, because I guarantee you'll refer to it more than once.

-Shawna Dennis, Senior Marketing Leader


Neuroscience, algorithms, illustrations, personal anecdotes and good, old-fashioned empathy: This entertaining and informative tome journeys to the core of how we communicate and pushes us, as marketers and humans, to do it better, "speeding the reader through" and leaving us wanting more.

-Ann Hynek, VP of global content marketing at Morgan Stanley

Transform your business through the power of storytelling.

Content strategists Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow offer an insider’s guide to transforming your business—and all the relationships that matter to it—through the art and science of telling great stories.

Smart businesses today understand the need to use stories to better connect with the people they care about. But few know how to do it well. In The Storytelling Edge, the strategy minds behind Contently, the world renowned content marketing technology company, reveal their secrets that have helped award-winning brands to build relationships with millions of advocates and customers.

Join as they dive into the neuroscience of storytelling, the elements of powerful stories, and methodologies to grow businesses through engaging and accountable content.

With The Storytelling Edge you will discover how leaders and workers can craft the powerful stories that not only build brands and engage customers, but also build relationships and make people care—in work and in life.

Shane Snow
A terrific and timely book that makes a compelling case for fundamentally rethinking how your business communicates. Recommended!

-Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and author of Hug Your Haters

Once upon a time, storytelling was confused with talking at people. Not anymore. Shane and Joe are your narrators in a journey that will transform how you talk to other human beings to be more believable, relevant, compelling and unforgettable.

-Brian Solis, experience architect, digital anthropologist, best-selling author


Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas spend the overwhelming majority of their time thinking, writing, and theorizing about brand storytelling - so you don't have to. They're smart and they know this topic inside out (and sideways). Read their book. While I can't guarantee you'll rise to Shane and Joe's ridiculously obsessive level, you will be infinitely better prepared to tell your own brand's story. Promise!

-Rebecca Lieb,Analyst, Author & Advisor


“The Contently team understands the power of story, and how to craft and spread a great narrative, like no other. In an era where brand, design, and mission are a competitive advantage for every business, Contently underscores the importance of stories and how they transform companies and industries.”

-Scott Belsky, Entrepreneur, Investor, & Author (Founder of Behance, bestselling author of Making Ideas Happen)

I can't think of a better way to illustrate the power of story telling than by telling great stories. This book should be required reading not just by those with content in their titles, but by anyone in Marketing AND Sales. Then, when you're done, give it to your CEO to read... but make sure you get it back, because I guarantee you'll refer to it more than once.

-Shawna Dennis, Senior Marketing Leader


Neuroscience, algorithms, illustrations, personal anecdotes and good, old-fashioned empathy: This entertaining and informative tome journeys to the core of how we communicate and pushes us, as marketers and humans, to do it better, "speeding the reader through" and leaving us wanting more.

-Ann Hynek, VP of global content marketing at Morgan Stanley

Transform your business through the power of storytelling.

Content strategists Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow offer an insider’s guide to transforming your business—and all the relationships that matter to it—through the art and science of telling great stories.

Smart businesses today understand the need to use stories to better connect with the people they care about. But few know how to do it well. In The Storytelling Edge, the strategy minds behind Contently, the world renowned content marketing technology company, reveal their secrets that have helped award-winning brands to build relationships with millions of advocates and customers.

Join as they dive into the neuroscience of storytelling, the elements of powerful stories, and methodologies to grow businesses through engaging and accountable content.

With The Storytelling Edge you will discover how leaders and workers can craft the powerful stories that not only build brands and engage customers, but also build relationships and make people care—in work and in life.

Shane Snow
A terrific and timely book that makes a compelling case for fundamentally rethinking how your business communicates. Recommended!

-Jay Baer, founder of Convince & Convert and author of Hug Your Haters

Once upon a time, storytelling was confused with talking at people. Not anymore. Shane and Joe are your narrators in a journey that will transform how you talk to other human beings to be more believable, relevant, compelling and unforgettable.

-Brian Solis, experience architect, digital anthropologist, best-selling author


Shane Snow and Joe Lazauskas spend the overwhelming majority of their time thinking, writing, and theorizing about brand storytelling - so you don't have to. They're smart and they know this topic inside out (and sideways). Read their book. While I can't guarantee you'll rise to Shane and Joe's ridiculously obsessive level, you will be infinitely better prepared to tell your own brand's story. Promise!

-Rebecca Lieb,Analyst, Author & Advisor


“The Contently team understands the power of story, and how to craft and spread a great narrative, like no other. In an era where brand, design, and mission are a competitive advantage for every business, Contently underscores the importance of stories and how they transform companies and industries.”

-Scott Belsky, Entrepreneur, Investor, & Author (Founder of Behance, bestselling author of Making Ideas Happen)

I can't think of a better way to illustrate the power of story telling than by telling great stories. This book should be required reading not just by those with content in their titles, but by anyone in Marketing AND Sales. Then, when you're done, give it to your CEO to read... but make sure you get it back, because I guarantee you'll refer to it more than once.

-Shawna Dennis, Senior Marketing Leader


Neuroscience, algorithms, illustrations, personal anecdotes and good, old-fashioned empathy: This entertaining and informative tome journeys to the core of how we communicate and pushes us, as marketers and humans, to do it better, "speeding the reader through" and leaving us wanting more.

-Ann Hynek, VP of global content marketing at Morgan Stanley

Transform your business through the power of storytelling.

Content strategists Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow offer an insider’s guide to transforming your business—and all the relationships that matter to it—through the art and science of telling great stories.

Smart businesses today understand the need to use stories to better connect with the people they care about. But few know how to do it well. In The Storytelling Edge, the strategy minds behind Contently, the world renowned content marketing technology company, reveal their secrets that have helped award-winning brands to build relationships with millions of advocates and customers.

Join as they dive into the neuroscience of storytelling, the elements of powerful stories, and methodologies to grow businesses through engaging and accountable content.

With The Storytelling Edge you will discover how leaders and workers can craft the powerful stories that not only build brands and engage customers, but also build relationships and make people care—in work and in life.

Shane Snow
 In SMARTCUTS nimmt der New Yorker Journalist Shane Snow das unkonventionelle Verhalten diverser Overachiever der Geschichte unter die Lupe: Menschen und Unternehmen, die in unwahrscheinlich kurzer Zeit unglaubliche Dinge zuwege bringen. Und er zeigt, wie jeder von uns mit »Smartcuts« seine Gewohnheiten überdenken und seinen Erfolg beschleunigen kann.
Warum ziehen manche Unternehmen in wenigen Monaten Millionen Kunden an, während andere floppen? Wie schafften es Alexander der Große, YouTube-Phänomen Michelle Phan und Tonight-Show-Moderator Jimmy Fallon, sich in kürzerer Zeit an die Spitze zu katapultieren, als die meisten von uns auf die nächste bescheidene Gehaltserhöhung warten müssen? Wie setzen sich schnell wachsende Unternehmen, Weltklasse-Herzchirurgen und Underdog-Vermarkter von der Masse ab?

In allen Bereichen gibt es Querdenker, die wie Computerhacker neue und bessere Wege finden, um Erstaunliches zu bewerkstelligen. Seit jeher werden die größten Erfolge von jenen Menschen errungen, die sich weigern, den ausgetretenen Pfaden zu folgen, und sich über die Norm hinwegsetzen.

In SMARTCUTS widerlegt Snow so manches vermeintliches Erfolgsrezept; er zeigt, warum es zwecklos ist, die »Mühlen zu durchlaufen«, warum Schulkinder keine Multiplikationstabellen auswendig zu lernen brauchen und warum es einfacher ist, ein großes anstelle eines kleinen Unternehmens aufzubauen.

SMARTCUTS berichtet von Innovatoren, die es gewagt haben, anders zu arbeiten, und bietet Ihnen praktische Tipps. Sie lernen, wie Sie unternehmerische und technologische Begriffe auf den Erfolg anwenden können und wie auch Sie durch Nachahmung Ihren Wettbewerbern den Rang ablaufen, Ihr Unter nehmen wachsen lassen und Gesellschaftsprobleme schneller lösen können, als Sie es für möglich gehalten hätten.
Shane Snow
„Jedna z nejzábavnějších a nejprovokativnějších knih, jakou jsem kdy četl.“ -Adam Grant, autor bestselleru Give and Take Všichni lidé se snaží uspět v tom, co dělají. Někomu se to nepodaří, někdo to dokáže po delší době díky tvrdé práci a trpělivosti. Občas ale někdo zazáří jako kometa: dostane se až na vrchol v závratně krátkém čase, všechno se mu daří lépe a rychleji a dosáhne neuvěřitelných výsledků. Jaké je tajemství těchto lidí? Novinář, inovátor a podnikatel Shane Snow tvrdí, že příběhy mimořádně úspěšných osob nesou jeden společný rys: obvykle nerespektují zavedená pravidla, přemýšlejí o problémech zcela novým, netradičním způsobem, daří se jim najít určitou „zkratku“, po níž se zatím nikdo nevydal a která vede k cíli rychleji a efektivněji než cesta, po níž kráčí většina. Využívají tzv. laterální myšlení a chovají se trochu jako hackeři ve světě počítačů – jejich řešení bývají překvapivá a novátorská, s lehkostí vybudují hned na začátku byznys ve velkém měřítku, přestože porušují snad všechny normy a pravidla. Osudy a myšlením těchto jedinců se můžeme inspirovat i my a objevit třeba nějakou dosud neznámou zkratku i v oblasti, které se sami věnujeme – a Shane Snow je při tom zasvěceným, kompetentním a současně i zábavným průvodcem. Není dnes pochyb o tom, že čas, který potřebují inovátoři k tomu, aby si splnili své sny, zbohatli a ovlivnili tvář světa, se stále zkracuje. V největší míře za to mohou technologie a komunikace. Stále akceptujeme názor, že k tak význačnému pokroku, jako třeba vyřešení problémů způsobených zločinností nebo inovace v medicíně, může dojít během několika generací. Navzdory skokové změně v tom, čeho můžeme dosáhnout, většina z nás stále kráčí po pohodlné, předem nalinkované cestě. Pracujeme usilovně, ale málokdy si pokládáme otázku, zda pracujeme také chytře. Pro někoho z nás se úspěch rovná bohatství, pro jiné je to povýšení, společenské uznání, popularita. Vyberme si jakékoli období lidských dějin a najdete hrstku lidí (nezáleží, v jakém oboru), kteří pohrdají pravidly a dovedou v neuvěřitelně krátkém čase neuvěřitelné věci. Obvykle to probíhá tak, že někteří inovátoři – podobně jako počítačoví hackeři – poruší konvence a objeví lepší způsoby, jak dosáhnout ohromujících výsledků. Rychlejšího pokroku může ve své kariéře i životě dosáhnout každý, nejen miliardáři nebo profesní rebelové. V knize Umění zkratky se autor snaží ukázat, jakým způsobem používali ti nejúspěšnější jedinci v dějinách laterální myšlení, aby uspěli v různých oblastech a s rozličnými cíli. Snaží se čtenáře přesvědčit, že ta nejrychlejší cesta k úspěchu není nikdy, či je málokdy, ta tradiční a osvědčená, že všechny konvence, na nichž jsme vyrostli, je možné porušit, obejít, opustit. Zkoumá nekonvenční chování výrazných a úspěšných osobností, počínaje vynikajícími podnikateli a lidmi, kteří se prosadili například v šoubyznysu, konče. V současné kultuře není „hacking“ něco, co dělají jen zločinci a IT specialisté, postupuje tak každý, kdo má schopnost nahlížet na nějaký problém laterálně. Laterální myšlení není náhrada tvrdé, pilné práce, jen eliminuje nepotřebné opakování některých úkonů. Jakmile jednou inovátoři objevili „zkratku“, nasměrují veškeré úsilí, aby toho mohli udělat ještě více. Některé konkrétní principy budou za několik let irelevantní, ale principy laterálního myšlení (právě „umění zkratky“), které stojí v pozadí všech příběhů o rychlém úspěchu, může využít kdokoli, kdo chce něčeho dosáhnout – jako lídr, politik, sportovec, umělec, ve vzdělávání i osobním rozvoji. Vše, co je v knize uvedeno, platí jak pro firmy velké, tak i pro startupy. Kniha, která postupně seznamuje čtenáře právě s principy laterálního myšlení (je jich devět), například Najděte si vlastní žebřík, Trénujte s mistry, Vlny či Rychlá odezva, je výsledkem mnoha hodin výzkumu, stovek interview a analýzy záplavy odborných studií s cílem najít odpověď na otázku: Jak to, že jim to jde tak rychle? Shane Snow je novinář odchovaný newyorským prostředím, podnikatel v informačních technologiích, spoluzakladatel a kreativní ředitel společnosti Contently. Pravidelně přispívá do časopisů Wired a Fast Company, napsal také mnoho příspěvků týkajících se inovací do New Yorker, Washington Post a Advertising Age. Vystudoval žurnalistiku na Columbia University. Často přednáší na summitech o IT a reklamě.
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