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.
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.
While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz's personal and often humbling experiences.
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 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.