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Smartcuts

Smartcuts

by Shane Snow

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators and Icons Accelerate Success

Smartcuts (smart shortcuts) are tools to shorten the path to success. There are several basic categories of smartcuts.

First, you can find ways to shorten the job, cutting out unnecessary steps, people and processes. Once you’ve abridged the task at hand, you can use your energy more ...

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College students play a game called ‘Bigger and Better’, where they start trading small objects(like a toothpick or a snack bar) and eventually trade up to bigger stuff like a stereo in their hands.

Playing the game and paying your dues is really a trap that results in you getting stuck. Th...

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Waiting for a mentor is like waiting for a charming prince. Pursue your goal, and if you happen to find a good mentor, cool. If not, cool.

Study the people who went before you. You can’t always get a mentor, but you can always learn from history. 

Jimmy Fallon’s manager was his ...

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Feedback doesn’t usually work, because people are too self-conscious to take it to heart. And if feedback makes us self-conscious, it can make us perform worse. Nevertheless, negative feedback can be immensely helpful, if we can manage to focus on the task rather than on ourselves. It’s hard to b...

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Famous scientist and mathematician Freeman Dyson doesn’t think schools should teach kids math; rather, schools should teach kids the tools they need to do math. Instead of memorizing multiplication tables, kids should learn to use calculators. It turns out that hands-on learning makes us want to ...

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First movers have a high failure rate. Early leaders do not. The first movers have to do all the heavy lifting, like getting the infrastructure set up. Early leaders can then come in and get a free ride. But sometimes the first wave is the best one, after all.

Sometimes hard work isn’t enou...

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Imagine you’re at a party where you don’t know anyone. If you’re outgoing, you might walk up to someone and start talking to them. If you’re an introvert, you might wait for someone to talk to you. Either of these tactics might lead to conversations with a couple of people. Now imagine you have a...

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Wealthy people get depressed once they no longer have anything to work toward. Astronauts have this problem as well. So it turns out that people in dead-end jobs and really successful people have more in common than you might guess: they both get depressed because they feel they aren’t progressin...

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To innovate is to do something new. Disruptive innovation is when something new changes the game so completely as to eliminate all the established players. Disruptive innovations usually save either time or money. These technologies are simplifiers. They make things easier; they make things simpl...

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Innovators have a talent for simplification, for zeroing in on what matters, and for focusing on the important challenges that they face. And innovative geniuses eliminate unimportant decisions from their lives. Steve Jobs, for example, always wore black turtlenecks and one style of jeans so ...

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Entrepreneur Elon Musk sold his first video game at age 12, and by 31, he had started and sold two companies. With time and money on his hands, he began to study space travel.

The kind of smartcuts that drive Elon Musk’s success is called 10x Thinking — the art of taking a big swing. To rea...

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