Reading List: Smartcuts


“Traditional paths [to success] are not just slow; they’re no longer viable if we want to compete and innovate,” writes journalist and entrepreneur Shane Snow. What today’s entrepreneurs and innovators need are unconventional approaches, the titular “smartcuts.”

In Snow’s lexicon, a shortcut is a rapid, short-term gain, whereas a smartcut is a sustainable success achieved quickly through clever work. Snow identifies 10 smartcuts, including training with masters (finding a mentor) and superconnecting (using your network to bring others together). He devotes a chapter to each smartcut and illustrates through anecdotes why it works.

Snow analyzes successful people and high-growth businesses that achieve great things in extremely short timeframes. In the chapter on training with masters, he recounts how Jimmy Fallon’s agent/mentor helped him hone his skills to achieve his then-dream job on Saturday Night Live in two years. Fallon’s story is the best. The other case histories don’t work as well.

Smartcuts is a clever title with some fresh ideas. Unfortunately, beyond the 10 smartcuts, the book never quite jells.

by Shane Snow

Harper Business; $26.99

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Jessica Krampe is the digital managing editor for A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Jessica has worked for news, entertainment, business and lifestyle publications. Outside of the daily grind, she enjoys happy hours, live music and traveling.

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