Smartcuts by Shane Snow

This has a lot of case studies to explain the different points that he raises in the book.  There are nine chapters each with a few case studies of successful people and how they achieved their dreams.

This book is broken down into three parts and the 9 chapters are as follows:

Part I: Shorten

1.       Hacking the ladder: Bored Mormons

2.       Training with Masters: The vocal Thief

3.       Rapid Feedback: The F Word

Part II: Leverage

4.       Platforms: The laziest Programmer

5.       Waves: Moore and Moore

6.       Superconnectors: Space, Wars and Storytellers

Part III: Soar

7.       Momentum: Depressed Billionaires

8.       Simplicity: Hot Babes and paradise

9.       10x Thinking: The Rocketeer



Each part starts with a quote from Dr Seuss. 

  1. ‘You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.’
  2. ‘Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.’
  3. ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’

The first time I heard about Dr Seuss was when I sat on a kids ride at Universal Studios in Orlando.  I’ve been a convert ever since and have bought a load of his children’s books for my girls. He is wacky in his style of writing but it is so good.

Case Studies

The book starts off with a few case studies which he brings up in different chapters to show how they are following the process of that chapter. Some of the case studies include: 

  • Nathan Parkinson who first broke the world record for the fastest completion of Super Mario Bros
  • Jimmy Fallon a Saturday Night Live comic
  • Eli Pariser  who co-founded Upworthy
  • David Heinermeir Hanson who is a racing car driver.
  • Sonny Moore a Musician/DJ
  • Carissa Moore an award winning surfer
  • Michelle Phan a famous make-up artist who started on YouTube
  • Elon Musk owner of PayPal, space x and lots more
  • Dwayne Edwards of Pensole a sneaker designer

In the Epilogue, Dwayne Edwards’ life and career is then taken through the 9 chapters or stages in the book.


It is very inspiring book and one of the main things that stuck in my head is the story about how he, the author as a young child could swing across the Olympic rings at the playground gym like a pendulum to the next ring but if he stopped, then he was stuck on that ring.  He compared this to people’s ambition and successes. If you are stuck on whatever ring you are on, no matter how rich you are, if you are not moving forward, if you are not progressing then you can become depressed and he gives some real life examples.

There are some more great ideas in this book.  For a start there’s the whole idea on whether you should encourage or criticise someone in order for them to progress in their chosen field.  The conclusion to this was a novice needs encouragement while experts require harsher feedback.

In order to save time in the day, there is a discussion on how to minimise having to make a decision on what to eat or wear. Not having to think about these things will give you more time to think about the more important things in life. I’m not sure I have much choice in the cooking and eating part of the process but I can save time with clothes if I prepare in advance or just wear similar outfits all the time.

There are also lots of case studies based on events or companies such as how Finland Schools created some of the best schools in the world.  There are more details about a famous Oreo tweet that went out when the lights failed during a Super bowl game ‘You can still dunk in the dark’.

I would definitely recommend this book as not only is it very inspiring, as case studies of successful people tend to be, but it also goes into details of techniques that can be used to attempt to do the same thing.


You can buy the book here by following this amazon link:





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