cover image Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

Shane Snow. Harper Business, $26.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-230245-8

Journalist and Contently cofounder Snow is chomping at the bit to see even more radical changes in an already fast-moving world: “By the end of this book, I’d like to convince you that serendipity can be engineered, that luck can be manufactured, convention can be defied, and that the best paths to success—no matter how you define it—are different today from what they were yesterday.” Snow’s big idea is that we need to break away from traditional business practices, which allowed decades for big changes to come to fruition. The key, according to Snow, is learning to think like a hacker. He traces the book’s genesis to an article he worked on for Fast Company during the tech boom, and subsequent research into the behavior patterns of successful tech companies. Here, he discusses the ways in which rapid success has happened throughout history, with examples ranging from U.S. presidents to Jimmy Fallon. Snow also stresses the importance of masters (read: mentors) and the kind of iterative innovation computer programmers learn to do as a matter of course. Getting “rapid feedback” is essential—and is how Upworthy learned the most infuriatingly effective ways to get readers to click. Snow’s points are interesting, and his writing both earnest and engaging; readers are sure to find this book both inspiring and helpful. (Sept.)