Thursday, February 5, 2015

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success by Shane Snow

 Some takeaways from the book:

" New ideas emerge when you question the assumptions upon which a problem is based."

 Lateral thinking doesn't replace hard work; it eliminates unnecessary cycles.

 Momentum, not experience, is the single biggest predictor of business and personal success.

 Once a small win has been accomplished, forces are set in motion that favor another small win.

We live in an age of nontraditional ladder climbing. Not just in politics, but in personal and business development and education and entertainment and innovation. Traditional paths are not just slow; they no longer viable if we want to compete and innovate.

 Informal mentoring produced a larger and more significant effect on career outcomes than formal mentoring. Asking someone to formerly mentor you is like asking a celebrity for an autograph; it's stiff, inorganic, and often doesn't work it out.

 Research showed that experts – people who were masters of the trade – vastly preferred negative feedback to positive. It's spurred the most improvement. That was because criticism is generally more actionable than compliments.

 Perhaps the most important benefit of having super educated instructors is a better trained teacher is more adept at teaching children how to learn, whereas the coach turned geography teacher will often teach how to memorize. Finnish education reflects that: it focuses on teaching students how to think, not what to think.

 The trouble with moon walkers (Aldrin and Armstrong) and billionaires is once they arrive at the top, their momentum often stops. If they don't manage to find something to parlay, they turn into the kid on the jungle gym who just hangs from the ring. Not coincidentally, this is the same reason that only one third of Americans are happy at their jobs. When there is no forward momentum in our careers, we get depressed too.

 Research found that minor victories at work were nearly as psychologically powerful as major breakthroughs.

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