314: Shane Snow | Smart Cuts


science / science 756 Views comments

Lateral Thinking Solves Problems Better.

"If you truly love life, don't waste time because time is what life is made of." - Bruce Lee

The Cheat Sheet:
  • Facebook and The Death Star: we compare.
  • The 3 ways to change on a micro level.
  • Skeptical optimism: what it is and why it is a powerful habit.
  • The Charlie Rose technique: how and when to use and why it's effective.
  • What ben franklin has to do with all of this.
  • The 5 second rule to overcoming your fears.
  • And so much more...

If you wrote for Wired or Fast Company, do you think you'd find innovative ways of living and working? The answer is yes, of course you would! And our guest for episode 314 does just that.

Shane Snow, author of Smart Cuts, is also a writer for these notable tech publications and he's here with us to share what lateral thinking is, how to use it for greater innovation in every area of your life and how to use neurotic spreadsheeting to make your life rock.

More About This Show:

Shane Snow is a whiz at finding out what makes people go against the grain and think in ways the average person doesn't. He's explored and studied this topic in depth, it's the theme of his book Smart Cuts. He's even coined a phrase for it called "lateral thinking". He says lateral thinking is reframing problems in such a way that you come up with different rules or you rearrange the pieces in new ways and see new things as a result. In short, lateral thinking about a topic is "Macgyvering" it: seeing a solution that is completely out of the box.

In this show, we go into detail on how to create habits of lateral thinking as suggested by Shane. One of his primary moves is to create what he calls "neurotic spreadsheets". These spreadsheets list your problem and then every possible assumption about that problem. Then list the answer to the question: what if this assumption weren't true? This will help you create a detailed, neurotic spreadsheet about your situation.

Later in the show, Shane and I revisit neurotic spreadsheeting and apply it to discovering why someone was the best and why. Shane did this for former US presidents and his results were startling. He looked at multiple factors like who had the highest approval rating, how much time they spent in Congress, etc. He shares his findings with us - it's really interesting!

Neurotic spreadsheeting is just one component of how to create lateral thinking habits. Another, perhaps easier, way to do this is by simply asking the question "Why?" -And not in an annoying way but getting to the bottom of why something has been done a certain way can help us reframe how we look at it. This line of thinking and questioning in business will help us to break convention and create innovative solutions, where others can't or don't see those solutions.

Although we cover much more on this show, one final piece of advice Simon had for us is his 5 second rule. It goes like this: you have five seconds to do something or agree to do something, even if you are afraid of doing it. Are you afraid to speak in public, but you were just offered an incredible keynote opportunity? You have five seconds to say yes.

When you do this often enough, you'll eventually stop being afraid of what you're agreeing to and become far more afraid of breaking your word to yourself and letting yourself down. You can apply this to any area of your life from your career to your love life. Too afraid to ask her out? Use the five second rule: give yourself til the count of five and then go ask. This is something Shane uses daily and it's made a world of difference what he takes on.

Shane and I cover a lot of ground in this episode, he was an awesome guest to have with us. His lateral thinking approach, his habit of skeptical optimism are additional powerful topics we touch on. Be sure to listen and then start implementing his Smart Cuts' suggestions. We'll see you next time.


If you enjoyed this session of the Art of Charm Podcast, let Shane know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out on Twitter:

Click here to thank Shane on Twitter!

Resources from this episode:

Shane's web siteSmart Cuts, Shane's book Shane on TwitterEpisodes of MacGyver online

You'll also like: -The Art of Charm Toolbox -Best of The Art of Charm Podcast


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