Then, in 333 BC, Alexander came along and tried to undo the knot. He, like the hundreds before him, couldn’t loosen it. Did he leave it for others to solve? Of course not! He’s Alexander the Great! He took his sword and solved the problem then and there.
We haven’t stopped swinging swords — and looking for easier, quicker, more direct solutions to life’s knotty problems — since.
A couple thousand years later, in 2004, a fellow named Danny O’Brien mentioned “life hack” in a talk about programmers and the “embarrassing” scripts and shortcuts they use. A hack, especially in computer science, is defined by Wikipedia as an “effective but inelegant solution” to a problem.