Now that the word LEAD was turned into GOLD in only three steps (kudos n_palum) can you turn the word LEAD into IRON changing one letter at a time creating new legit 4 letter words (from Dictionary) in 5 steps or less? Again I am sure there are more than a few answers. And can you do it without using a Proper Noun or name? ( I could not).

• PB - PI - IE - FE done! – Alex Mar 22 '17 at 19:12
• Four letter words Alex – DEEM Mar 22 '17 at 20:50
• Has a correct answer been given? If so, please don't forget to $\color{green}{\checkmark \small\text{Accept}}$ it :) – Rubio Apr 10 '17 at 16:49

If you want to use proper nouns, you could:

LEAN
LEON
IEON
IRON

• IEON if that is indeed there then 4 steps are possible. – DEEM Mar 19 '17 at 15:37
• According to the internet, it is a spelling of the name that has shown up a fair number of times throughout history. – Ian MacDonald Mar 19 '17 at 16:25

The best I can do:

LEAN
BEAN
BRAN
IRAN
IRON

• I am waiting for someone to do it either 4 steps or without IRAN. We will see – DEEM Mar 18 '17 at 23:24
• @DeepakMahulikar It is impossible in 4 steps. – n_plum Mar 19 '17 at 3:44

Starting with this list of 4 letter words

I've found the following three words that are one away from IRON,

Unfortunately, the first one only leads back to iron or the 2nd word.

The best I've figured using the 2nd word has 7 steps, and uses some uncommon words.

leat
seat
skat
ikat
ikan
ikon
iron

However, using the 3rd word, I've found the following 5 steps, which appears to be optimal.

trod
tron
iron

• I was thinking about 'tron' but online it said it's debatable whether tron is a word... – boboquack Mar 19 '17 at 1:07
• That's why I included links to the definitions for all of the words. – Herb Wolfe Mar 19 '17 at 1:09
• Looks like in your third block, you're changing two letters between the 4th and 5th words. – Tanner Swett Mar 19 '17 at 4:52
• @TannerSwett good catch, I changed it to my other list, using less common words. – Herb Wolfe Mar 19 '17 at 5:05

The most optimal solution that I have been able to find is this: