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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The distilled wisdom of entrepreneurs
I've been "lucky" in many aspects of life, one of the most rewarding of which has been to work for, as an employee or independent consultant, some wonderfully creative and successful businesses. I've worked for startup companies that have grown from one-person shops to become renowned global enterprises with hundreds of employees. I've worked for self-made business owners...
Published on April 18, 2012 by Alan F. Sewell

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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Serendipity In Depth
I have mixed feelings about the book. The authors: Thor Muller and Lane Becker in Get Lucky take the interesting topic of luck and attempt to explain its scientific principles. To get luck or find serendipitous events you should posses eight skills: Motivation, Preparation, Divergence, Commitment, Activation, Connection, Permeability, and Attraction. Each of these...
Published on April 2, 2012 by BudwickOnBooks


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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Serendipity In Depth, April 2, 2012
I have mixed feelings about the book. The authors: Thor Muller and Lane Becker in Get Lucky take the interesting topic of luck and attempt to explain its scientific principles. To get luck or find serendipitous events you should posses eight skills: Motivation, Preparation, Divergence, Commitment, Activation, Connection, Permeability, and Attraction. Each of these topics is broken down ad nauseum. Each given a chapter of their own.

Chapter two was difficult to get through. I put the book down a couple of times wondering if I would return to it. I am glad I did. Chapter three starts off much clearer and does not seem to beat every point so deeply that it gets confusing to read. After two the chapters work a little better. The writing style of the book certainly points out that there was more than one author doing the writing. Some chapters seem to get in to too much detail where others are clean and present great stories fill with sound advice.

Muller and Becker present the case the luck comes to those that are aware it exists, prepare so that it will appear, and then notice it and act on it when it arrives. Luck they say presents itself as moments of serendipity. A time when preparation meets opportunity. The book describes luck not so much as luck, but as an event that can be acted upon if it is noticed. It is in the eight skills listed above that will help you make the most of serendipity.

Overall I liked the book. It gives some good points to be aware of to make the most of good opportunities when they arrive. The book could have been cut short and, at times, seems to be full of a lot of filler. If you can separate out the valuable content you'll get some great ideas to help you grow your business or expand your personal growth and brand.

Good reading.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The distilled wisdom of entrepreneurs, April 18, 2012
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I've been "lucky" in many aspects of life, one of the most rewarding of which has been to work for, as an employee or independent consultant, some wonderfully creative and successful businesses. I've worked for startup companies that have grown from one-person shops to become renowned global enterprises with hundreds of employees. I've worked for self-made business owners who did not let their upbringings in humble circumstances prevent them becoming multimillionaires.

I've seen firsthand many characteristics of successful business people including extraordinary intelligence, mental flexibility that rapidly adapts to changing business conditions, highly specialized knowledge of a particular industrial or commercial niche, a love of their field of endeavor, absolute confidence in themselves and the products and services they provide, a spirit of fairness, positive expectations, a passion for excellence, and the ability to instill these qualities in a team of employees through inspired leadership.

If you break it down to the "nth degree" there are thousands of traits that work together to create a successful business. Maybe that's why there are thousands of business books that explain them. But there's one more aspect of business that doesn't get talked about a lot, and that's "serendipity." Authors Thor Muller and Lane Becker define "serendipity" as:

===========================
The best kind of luck--that creative force known as serendipity--is the luck that we attract to ourselves. To explain how planned serendipity works, we need to start with our own simple definition of serendipity, which we'll use from this point forward: serendipity is chance interacting with creativity.
===========================

Decades ago I heard a self-made millionaire who had risen from very humble circumstances explain it that way. He said, "Eighty percent of our product lines don't sell. Twenty percent make us our profits. We never know beforehand what's going to sell and what isn't. We capitalize on the serendipity of discovering products that appeal to our customers and then concentrating our efforts behind them."

I think he was making the point that he could only manage the inputs and the outputs of the business to a limited degree. This was a fashion business, and fashions are impossible to predict ahead of time. He succeeded because he managed everything that could be managed and then let "serendipity" take him the rest of the way.

This book defines the characteristics that are prerequisite to making "serendipity" happen in your business. Some of them are:

1. Follow your heart's desire. Each person succeeds to the maximum when they pursue their unique skills. Of course not many people pursue their true callings because that involves risk. It is less risky to work a 9 to 5 job for somebody else than to risk going out on your own to follow YOUR unique callings. But no one achieves their full measure of success unless they are willing to do so. That doesn't mean that everybody should strike out on their own business because not everybody has that calling. But those who do must have the courage to follow it.

2. Do it. You only get better by doing something. A batter learns to hit by swinging at thousands of pitches. Taking action fully engages the conscious and subconscious mind to the task. The best people in their respective fields develop conscious thoughts and subconscious instincts that allow them to raise their performance to levels they never dreamed possible. Business owners are like that too. They learn to sell their product by getting out and selling it. They learn how to advertise it by advertising it. They learn how to make it by making it. They learn to trust their own judgment by trusting their own judgment. As their experience grows they learn to make more and more correct decisions and fewer poor ones. Things that started off discombobulated and shaky merge into an integrated finely-tuned whole known as "the business."

3. Push your boundaries. Be open minded and curious. 99% of the world moves in established tracks. The pioneers who move beyond them open up unimagined opportunities. Of course the old saying is that "the pioneers are the ones with arrows in their backs." It's lonely pioneering any new endeavor, but that is how progress is made and great wealth is achieved.

4. Be yourself, not an emulation of somebody else. Each person is unique. Each business is unique. Customers sense that you are "fake" if you try to be knock off of somebody else' business. Make your own business so unique that it stands out.

5. Exceed your customers' expectations. Become so familiar with their requirements that you feel as if you are part of their business and they a part of yours. Listen to them with your undivided attention. Then work your tail off doing what your customers are paying you to do.

6. Persevere. Business people hear prospective customers say "no" when they are making sales calls a hundred times more often than they hear "yes." Successful business people keep knocking on enough doors until some of them open. Once the doors are open the business can grow as customers learn to trust it and rely on it. When a hundred prospects say "no" and the 101st says "yes," that 101st sales call might be called serendipity. But the businessperson had to have the patience to make it through those first 100 rejections. That is the way most things in life work out.

There are others, but these give a good representation of what the book is trying to teach.

This book is excellent for a budding entrepreneur who wants to know how others "did it." It took me decades to absorb these lessons by the "school of hard knocks." I now know how to succeed in the two or three fields of endeavor that I'm uniquely qualified for, but it was a long time getting there. If I had read this book as a young fellow I would have got there sooner. (Actually, I had read of these principles while young, but in a less coordinated and less meaningful way than they are put together here.)

I don't think it is at all an exaggeration to say that the practical wisdom of hundreds of business books have been distilled into this one. Yes, it's REALLY that meaningful. This is one of the very few books that I will keep going back to read and reread most every day.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational and Motivational, April 2, 2012
One of the most relevant books I've read in a long time! Personally looking to get out of a work slump, I found GET LUCKY to do an amazing job of inspiring me, as well as giving me the knowledge and specific examples to motivate me. The book itself is an insightful and entertaining read, full of many treasures along the way. Although written by tech founders, the book is relatable to any line of work or type of individual.

The way our world functions is changing. Keeping within the stifling systems of corporate structure is a recipe for being left behind while those who are beginning to realize that working in a way that makes room for "luck" is how innovation happens. Thor and Lane, the authors of the book, break the book down by different factors that contribute to this way of working. They give detailed stories of various companies and individuals that have taken this route, as well as their own personal journey with the company they founded, "Get Satisfaction." It was interesting to read how easily we have been swept up in a stifling system. Thor and Lane's approach is intuitive, but was sadly lost throughout the past decades. I truly hope that this is the future and more companies begin creating the practices mentioned in the book.

Beyond creating space for innovation, Thor and Lane do a great job at giving examples of what to do once luck is found. This is the part I found to be motivational. Their stories range in scope from a door making company creating a new successful side business from their wood scraps to Pixar creating a workspace that creates more chance encounters.

The lessons here are many, most of which I plan to carry with me as long as my free thinking mind will let me. Definitely a must read for all generations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Story of Dialectic - as of today, May 3, 2012
Not since Taleb's "Black Swan" was I captivated by a "business" book (by business I mean a pragmatic hundreds of pages that regurgitate the patterns of daily affairs in human society vis a vis the managing of scarce resources among growing population of homo sapiens). Both books spoke of unique means of viewing their respective industry (finance and high-tech/internet) utilizing unconventional metrics to trigger and force a person to reflect and ponder. Muller and Becker's work speaks of today's (yesterday if one considers the latency of reading and the speed of change) landscape while skillfully using metaphors from classic scientific historical accounts as well as business exploits. They tell a story by means of providing an advice. My interpretation is this: it offers a suggestion on how to capture the essence of one's passion into something that could potentially stir movement en masse. It speaks in humble terms while telling a very ambitious story. It reminded me of the wisdom imparted by Dr. Feynman on how his passion, curiousity, playfulness (with due diligence foundation) has allowed him to enjoy understanding the physical world, while carefully staying clear of dogma (or that's how it seemed it was) - to those familiar with Dr. Feynman's idiosyncrasies - he embodied genius and serendipity by virtue of his submission to the unknown whilst enjoying the process of unlayering the infinite layers of the physical world. I recommend this book as a must for every thinker and pragmatic business person. One will extract a portion of one's self from the reading experience.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended!, April 17, 2012
Most business books are repackaged versions of the same concepts and most are fairly dry and boring. Get Lucky managed to present some ideas I'd never thought about applying to business. It got me excited to start paying attention to the ways I can increase the chances for serendipity to happen in my business and even my personal projects. I appreciated the way the book was organized and the stories presented were compelling enough to keep me engaged, and even get inspired! A quick, enjoyable, mind-expanding read. Recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Far Too Interesting To Be A Business Book, April 2, 2012
If you're like most people (including me), you probably think that Serendipity simply means "luck" or "good fortune." Think again.

This book makes a strong case to support the idea that Luck can be planned, and gives a simple framework for enabling the "creative collisions" that drive Serendipity in both your personal and professional lives. The authors, Thor Muller and Lane Becker, outline the 8 skills necessary to "Get Lucky" - Motivation, Preparation, Divergence, Commitment, Activation, Connection, Permeability, and Attraction. The examples are clear and compelling and I finished the last chapter with a notepad of ideas of how I could implement this at my own company.

If you're a fan of the writing styles of Gladwell & Godin but want something more prescriptive, a la Jim Collins, then I think you'll like this book. I sure did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good content, should be 150 pages and to the point..., July 17, 2012
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PiT (Lacedaemonia - Greece) - See all my reviews
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"The book could have been cut short and, at times, seems to be full of a lot of filler."

I really liked the book, but I totally agree with another reviewer on this one.

I wish that authors, publishers (and maybe readers?) would understand that we do not have infinite time and making a book larger with filler is certainly not a plus!
I wish there would be a trend with smaller (and to the point books) now before I buy a book I am looking how many pages it has. Together with the content and reviews, it gets extra "points" if its not "too long".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but Forgettable, December 6, 2013
This review is from: Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business (Kindle Edition)
Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business by Thor Muller and Lane Becker

"Get Lucky" is an interesting guide on how to create a work environment conducive for "luck" and how to make it work for you. The founders of Get Satisfaction, Thor Muller and Lane Becker take the readers on a journey on how to foster serendipity and what to do with it once you find it. There are many interesting cases in the book including some familiar stories; however the book is uneven and the conclusions vary from solid to weak. This book includes ten chapters (including the eight business skills of serendipity): 1. Prepare for the Unpreparable, 2. Skill: Motion, 3. Skill: Preparation, 4. Skill: Divergence, 5. Skill: Commitment, 6. Skill: Activation, 7. Skill: Connection, 8. Skill: Permeability, 9. Skill: Attraction, and 10. Unraveling the Double Bind.

Positives:
1. Interesting business cases. Accessible book for the masses.
2. An interesting guide on how to make the best out of luck. It takes a unique angle (serendipity/luck) and applies it to the business world.
3. The authors do a good job of presenting their approach of "planned serendipity". "It's a set of concrete, attainable business skills that cultivate the conditions for chance encounters to generate new opportunities."
4. The book revolves around applying the eight business skills of serendipity: Motion, Preparation, Divergence, Commitment, Activation, Connection, Permeability and Attraction. The authors introduce the skills applied to interesting business cases.
5. Good examples on how motion can lead to creative collisions. "Companies as a whole do their best work when, like Pixar, they have made room for the kind of unexpected encounters and opportunities that motion is likely to produce."
6. A quote that captures the sentiment behind motion. "No matter how we try to make motion and the chance collisions that come with it normal and part of our routine, the truth is that chance, at base, is all about accepting risk. We create chance opportunities when we're willing to take actions or put ourselves into situations that are new, or uncomfortable, or most importantly might not work out for us."
7. Three behaviors that unveil the skill of preparation. "What connects these three behaviors is one basic truth: we cannot create new opportunities in the world if we do not first create room for them in our minds."
8. The authors share some interesting psychological tidbits that make for fun reading. "The study was just the latest to explore an idea in psychology called construal level theory (CLT). The premise of the theory is that our minds represent things--objects, events, places, people--differently depending on how psychologically distant we perceive them to be."
9. Divergence with a touch of "luck". "Divergence is how lucky accidents, great and small, create the possibility for a new route to our destination--a direction we didn't expect and couldn't have predicted when we originally set out."
10. Interesting discussion on the bias against creativity. "When we are asked to be creative inside our organizations--asked to look for newer, better ways to improve on what has come before--we are too often locked into a routine that implicitly inhibits our creativity and thus our ability to imagine and move in new directions." The bookstore chain Borders provides one of the most memorable and strongest cases in the book.
11. The skill of commitment. "Commitment, an essential skill of planned serendipity, involves organizing ourselves around an overriding purpose. Commitment means having a point of view that's so strong and expressed so powerfully that it actually transforms the environment around us." The two distinct qualities of commitment.
12. The company In-N-Out provides a great example for committed organizations.
13. How the environment affects us. "Countless cues in our environment strongly influence whether we are observant, open-minded, and adaptable rather than fearful in the face of change. Factors we downplay, like the quality of natural light, the dress code, and the presence of laughter, may in fact make all the difference. Welcome to the skill of activation."
14. A new approach to software development. "By taking up agile, the programmers that work at these companies are essentially declaring independence from the fixed schedules that have failed them so many times before."
15. The tools of connection. "The Internet is only the latest, though perhaps greatest, mechanism humanity has developed to increase the quantity of connections available to us."
16. Good insights into the business practice of deflection.
17. The skill of permeability. "The skill of permeability is a natural outgrowth of the Internet, which makes it as easy for individuals to express themselves as a big organization. Get Satisfaction was our attempt to get businesses to listen and interact with these increasingly empowered individuals."
18. Example of an uncanny ability to bring serendipity to themselves.
19. The skill of attraction. "Attraction changes how the outside world sees and interacts with us. It's how we engage people to change their behavior, transform the environment around them, and produce more serendipity-rich experiences, all in the service of the purpose that we have shared with them. Attraction is how we move the world in our direction."
20. Bringing it together. "Combining these activities of attraction with the other seven skills of planned serendipity allows us to truly `level up' in our ability to generate luck." The conclusion is clear: to win friends and influence others, there is no substitute for living a meaningful life.
21. How to track progress with organizational serendipity. "We monitor the frequency of personal side projects among our staff, track new ideas generated after a lunchtime presentation series, and report on cross-functional collaborations spawned by random introductions in the atrium. All of these aim at the same thing: to give us some indication of how prepared we are for serendipity."

Negatives:
1. The writing style is accessible but lacks panache. There is no humor and where is the lack of wonder for serendipity?
2. The book is uneven. Some cases get the red carpet treatment while others leave something to be desired. The Borders case study was excellent while the examples for connection left something to be desired.
3. The lack of visual tools to assist the reader. Summary tables, flow charts anything to complement the narrative would have been welcomed.
4. There is an entire notes section titled "Serendipiography" but the Kindle version did not take advantage of its ability to link. That's disappointing.
5. No formal separate bibliography.
6. Scientific rigor? How strong is the consensus on some of the findings presented in the book? What do contrarians say?
7. How about cases where the illusion of luck betrayed even some of the best established companies?

In summary, the authors succeed in providing a spectrum of business cases that illustrate in practical terms the application of their approach to serendipity. There are a lot of interesting parts but there seems to be something missing at the core of the book and I can't quite put my finger on it. The book is worth reading but will not leave a lasting impression. A mild recommendation with reservations noted.

Further recommendations: "Outliers: The Story of Success" and "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference" by Malcolm Gladwell, "Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future" by Leonard A. Schlesinger, "The Hidden Agenda: A Proven Way to Win Business and Create a Following" by Kevin Allen, "The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results" by Gary Keller, "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard" by Chip and Dan Heath, "inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity" by Tina Seelig, "Work with Me" by Barbara Annis and John Gray, "Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don't" by Jeffrey Pfeffer, "The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business" by Charles Duhigg, "Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success" by Rick Newman, and "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Weakly connected data - not helpful, January 13, 2013
I wanted to read this book because it was from the founders of Get Satisfaction. I have earlier read books on similar topics e.g. Groundswell on the topic of how it can help enterprises to get online, get social. I was interested in more.

This book disappointed me.

The random collection of anecdotal case studies /stories chosen for this book is interesting but no way demonstrate the point author attempts to make. Some mix of insights and analysis are presented throughout the book - that has minimal or no relationship with the central idea of this book.

The case studies by themselves are very interesting - but the attempt to draw a morale that is hardly logical irritates me.

I would not recommend such a waste of time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars DON'T READ THIS BOOK, May 19, 2012
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DON'T READ THIS BOOK UNLESS you're truly ready to be inspired & then change your business for the better. It's a quick read, short and to the point.
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