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The Luck Factor: Why Some People Are Luckier Than Others and How You Can Become One of Them Paperback – February 25, 2010
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About the Author
Max Gunther is the author of several books, including 'The Zurich Axioms' (9781897597491) 'How to Make Your Man More Sensitive' and 'The Very Rich and How They Got That Way'. He is very lucky.
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Roughly the first half of the book consists largely of a series of anecdotes gathered by the author from his work as a journalist. The author analyzes the various ways that different people describe and theorize about luck in their efforts at understanding. He expressly states that he does not try to judge these efforts (randomness, psychic, synchronicity, etc.). The book is an easy read and the author uses a light hand in his approach. For instance, a psychic description of almost anything would ordinarily cause me to throw a book across the room, but the author's touch was sufficiently light to allow me to get through the subject. You could skip the first half of the book that addresses the various theories of luck and still get the real value of the author's thoughts.
The second half of the book entitled "The Quest" contains the author's five critical points and it is this half that you must read. The first point was that people to whom good luck seems to happen develop a spiderweb structure of relationships with other people. Lucky people tend to have relationships with a lot of people so their chance for encountering a lucky opportunity from others is enhanced simply because they know and are known by many people. Secondly, lucky people tend to work on their judgment (a hunching skill) which improves their odds of making good judgments as they encounter opportunities. This skill struck me as the closest thing to a black art in the analysis. Thirdly, when a judgment or hunch appears justified, the lucky person will pursue the opportunity more boldly than will the less lucky or unlucky. Fourthly, lucky people use a ratchet effect (I would call it a willingness to cut their losses) to limit their loss if fortune, luck or circumstances turn adverse. Lastly, lucky people are surprisingly pessimistic. The author provides explanations of why this constellation of characteristics enhance one's luck. I recommend the book highly. It won't take long to read and the practical tips may improve your luck (whatever you may mean by luck).
I felt like the author wasn't very clear himself about what he might be saying until he got to the end, and there was a massive amount of repetition. It was OK and if it had been great I would have bought a large number and given them for gifts, but in the end, it wasn't all that impressive or helpful.
He backs his theories with solid research and examples and provides an excellent paradigm that anybody can follow to improve their luck in life. It was enjoyable to read and made lots of sense. I've since recommended it to about a dozen people and would recommend it to anybody. In life you need to find any edge you can to achieve success and happiness. This about luck can help people achieve both.
As several other reviewers have written here, the first two thirds of the book aren't useful in terms of practical ways you can increase your own "luck" but nonetheless, they are a fun read that provides color and background to the subject of "luck" and what it means across the spectrum. I look forward to reading Max Gunther's other books. Glad I discovered this author.
The final section is about traits of lucky individuals. Again presented as case studies, this section is clear and relevant. The tips are not about winning the lottery but are about how to maximize your opportunities in life. The suggestions are clear and make sense regardless of your personal beliefs about luck.
I highly recommend anyone to read the book on life planning, business leadership and poker.