“Much of what we experience in life results from a combination of skill and luck.” — From the Introduction
The trick, of course, is figuring out just how many of our successes (and failures) can be attributed to each—and how we can learn to tell the difference ahead of time.
In most domains of life, skill and luck seem hopelessly entangled. Different levels of skill and varying degrees of good and bad luck are the realities that shape our lives—yet few of us are adept at accurately distinguishing between the two. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were able to tease out these two threads, examine them, and use the resulting knowledge to make better decisions.
In this provocative book, Michael Mauboussin helps to untangle these intricate strands to offer the structure needed to analyze the relative importance of skill and luck. He offers concrete suggestions for making these insights work to your advantage. Once we understand the extent to which skill and luck contribute to our achievements, we can learn to deal with them in making decisions.
The Success Equation helps us move toward this goal by:
• Establishing a foundation so we better understand skill and luck, and can pinpoint where each is most relevant
• Helping us develop the analytical tools necessary to understand skill and luck
• Offering concrete suggestions about how to take these findings and put them to work
Showcasing Mauboussin’s trademark wit, insight, and analytical genius, The Success Equation is a must-read for anyone seeking to make better decisions—in business and in life.
Investment strategist Mauboussin (Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition) offers an intricate and academic look at the relationship between practiced skill and pure luck. As he writes, "much of what we experience in life results from a combination of skill and luck," and the trick is to be able to recognize and gauge the presence and effects of each so we can avoid the pitfall of "twist, distort, or ignor the role that luck plays in our successes and failures." Mauboussin explores why we have such a difficult time comprehending the influence of luck and the possible analytical tools necessary to understand luck and skill, and attempts concrete suggestions about how to take these findings and put them to work. His analysis focuses on his areas of interest and knowledge: business, sports, and investing. Mauboussin excels at explaining his ideas, many of which are based on complex neuroscience in accessible terms, using case studies and examples from investing decisions, college rankings, and hospital procedures. He is less successful relating theory to specific takeaways for readers, and the writing would have benefited from further editing. Readers should wait for his next attempt.