Shortlisted for the EGOS Book Award in 2021, this book moves beyond tired analyses of business success that bias leadership and strategy in order to focus on the critical role of good fortune.
The author provides insights from economics, sociology, political science, philosophy, and psychology to create a brief intellectual history of luck. In positioning luck as a key idea in management, the book analyzes various facets of fortune such as randomness, serendipity, and opportunity. Often overlooked given psychological bias toward meritocratic explanations, this book quantifies luck to establish the idea in a more central role in understanding variations in business performance.
In bringing the concept of luck in from the periphery, this concise book is a readable overview of management which will help students, scholars, and reflective practitioners see the subject in a new light.
Table of Contents
1. The unconventional wisdom of luck
2. How to interpret luck?
3. How to quantify luck?
4. How to strategize with luck?
5. Good night and good luck
Chengwei Liu (Ph.D., Cambridge) is Associate Professor of Strategy and Behavioral Science at the ESMT Berlin, Germany and the University of Warwick, UK.
'Luck has laid bare our ignorance and educates us on the concept of luck… If we judge research contributions like we judge Olympic dives, Luck receives top marks for degree of difficulty and execution.' —Ray Reagans (Ph.D., Chicago), Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, USA
'…Liu has written a sophisticated treatise on luck that offers something for everyone, including useful tips and scholarly insights too numerous to count.' —Don A. Moore, Professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA and author of Perfectly Confident
'…With Chengwei Liu's Luck as a guide, you can become a master of luck. You will learn to identify and quantify luck, and, most important, you will learn some counterintuitive strategies and no longer have choose whether you'd prefer to be lucky or good. You can be both!' —Scott E. Page, John Seely Brown Distinguished University Professor, Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, USA and author of The Diversity Bonus and The Model Thinker
'This book makes for a stimulating read… The author helps us understand the significance of luck in everyday life and, in doing so, encourages to take ourselves less seriously.' —Mark de Rond, Professor, Cambridge University, UK and author of There is An I in Team, The Last Amateurs, and Doctors at War
'This book provides a magisterial survey of the concept of luck… Academics will find much to provoke thought, and managers will find insights that can help them rethink their strategies and craft new ones.' —Phanish Puranam, Roland Berger Chaired Professor of Strategy and Organisation Design at INSEAD, France and author of The Microstructure of Organizations and Corporate Strategy
'This highly interesting book takes an often misunderstood concept, luck, and explains how it needs to be interpreted and more importantly, how it can be used effectively in business strategy.' —Pinar Ozcan, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Oxford, UK
'What I loved most about Liu’s exposé is that he takes the notion of luck and explains how it can be managed systematically to your advantage.' —Freek Vermeulen, Professor, London Business School, UK and author of Business Exposed and Breaking Bad Habits
'Combining a diverse set of arguments from behavioral economics, psychology, sociology and statistics, the author argues that luck is more than just a residual, something that we can't explain, but something that we can measure and exploit for strategic purposes.' —Balázs Kovács, Professor, Yale School of Management, USA
'This world is full of successful senior executives who are smart, but realize they got lucky. And it is full of others who got lucky, but think they were smart. Read this book and decide which you are.' —Richard D’Aveni, Bakala Professor of Strategy at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, USA and bestselling author of Hypercompetition and The Pan-industrial Revolution
'Every manager interested in discerning whether decision outcomes are the product of luck or skill should read it. As should every scholar or manager needing a structured treatment of luck and how it might be used strategically.' —Timothy Folta, Thomas John and Bette Wolff Family Chair of Strategic Entrepreneurship, University of Connecticut, USA and Chair of the Strategic Management Division of the Academy of Management
'An insightful and highly entertaining tour of the counter-intuitive world of luck, skill, praise and blame, by one of its leading researchers.' —Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, University of Warwick, UK and author of The Mind is Flat
'This book challenges the conventional wisdom of luck and shows that luck not only has five different images, but also can be measured for its impacts or used for plotting strategic moves.' —Ruey-Lin Hsiao, Professor at the National Cheng-Chi University, Adjunct Professor at the National Singapore University and author of Research without Numbers
'Luck is a great but largely unacknowledged force in the world of business. Chengwei Liu is a skilled and hugely informed navigator through luck’s intriguing labyrinths.' —Stuart Crainer and Des Dearlove, founders of Thinkers50
'Fabulous (behavioural) science, explaining why second really is the best and how, by consistently underestimating the role luck plays in success, we undermine our own success! A much needed book that lays bare the truth about luck.' —Helen Bagnall, Founder and Director, Salon London and Also Festival
'This book is a "must read" for anyone interested in social systems that produce "winners and loser." It will change the way you think about what the term "luck" means.' —Anne Miner (Ph.D., Stanford), Professor Emerita, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA; Winner, Scholar of the Year, Techonology and Innovation Management Division, Academy of Management, 2004; Distinguished Fellow of Academy of Management; Director Emeritus, Initiative for the Study of Tranformational Entrepreneurship (INSITE)
'Luck is everywhere. Sometimes, that’s hard to admit, especially for managers who must make high-stakes decisions. This book will help you understand luck better, make you more comfortable with it, and maybe even help you take advantage of it.' —Peter Stone, Associate Professor of Political Science, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland