Luck by Ed Smith
What It Means and Why It Matters

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Smith's best case study is himself, and Luck comes alive when he is giving an unvarnished analysis of his own career.
-Guardian

Synopsis

For aspiring cricketer Ed Smith, luck was for other people. Like his childhood hero, Geoff Boycott, the tough, flinty Yorkshireman, the young Ed knew that the successful cricketer made his own luck by an application of will power, elimination of error, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. But when a freak accident at the crease at Lords prematurely ended Ed Smith's international cricketing career, it changed everything - and prompted him to look anew at his own life through the prism of luck.

Tracing the history of the concepts of luck and fortune, destiny and fate, from the ancient Greeks to the present day - in religion, in banking, in politics - Ed Smith argues that the question of luck versus skill is as pertinent today as it ever has been. He challenges us to think again about privilege and opportunity, to re-examine the question of innate ability and of gifts and talents accidentally conferred at birth. Weaving in his personal stories - notably the chance meeting of a beautiful stranger who would become his wife on a train he seemed fated to miss - he puts to us the idea that in life, luck cannot be underestimated: without any means of explaining our differing lots in life, the world without luck is one in which you deserve every ill that befalls you, where envy dominates and averageness is the stifling ideal. Embracing luck leads us to a fresh reappraisal of the nature of success, opportunity and fairness.

Bankers have promised 'risk-free' investments, the self-help industry peddles the idea that everyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and life's winners are encouraged to claim that they did it all themselves in a 'meritocracy'. The case for luck needs to be made now, more than ever.
 

About Ed Smith

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Ed Smith is an author and journalist, and a former international cricketer who has represented England, Cambridge University, Kent and Middlesex. Ed Smith's previous books include Playing Hard Ball, On and Off the Field -- the Wisden Book of the Year and shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and The Cricket Society Book of the Year Award -- and the critically acclaimed, What Sport Tells Us About Life. After retiring from cricket Ed Smith became a leader writer for The Times. He lives in London.
 
Published March 29, 2012 by Bloomsbury Publishing. 257 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors, Law & Philosophy, Self Help. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Luck
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Lezard on Apr 23 2013

Smith's humane argument applies to all fields where luck plays a part – more or less everything.

Read Full Review of Luck: What It Means and Why I... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by David Runciman on Mar 28 2012

...he is a talented journalist and doubtless he is also a good historian. But with this insubstantial and unconvincing book, he's pushing his luck.

Read Full Review of Luck: What It Means and Why I... | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tim Lewis on Mar 16 2012

Smith's best case study is himself, and Luck comes alive when he is giving an unvarnished analysis of his own career.

Read Full Review of Luck: What It Means and Why I... | See more reviews from Guardian

Reader Rating for Luck
72%

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