Success and Luck by Robert H. Frank
Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy

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Synopsis

How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success--and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy.

Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones--and enormous income differences--over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways.

But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year--more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, noncontroversial steps.

Compellingly readable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.

 

About Robert H. Frank

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Robert H. Frank is an economics professor at Cornell's Johnson Graduate School of Management and a regular "Economic View" columnist for the "New York Times," and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos. His books, which have been translated into 22 languages, include "The Winner-Take-All Society" (with Philip Cook), "The Economic Naturalist," "Luxury Fever," "What Price the Moral High Ground?," and "Principles of Economics" (with Ben Bernanke).
 
Published April 19, 2016 by Princeton University Press. 200 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Success and Luck

The Atlantic

In one of their collaborations, they asked a first group of people to keep diaries in which they noted things that had made them feel grateful, a second group to note things that had made them feel irritated, and a third group to simply record events.

Oct 29 2016 | Read Full Review of Success and Luck: Good Fortun...

London School of Economics

Frank argues that wealthy people fail to appreciate the central role that luck plays in their success, and are thus unwilling to support taxation to fund public infrastructure that benefits everyone.

Jun 28 2016 | Read Full Review of Success and Luck: Good Fortun...

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