The Success Equation by Michael J. Mauboussin
Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing

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“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.


About Michael J. Mauboussin

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Michael J. Mauboussin is an investment strategist and has been in the financial services industry for more than twenty-five years. He has also taught at the Columbia Graduate School of Business since 1993, and is on the board of trustees at the Santa Fe Institute.He is the author of two previous books, Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition and More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places and is coauthor, with Alfred Rappaport, of Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices for Better Returns.
Published October 16, 2012 by Harvard Business Review Press. 312 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, Science & Math, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Success Equation

Publishers Weekly

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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[ing], distort[ing], or ignor[ing] the role that luck plays in our succes...

Sep 10 2012 | Read Full Review of The Success Equation: Untangl...

LV Revealed

How much of a person's success is due to skill and how much is due to luck?

Dec 06 2012 | Read Full Review of The Success Equation: Untangl...

The Telegraph

in poker, yes.” Professor Meyer agrees that the difference between good and bad players may be visible in the long run, but for most casual players of internet poker, he says, the randomness plays the decisive role.

Aug 28 2012 | Read Full Review of The Success Equation: Untangl...


Our free daily email, Money Morning, is an informative and enjoyable analysis of what's going on in the markets.

Dec 04 2012 | Read Full Review of The Success Equation: Untangl...

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