My (in the not so far) future colleague Robert H. Frank, Professor of Economics at the Samuel P. Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, has recently published his new book “Success and Luck“.
While not denouncing the views of those who attribute unexpected turns of their lives and ventures to divine intervention or plain fate, he shares his beliefs about the ubiquity of chance as a determinant of success in both our private and business lives and indicates why many among us simply underestimate, or, alternatively put stronger, under appreciate the consequences of mere random processes. Bob convincingly argues, however, that chance does not only influence our well-being in a consequential manner but deeply affects many of our actively taken decisions.
Due to the fact that chance features prominently as a determinant of entrepreneurial success in my current work on team building, acquisition of inputs and entrepreneurship, I have admit to be naturally biased towards his chain of argumentation.
Nevertheless, I highly recommend every (in fact also non-) academic and student to read his book as it stresses a perspective of our ventures typically under represented in our ex ante analyses and ex post evaluations of actions. While featuring interesting and partially provocative content, it presents itself also easy too read due to him being a very accomplished writer (Bob Frank was a NY Times columnist for more than a decade). A synopsis of his work can be found in this recent piece of the Atlantic. A taste of the book itself is provided by Princeton University Press.