Can You Learn to Be Lucky? (Hardcover)

Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others

By Karla Starr

Portfolio, 9781591846864, 288pp.

Publication Date: August 14, 2018

List Price: 27.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A talented journalist reveals the hidden patterns behind what we call "luck" -- and shows us how we can all improve outcomes that only appear to be random.

"Do you believe in luck?" is a polarizing question, one you might ask on a first date. Some of us believe that we make our own luck. Others see inequality everywhere and believe luck is the only possible explanation. Karla Starr has third answer: "random" outcomes have predictable causes; we call them lucky because their traces are so faint.

In this groundbreaking book, Starr traces wealth, health, and happiness back to subconscious neurological processes, blind cultural assumptions, and tiny details you're in the habit of overlooking. Each chapter blasts open the hardware behind an outcome you thought was random and shows how to hack it. For instance:

* You can beat the 10,000 hour rule if you pick the right skill at the right time, and have the right resources to train.
* Your resume can't override the gut-level assumptions a potential employer makes about you based on the last employee who happens to look similar.
* People make assumptions about your intelligence, kindness, and trustworthiness based on cues that have nothing to do with these traits.

Starr ends each chapter with two liberating possibilities: Either harness the world's invisible biases to work to your advantage, or recruit your personal strengths to overcome these external factors. By ending the guessing game about how luck works, Starr allows you to improve your fortunes while expending minimal effort.

About the Author

Karla Starr has written for O, The Atlantic, Slate, Popular Science, the Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times, and appeared on CBS Sunday Morning as an expert on luck. The recipient of a Best Science/Health award from the Society of Professional Journalists, she lives in New York and spends an inordinate amount of time lifting heavy things. This is her first book.