Can You Learn to be Lucky? Book Summary - Can You Learn to be Lucky? Book explained in key points
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Can You Learn to be Lucky? summary

Karla Starr

Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others

4.3 (137 ratings)
23 mins

Brief summary

'Can You Learn to be Lucky?' by Karla Starr examines the science behind luck through compelling anecdotes and research-backed insights. It argues that we can improve our life by cultivating a luck-ready mindset and adopting specific habits.

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    Can You Learn to be Lucky?
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    Appearing last could help your chances of being lucky.

    You’ve doubtless heard someone account for a serendipitous event – be it a job opportunity, a promotion or a romantic encounter – by saying, “I was just in the right place at the right time.” Well, it turns out there is a lot of truth to this cliché. At the very least, the “right time” part is crucial.

    Counterintuitive as it might seem, luck often depends on coming last.

    In any situation where a number of people, objects or performances are judged against each other, being among the last to be judged increases your chances of success.

    For example, an analysis of European figure-skating championships between 1994 and 2004 found that the first skater to perform had a 3 percent chance of winning, whereas the final performer had a 14 percent chance. The same pattern has been found in everything from synchronized-swimming championships to the Eurovision Song Contest.

    Why is this? Well, the human brain is wired to work this way. It relies on context, on the information and emotions that are currently available to it.

    Just consider house hunting. The first properties you view will be judged against your ideals because your mind isn’t yet stocked with real-life examples of real estate to compare them to. But, over time, as you see more properties, your brain will receive information about what is actually out there. You’ll start to think, “Well, this house seems pretty good compared to the first nine I looked at.”

    House hunters viewing their first property never say, “This house is perfect! We’ll take it!” They wait until they’ve seen a number of houses before settling on one they like.

    In the same way, figure-skating judges are reluctant to award an early competitor a 5.9 or a 6 (the highest marks available) because this will make it impossible to give later competitors a higher mark. By the end, competitors are more likely to pick up those high marks, however, since the judges know there is no one else coming who could trump them.

    So going last is lucky. If you can choose a job interview slot, go last. Want to pick up that hot guy at the bar? Make your attempt late in the evening.

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    What is Can You Learn to be Lucky? about?

    Can You Learn to Be Lucky (2018) explores how unseen biases dictate our personal behavior and world events in ways that are often quite predictable. By understanding the mechanisms behind seemingly lucky events, we can learn how to harness luck to our advantage.

    Can You Learn to be Lucky? Review

    Can You Learn to be Lucky? (2018) explores the science of luck and offers practical strategies to increase our chances of success. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It presents fascinating research and compelling stories that challenge our beliefs about luck, offering a fresh perspective on how we can shape our own destiny.
    • The author's insightful analysis of luck factors and techniques provides actionable advice to improve our luck and seize opportunities in life.
    • With its engaging storytelling and relatable examples, the book keeps us intrigued, reminding us that luck is not purely random, but something we can cultivate.

    Best quote from Can You Learn to be Lucky?

    When there is a fixed number of entries, go last.

    —Karla Starr
    example alt text

    Who should read Can You Learn to be Lucky??

    • Unlucky people waiting for their big break
    • Students of behavioral science
    • Anyone who’s ever wondered why some people seem born to succeed

    About the Author

    Karla Starr is a journalist and writer focusing on popular science and the subject of luck. She has written for the Atlantic, Slate, the Guardian and the Los Angeles Times. Fifteen years ago, she almost died in a car accident. She was lucky enough to survive.

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    Can You Learn to be Lucky? FAQs 

    What is the main message of Can You Learn to be Lucky?

    The main message of Can You Learn to be Lucky? is that luck is a skill that can be learned and developed.

    How long does it take to read Can You Learn to be Lucky?

    The reading time for Can You Learn to be Lucky? varies, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Can You Learn to be Lucky? a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Can You Learn to be Lucky? is a valuable read for anyone looking to understand the science behind luck and improve their chances of success.

    Who is the author of Can You Learn to be Lucky?

    The author of Can You Learn to be Lucky? is Karla Starr.

    What to read after Can You Learn to be Lucky??

    If you're wondering what to read next after Can You Learn to be Lucky?, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Success and Luck by Robert H. Frank
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    • The Serendipity Mindset by Christian Busch
    • Uptime by Laura Mae Martin
    • Deviate by Beau Lotto
    • Third Millennium Thinking by Saul Perlmutter
    • You Only Die Once by Jodi Wellman
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma
    • Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
    • The Algebra of Wealth by Scott Galloway