The Serendipity Mindset Book Summary - The Serendipity Mindset Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

The Serendipity Mindset summary

Christian Busch

The Art and Science of Creating Good Luck

4.3 (221 ratings)
30 mins
Table of Contents

    The Serendipity Mindset
    Summary of 10 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 10

    There are several kinds of serendipity, but they’re all different than “blind” luck of the draw – they’re about creating “smart luck.”

    What is serendipity, exactly? The word itself dates back to 1754 when British writer Horace Walpole used it to describe a kind of discovery that was made unexpectedly, by accident, or through a certain foresighted wisdom known as sagacity.

    This definition has more or less stood the test of time. For our purposes, we’ll think of serendipity as a positive occurrence, one made when your actions collide with chance. This means serendipity is different from pure chance, or luck on its own.

    The key message here is: There are several kinds of serendipity, but they’re all different than “blind” luck of the draw – they’re about creating “smart luck.”

    Generally speaking, there are three types of serendipity:

    The first is Archimedes Serendipity. This is when you’re looking for a solution to a specific problem and the solution arrives in an unexpected way. The name comes from the story of how Archimedes solved the problem of King Hiero’s crown. King Hiero had hired a goldsmith to make a crown – and he’d given him a precise amount of gold to make it from. The goldsmith forged the crown, and it weighed exactly as much as the gold he’d been given, but King Hiero grew suspicious. What if it was a forgery?

    So Hiero called upon the brilliant Archimedes to test its authenticity.

    Archimedes thought it over. And during his brainstorming, he went to the public baths. Here, serendipity struck. Archimedes noticed how the water levels rose as people lowered themselves into the baths – and, in a flash, he knew how to test the crown.

    Gold is denser than silver. This means that, if a pure-silver crown and a pure-gold crown weighed the same amount, the pure-silver crown would be larger. And a larger crown would displace more water than a smaller crown. Thus, Archimedes correctly reasoned, if Hiero’s crown had been diluted with silver, it would displace more water than if it were pure gold. It was as easy as that!

    The second type of serendipity is Post-It Note Serendipity. This is when a solution is unexpectedly found for a problem that wasn’t even being considered at the time. The name comes from the Post-It note. They were invented when Dr. Spencer Silver, a researcher for 3M, was trying to develop a new type of strong glue. One attempt fell short. It wasn’t very sticky at all. But Silver was curious to discover the potential for this weak glue. It eventually became the perfect ingredient for the Post-It Note.

    Finally, there’s Thunderbolt Serendipity. As the name suggests, this is when you’re struck by a solution out of nowhere. You weren’t examining any specific problem or researching any particular solution. You were just going about your day when out of the blue an idea and exciting new opportunity presented itself.

    Sometimes, serendipity might be a combination or variation of these types. But no matter what, these aren’t cases of blind luck. As we’ll see, hitting upon serendipity is something you can facilitate, as long as you have the right mindset.

    Want to see all full key ideas from The Serendipity Mindset?

    Key ideas in The Serendipity Mindset

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is The Serendipity Mindset about?

    The Serendipity Mindset (2020) offers a practical guide to welcoming more positive and fortuitous outcomes in your life. It explains how subtle shifts in your attitude and perception can lead to dramatic differences in your ability to persevere and get positive results.

    Best quote from The Serendipity Mindset

    Serendipity is active, smart luck that depends on our ability to spot and connect the dots.

    —Christian Busch
    example alt text

    Who should read The Serendipity Mindset?

    • People eager for more “luck” in their lives
    • Managers and executives who want to create a better company culture
    • Anyone who’d like to get the most out of life

    About the Author

    Dr. Christian Busch is a professor at New York University, where he directs the CGA Global Economy Program, and a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics. Christian is the cofounder of the Sandbox Network, which brings together entrepreneurs and innovators from around the world, and Leaders on Purpose, an organization convening purpose-driven leaders. His Twitter: @ChrisSerendip. 

    Categories with The Serendipity Mindset

    Books like The Serendipity Mindset

    People ❤️ Blinkist
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked

    Start growing with Blinkist now
    28 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    Of Blinkist members create a better reading habit*
    *Based on survey data from Blinkist customers
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,000+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial