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Simplify Luck: Janice Kaplan On How To Engineer Good Fortune

In this episode of Simplify, Caitlin talks to Janice Kaplan, bestselling author, TV producer, and magazine editor about how luck happens and how you can create it.
by Natallia Darozhkina | May 10 2018

Does luck just feel like something you either have or you don’t? Does it feel like chance? Or, do you think you have some, not all of it good? Well, Janice Kaplan and Barnaby Marsh might make you rethink your idea of what luck really is. With the help of research, pioneering studies, and interviews with “lucky’ successful people, they discovered that luck is actually very much under our control. That’s right. You can set yourself (and your kids) up for being luckier in everyday life.

In this episode, Kaplan reveals some simple techniques to help you generate luck and shares stories of successful and famous people who took failure as a lucky opportunity to turn fortune to their favor.

“I think that no matter where you are, no matter who you are, you can create luck.”
Janice Kaplan

Tune in to discover the best way to get lucky in love and learn how to raise lucky children. You’ll also discover which people will help you get lucky, and why a perceived lack of good luck isn’t one you can pin on your mom.

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Who’s Janice Kaplan?

Janice Kaplan

Janice Kaplan is a writer, television producer, and magazine editor. She is the author of fourteen books, including The New York Times bestseller The Gratitude Diaries and her latest hit, How Luck Happens. Janice graduated magna cum laude from Yale University and won Yale’s Murray Fellowship for writing. As the Editor-in-Chief of Parade, she attracted some of America’s best writers and biggest-name celebrities. She wrote cover stories for the magazine on notable people including Barbra Streisand, Clint Eastwood, Matt Damon, and Daniel Craig.

Janice Kaplan’s recommended reads

In The Innovators, Isaacson explores the history of computer science and describes the outstanding individuals who contributed to the current digital revolution. He tries to uncover how their minds worked and what made them so creative. It’s a story about the importance of teamwork which reminds us that innovations are often the product of group collaboration.

Comment from Janice: “…I found it really interesting, he’s a wonderful writer and he also looks at so many different people and what innovation is really all about, some of the women who have been overlooked in the world, as well as just a new approach to what that means. And so I really enjoy all the nonfiction books that give us a new a new approach to things.”

This book will help you understand what new power looks like and who it is made by. It explores the success stories of platforms like Facebook and Uber, the unexpected victories of recent American presidents, the emergence of movements like #MeToo, and the rapid spread of Ice Bucket Challenge.

Comment from Janice: “There’s a brand new book that just came out […] which is also about seeing the world from a different perspective and changing the old top-down power to a more equitable form of new power.”

Extra credit reading

If you would like to learn more about generating luck in health and in love, at work and at home, check out this book list composed by Ben and Caitlin!

Life, on the Line tells the remarkable story of Grant Achatz, a fiercely determined chef whose drive to become the best found him redefining American cuisine before he was even 30 years old. His dreams came true when he opened his own restaurant, Alinea, in Chicago, but just as the awards and accolades came pouring in, a bigger challenge presented itself: he was diagnosed with advanced mouth cancer and faced the possibility of either dying or losing his tongue.

In The Upside of Irrationality, Dan Ariely uses behavioral economics to show us why we behave irrationally, how it affects our decision-making processes, and what we can do to make better choices.

The Storytelling Animal explores humanity’s addiction to stories. It reveals their surprising evolutionary value, and clearly explains the importance – as well as the complications – that stories bring to our lives.

What’s Simplify?

Simplify is a podcast for anybody who’s taken a close look at their habits, their happiness, their relationships, or their health and thought “There’s got to be a better way to do this.” We talk to bestselling writers, productivity wizards, sex geniuses, and happiness experts to find it for you.

Simplify is made with love by Blinkist. Click here to try Blinkist free for 14 days with the voucher code: luck

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Talk to us!

We want to hear from you!

Specifically, we’d love to hear how you would answer one of the questions we always ask our guests: “What have you discovered was much easier than you initially thought it was?”

You can just record your answer with a voice memo app of your choice and then email it to us at [email protected]. We are looking forward to listening to your responses, and stay tuned—you just might hear yourself on a future episode of Simplify!

If you want to say hi to Ben and Caitlin in the meantime, you can find them on Twitter: @bsto and @CaitlinSchiller.

Who made this?

Your hosts are Caitlin Schiller and Ben Schuman-Stoler.

Stellar research and production assistance by Natallia Darozhkina.

Thanks to Nico Guiang for our awesome intro and outro music. Listen more on Soundcloud or check him out on Facebook.

Sound and editing by Ben Jackson and Ody Constantinou, who’s working on a Welsh translation of The Butterfly Jar, a children’s book of poetry.

Got links?

Janice Kaplan’s website:

Read the transcript here!

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