Luck and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more
FREE Delivery in the UK.
Only 1 left in stock.
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon.
Gift-wrap available.
Luck: What It Means and W... has been added to your Basket
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by the book house
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: This item will be picked, packed and shipped by Amazon and is eligible for free delivery within the UK
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters Hardcover – 29 Mar 2012


See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£16.99
£3.49 £0.01
£16.99 FREE Delivery in the UK. Only 1 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters + What Sport Tells Us About Life + Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice
Price For All Three: £30.47

Buy the selected items together


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (29 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408815478
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408815472
  • Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.4 x 21.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,129 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ed Smith is an author, journalist and broadcaster. He was formerly an international cricketer, playing for Kent and England, then captaining Middlesex.

Ed's previous books include PLAYING HARD BALL, ON AND OFF THE FIELD (Wisden Book of the Year and shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year) and the critically acclaimed WHAT SPORT TELLS US ABOUT LIFE.

After retiring from cricket Ed became a leader writer for The Times. He is now a columnist for The Times, The New Statesman and cricinfo. He has also written and presented TV and radio programmes for the BBC and commentates for Test Match Special.

In LUCK- A FRESH LOOK AT FORTUNE, Ed traces the history of the concepts of luck and fortune, destiny and fate, from the ancient Greeks to the present day - in religion, in banking, in politics - arguing that the question of luck versus skill is as pertinent today as it ever has been. The paperback is published in April 2013.

Product Description

Review

Only those with scars on their body should be taken seriously when they talk about randomness. Ed is one of them; he is for real (Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author The Black Swan, on Luck)

Very, very well written, excellent story-telling, great ideas. Brilliant (William Leith)

There's hardly a sentence here that isn't clear, thought-provoking and beautifully expressed. Sport bores me rigid. Inspirational books repel me. But Smith on sport, life and luck brings fresh ways of looking at things on every page and, despite myself, I read on (Matthew Parris)

Smith takes a taboo subject and knocks the cover off it. You start off reassessing sport and end up reassessing your own life (Simon Barnes)

I love this book. It combines experience and erudition to show that luck shapes life in sport, politics, business, and love. In a way rare since ancient Athens, Ed Smith embodies a classical ideal: excellence in sport and thought (Felipe Fernandez-Armesto)

Smith is a beguiling and skilful writer: good-humoured, anecdotal, discursive and often fascinating. You'll probably read his book in an evening but think about it for weeks, even years, afterwards (New Statesman)

Book of the week ... Elegant and absorbing ... Smith is excellent at exploring nuances ... The writing on sport is superb ... Smith moves beyond sport with great effect (The Times)

He certainly sets out a compelling case ... Smith is a powerful advocate for genetic, innate skills and argues that we massively underestimate the impact of chance events (Observer)

Funny and honest ... like one of Smith's well-crafted innings in his playing career, it leaves you wanting more (Sunday Times)

Blends personal experience, sporting insight and a broad knowledge of history with the journalist's talent for storytelling to fashion an original and thought-provoking book ... not only refreshing but uplifting (Spectator)

Thoughtful and thought-provoking (Independent on Sunday)

Smith's elegant arguments will make you think [about luck] even if you're one of those who don't believe in it... (GQ Magazine)

**** An entertaining and intriguing new take on the old idea of counting your blessings (Daily Express)

Smith's entertaining exploration of creativity and inspiration would be every bit as useful to a poet or a songwriter as to an opening batsman (Nick Hornby on What Sport Tells Us About Life)

Recommended to anyone interested in sport, history or simply human nature (Mark Lawson, Front Row)

An exceptional book: lucid, thought-provoking, informative and fair. Outstanding (The Times)

A terrific book (Mike Atherton)

Combine that with his subtle grasp of history and of sport, and Smith is perfectly placed to write about luck's role in sport and beyond (Financial Times, Books of the Year)

Counters the reassuring myth that outcomes - in sport, in science, in finance, in politics - are determined by talent plus effort (Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year)

Book Description

To what extent do we control our own destiny? Can those who have risen to the top really say it was all down to them? Is lucky success somehow less deserving?

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Prolix prognosticator on 20 April 2012
Format: Hardcover
Very nicely shaded look at what role luck plays in our lives. Although not at all a "sports" book, Ed Smith uses his sporting experience as an initial lens to look at the gradations and nuances of luck.

I found this quick read to have good insight into how even the most prepared and gifted still might be where they are by dint of luck at some point in their lives. By maintaining that luck has persistence one cannot help but to reflect on a little discussed aspect of fate's machinations.

Smith makes an excellent case that luck does indeed have meaning and it very much does matter!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William Jordan on 19 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ed Smith's book poses lots of interesting questions - is luck really quite a sophisticated concept (with alternative views of the world that rule our luck and attribute everything to agency, perhaps the agency of witches, perhaps our own agency as when we claim credit for things that have happened through luck, or perhaps divine agency); do we like games of luck or skill (where tennis can be very much a game of skill with a pre-eminent champion who always wins for periods of up to 5 years, but football is a game where luck is much more to the fore); how could the course of history have been different (both Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler survived potentially fatal car accidents in the 1930s; Napoleon once applied for a job to the British Admiralty).

It's also laced with really entertaining anecdotes - his own bad luck breaking of his leg in 2008 (following his good luck in going to a school that had the 2nd best cricket pitch he had ever played on); the luck of a now 94 year old veteran of the Battle of Britain; and of a friend in just the right place at the right time following a totally unanticipated and unanticipatable heart attack.

Furthermore, it's also a very easy and entertaining read. Smith is well read but wears his learning lightly. And he is a good companion throughout the book.

My strongest reservation would be that the books remains, at the end of the day, perhaps just a very entertaining light read - the work of an elegant essayist - though writing on an interesting subject and writing well.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Al James on 12 May 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to disagree with reviewers who have said this book doesn't say all that much. As an antidote to the whole self-help culture in which increasingly people are somehow regarded as having failed if they don't achieve their goals, this is an important book. Smith points out the dangers of such beliefs with some very telling examples and his conclusion, related to our own world, is quite chilling. Yes I do think occasionally he overstates the case, and yes there are a lot of sporting analogies - it certainly helps if, like me, you are a cricket fan. But there is so much here that is entertainingly argued and a really important message that I feel I can recommend it thoroughly.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Matt Boulter on 12 July 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Had some very interesting stories which follows much of the style of Syed. Definitely would recommend for Bounce readers.

Matt
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: Paperback
Ed Smith is most comfortable when he's writing about what he knows best, and what he knows best is sport - especially cricket. He relates various theories of luck, of fate, of destiny, of the randomness of events, and is convincing when he speaks in terms of sport. There were passages of Luck that I found riveting, nearly all of which focus on sporting pursuits. When he strays away from sport he's less convincing, but the book is enjoyable nevertheless. This is far from a book on self-help and Smith doesn't believe in making your own luck, but the ultimate message is that it is the active amongst us that are lucky, that get out there and create opportunities, rather than sit and wait to experience whatever hand fate deals us.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
By Jon Gardiner on 27 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoy Ed Smith's writing in the paper and listening to his commentary on Test Match Special so was naturally intrigued by Luck. Furthermore, personally as someone who believes they have enjoyed a good amount of luck I have a natural interest in the subject. Smith makes thought provoking observations best exemplified by an excellent selection of stories and anecdotes. I don't know if I am altogether any clearer (from the book) as to what 'luck' actually means, indeed Smith observes it means very different things to different people's and cultures. Nonetheless an enjoyable read and I will certainly continue to read Smith's work.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Merete Langler on 6 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after hearing Ed Smith being interviewed about it on the radio. It stimulated my curiosity and the book certainly got me thinking. I guess the fact that I have been talking about it to various groups of people tells you how fascinated I am with it all. Very well written and extremely thought provoking.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Green TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 24 July 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an interesting, well written and engaging book that shows how superstitious many people are. If somebody is up there turning the wheel of fortune, then there are "lucky pants" on both sides of the game to be allocated their share of luck. As I am not a fan of cricket, I was more interested in some of the stories about how, with different outcomes, the world map could have looked very different, particularly as both Hitler and Churchill came close to being killed in car accidents. I also enjoyed the interview with the ww2 Battle of Britain pilot, where it was a magnificant achievement getting an insightful and honest 4 hour interview from a 94 year old veteran.

I was interested to that it was a brit and not an american who founded the genre of self help. The writer is correct to say that if all sports people train hard then the only differences are luck and talent. I agree also that luck plays a big role. However, I also believe that luck and opportunity are only fully explored when there is preparedness for such an opening. The Author strongly dislikes the prevalent American view that "you make your own luck" and "there's no such thing as as luck". However, his view seems to be that its mostly about luck. I take an in-between view that luck often shows up once you are doing the right things and that some people are very good at making the most of this. Therefore I think some readers may prefer
The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind for a more research based but still highly readable take on the subject.
Read more ›
4 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews



Feedback