Top positive review
4 of 4 people found this helpful
good synthesis of a dozen excellent books on chance, health and happiness
on 21 March 2010
The gist of the book is about how luck plays a large and complex role in life - the authors cover our levels of wealth, health, happiness and, somewhat oddly, management/business. The main problem seems to be the illusion of control that we perceive and even desire - it seems that the more we believe we are in control, the less successful we will be in that particular field.
The three authors are established professors in academia, who have clearly done their research on many medical articles and business books, some of the huge numbers of books on Happiness, plus leading edge books such as "Black Swan", "Fooled by Randomness", "Predictably Irrational", "Irrational Exuberance", "Blink", "The Wisdom of Crowds", "Seduced by Success", "The Luck Factor", "Creativity", "How Doctors Think" - all of which are referred to.
They take pot shots at some of the many management books that have been proved wrong by time, such as "In Search of Excellence", "Built to Last", and "Good to Great" as well as the "One Minute" series of books. I'm not sure why they left out the excellent management books like "Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense" by J Pfeffer and "The Halo Effect" by Phil Rosenzweig.
4 stars, not 5, because there is little of originality here. Their only original contribution is making the distinction that there are two types of uncertainty: totally unexpected events like those referred to in "Black Swan" versus regular uncertainties, for example the many affecting your daily commute. The book is a skillful team achievement, engagingly offering advice synthesised from many excellent books, some of which have become classics already, which you now won't need to read because their most pertinent points are well summarised here. Even if you have read them, it serves as an excellent review.
All in all, an entertaining but also useful book filled with suggestions, insights, wisdom, and knowledge on the major part that chance plays and to help us navigate our way through the randomness that is life.