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Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters Hardcover – 29 Mar 2012
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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)
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?See all Product description
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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!
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.
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Most recent customer reviews
A perfect Summer read.
Best read at medium pace.
Puts you on the front foot to face what life delivers.