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9781408815472

Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters

Smith, Ed

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9781408815472: Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters

For aspiring cricketer Ed Smith, luck was for other people. Like his childhood hero, Geoff Boycott, the tough, flinty Yorkshireman, the young Ed knew that the successful cricketer made his own luck by an application of will power, elimination of error, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. But when a freak accident at the crease at Lords prematurely ended Ed Smith's international cricketing career, it changed everything - and prompted him to look anew at his own life through the prism of luck.

Tracing 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 - Ed Smith argues that the question of luck versus skill is as pertinent today as it ever has been. He challenges us to think again about privilege and opportunity, to re-examine the question of innate ability and of gifts and talents accidentally conferred at birth. Weaving in his personal stories - notably the chance meeting of a beautiful stranger who would become his wife on a train he seemed fated to miss - he puts to us the idea that in life, luck cannot be underestimated: without any means of explaining our differing lots in life, the world without luck is one in which you deserve every ill that befalls you, where envy dominates and averageness is the stifling ideal. Embracing luck leads us to a fresh reappraisal of the nature of success, opportunity and fairness.

Bankers have promised 'risk-free' investments, the self-help industry peddles the idea that everyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and life's winners are encouraged to claim that they did it all themselves in a 'meritocracy'. The case for luck needs to be made now, more than ever.

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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?

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Smith, Ed
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. 218 x 142 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. For aspiring cricketer Ed Smith, luck was for other people. Like his childhood hero, Geoff Boycott, the tough, flinty Yorkshireman, the young Ed knew that the successful cricketer made his own luck by an application of will power, elimination of error, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. But when a freak accident at the crease at Lords prematurely ended Ed Smith s international cricketing career, it changed everything - and prompted him to look anew at his own life through the prism of luck. Tracing 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 - Ed Smith argues that the question of luck versus skill is as pertinent today as it ever has been. He challenges us to think again about privilege and opportunity, to re-examine the question of innate ability and of gifts and talents accidentally conferred at birth. Weaving in his personal stories - notably the chance meeting of a beautiful stranger who would become his wife on a train he seemed fated to miss - he puts to us the idea that in life, luck cannot be underestimated: without any means of explaining our differing lots in life, the world without luck is one in which you deserve every ill that befalls you, where envy dominates and averageness is the stifling ideal. Embracing luck leads us to a fresh reappraisal of the nature of success, opportunity and fairness. Bankers have promised risk-free investments, the self-help industry peddles the idea that everyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and life s winners are encouraged to claim that they did it all themselves in a meritocracy . The case for luck needs to be made now, more than ever. Bookseller Inventory # FLT9781408815472

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Smith, Ed
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom (2012)
ISBN 10: 1408815478 ISBN 13: 9781408815472
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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2012. Hardback. Book Condition: New. New.. 218 x 142 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. For aspiring cricketer Ed Smith, luck was for other people. Like his childhood hero, Geoff Boycott, the tough, flinty Yorkshireman, the young Ed knew that the successful cricketer made his own luck by an application of will power, elimination of error, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. But when a freak accident at the crease at Lords prematurely ended Ed Smith s international cricketing career, it changed everything - and prompted him to look anew at his own life through the prism of luck. Tracing 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 - Ed Smith argues that the question of luck versus skill is as pertinent today as it ever has been. He challenges us to think again about privilege and opportunity, to re-examine the question of innate ability and of gifts and talents accidentally conferred at birth. Weaving in his personal stories - notably the chance meeting of a beautiful stranger who would become his wife on a train he seemed fated to miss - he puts to us the idea that in life, luck cannot be underestimated: without any means of explaining our differing lots in life, the world without luck is one in which you deserve every ill that befalls you, where envy dominates and averageness is the stifling ideal. Embracing luck leads us to a fresh reappraisal of the nature of success, opportunity and fairness. Bankers have promised risk-free investments, the self-help industry peddles the idea that everyone can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, and life s winners are encouraged to claim that they did it all themselves in a meritocracy . The case for luck needs to be made now, more than ever. Bookseller Inventory # FLT9781408815472

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Book Description Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 144mm x 224mm x 27mm. Hardcover. "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.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 256 pages. 0.380. Bookseller Inventory # 9781408815472

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