June 23, 2021
Q&A 038

🍀 Luck

Writer and thinker Visa (check him out on Twitter or YouTube) pointed me to a 2007 blogpost by Marc Andreesen, summarizing his favourite book on luck: 'Chase, Chance and Creativity', written in 1978 by Neurologist / Philosopher James Austin. It provides a wonderful analysis of luck, rooted in his neurology background.

Chance type I is all about pure blind luck, like finding a winning lottery ticket on the street or being born into a wealthy family.

For chance type II, motion is introduced. Movement and motion 'stir up the pot', increasing the chances of experiences colliding and providing a breakthrough discovery or idea. It's about the luck Charles Kettering described when saying "I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down."

Chance type III introduces what Louis Pasteur called "The prepared mind". Chance presents only a faint clue, the potential opportunity exists, but it will be overlooked except by that one person uniquely equipped to observe it, visualize it conceptually, and fully grasp its significance. An example is how Alexander Flemming discovered Pennicilin.

Finally, chance IV is about creating a unique opportunity by having a rare combination of behavioural quirks, hobbies and interest. This allows you to have an unusual approach to problems and challenges, leading to this specific type of luck. Benjamin Disraeli summed this up by noting "We make our fortunes and we call them fate."

Andreesen then translates these into lessons on energy, curiosity, synthesis and personality for entrepreneurs. If you need a roadmap for getting luck on your side, here it is!