The author, Dr. Richard Wiseman, has formal training in psychology and magic. His unconventional nature led him to study the subject of luck in a way nobody had before.
As with The Longevity Project, Wiseman conducts a series of interviews with thousands of people who consider themselves as lucky, unlucky or neutral. From each set of interviews, he finds trends in participant stories and then hones in key trends among the habits, thinking, and behaviors of each of these groups. In addition to in-person, phone and written interviews, he conducts experiments to check on the consistency of trends. From this, he finds the key factors of luck. They are:
- Maximize your possible opportunities. This can be done by extending your network and spontaneously starting discussions with new people anywhere you are. Have a relaxed attitude about life. Lucky people are open to new experiences.
- Listen to your luck instinct. Wiseman warns against attachments. Lucky people see what is actually in front of them. They live in the present and not the past.
- Expect good fortune. Lucky people continue to attempt to achieve their life goals even when the odds are stacked against them. Failure doesn’t stop them. Positive expectations motivate them to take control of their lives. Lucky people expect their interactions with others to be positive.
- Turn bad luck into good luck. Lucky people see the silver lining and expect that things will work out. They also tend to learn from their mistakes.
Also similar to the Longevity Project, readers can take quizzes to assess if they have the traits of a lucky or unlucky person. Wiseman provides tips on which behaviors and thoughts the reader should change to potentially change their fortune.
This book was a quick read and provided helpful reminders on key behaviors that are lucky (and healthy). Before reading this book, I thought of myself as neutral. While reading the book, I realized I have many of the traits and behaviors of the lucky population (even if I haven’t won the lottery). Upon reflection, I have been lucky.