Can You Learn to be Lucky? Book Summary By Karla Starr

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Can You Learn To Be Lucky, written by author Peter Caswell in 2018, is a must-read book for anyone who wants to gain a better understanding of the various biases that shape our personal behavior and the events we experience in life.

It offers insight into how luck can either play a part in one's future or be consciously harnessed for maximum advantage.

The book delves into the psychological and cognitive mechanisms that drive seemingly random events and why some people seem to enjoy luck more often than others do.

It provides invaluable advice on identifying patterns in one's life and creating new situations that appear as "lucky breaks", while also helping readers identify their own biases to predict chances of success.

A must-read for anyone looking to exert control over their destiny!

Can You Learn to be Lucky

Book Name: Can You Learn to be Lucky? (Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others)

Author(s): Karla Starr

Rating: 4.2/5

Reading Time: 23 Minutes

Categories: Entrepreneurship

Author Bio

Karla Starr is a well-known writer in the popular science and luck space, having written articles for the Atlantic, Slate, the Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times.

Her impressive writing career was preceded by a near-death experience from a car accident fifteen years ago when she was lucky enough to survive.

Her new book, "Can You Learn to be Lucky?", discusses this amazing story of luck and resilience as well as other insightful topics that explore what makes someone lucky with valuable advice on how to emulate those qualities in your own life.

How To Make Your Own Luck: Understanding And Leveraging The Power Of Chance


Do you ever feel like some people just have all the luck? It might seem like they encounter chance opportunities at every turn and are primed to capitalize on each opportunity.

But in reality, a lot of these “lucky” outcomes are more predictable than it may seem.

For instance, sociability and proximity can be predictors of chance opportunities.

So if you want to learn how to be luckier, start by honing your social skills and proximity-based networking skills.

And don’t forget to put your best foot forward when making first impressions—presentation matters!

In addition, studies have shown that figures skaters who perform last in the competition are actually more likely to win due their competitors’ fatigue.

So if you really want to increase your chances for success, be sure to stay focused and energized right up until the very end!

Luck Often Depends On Being Last: Why Coming Last Can Increase Your Chances Of Success

If you want to increase your chances of being lucky, appearing last could help.

A lot of times, what might seem like luck is actually because the person was in the right place at the right time.

But there’s another factor that can play into this – appearing last.

Analysis of multiple competitions, such as figure-skating championships and Eurovision Song Contest, have shown that competitors who go last often have a higher chance of winning than those who competed earlier.

This phenomenon can be explained by the fact that our brains are wired to rely on context and information available to us when making judgments.

When house hunting, for instance, our judgment of each property we see will depend upon what we have seen already.

So by the time people get to the final house they look at, their judgement has already been shaped by viewing lots of other houses beforehand.

Similarly in competitions, judges tend not to award a perfect score early on because it would prevent them from giving even higher marks later on in the competition.

The Power Of First Impressions: How Our Minds Instinctively Judge A Person’S Trustworthiness

Humans are creatures of habit – we like things that we’re familiar with.

We tend to be drawn to things that we’ve seen or experienced frequently before.

That’s why it pays off for us to make sure that we are in the right place and looking the part when trying to increase our luck!

Robert Zajonc’s classic experiment is a great example of this principle at work.

By exposing Westerners to foreign characters (Chinese logograms, for instance), he found that they favored those characters they had seen most frequently – an effective demonstration of the exposure effect.

From an evolutionary standpoint, if something is familiar, it usually means we haven’t been eaten by it yet!

Even in more everyday situations, such as social gatherings and networking events, being physically close to other people correlates with making more friends – so don’t stay on the sidelines too long.

We also use first impressions to guide us in decision-making; so if you’re a musician hoping for success; wearing formal attire may get you places as judges will rate your performances as technically proficient – doctors included, who can increase their trustworthiness ratings simply by putting on a white coat over their suit!

Beauty Is More Than Skin Deep: How Attractive People Get An Unfair Advantage In Life

Advantage In Life

Studies consistently show that humans are predisposed to favor attractive people above their plainer counterparts.

This predisposition starts at an early age, where babies tend to spend more time looking at the stereotypically beautiful face than the not so conventionally good-looking one.

This preference translates to other areas of life as well.

For instance, in a study involving university applications left by chance in phone booths, more were mailed back for attractive students than for those who were less attractive.

On top of that, parents of better-looking babies are found to be more nurturing towards their children compared to those of plainer features.

By being beautiful, these people gain advantages and enhanced luck throughout life since others prefer and show preference to them.

So if you want to improve your luck and gain some advantages over people who aren’t blessed with beauty, then focus on ways to build confidence; such as getting colorful clothes, investing time in the gym or learning how to use makeup – all while still remembering that true worth doesn’t come only from physical appearance.

The Power Of Confidence: How To Make Your Own Luck By Building Self-Belief

Can you learn to be lucky? That may depend on how confident you are.

It’s been shown that confidence is key if you want to get lucky — if you have the confidence to talk to that cute person in the bar instead of sitting in the corner nursing your mojito, then it’s more likely that something good will come out of it!

However, one thing we must consider when trying to understand this idea is that our confidence and luck are often dependent on social conditioning.

While some people may naturally be more confident, many people will not have this luxury.

Research has shown us that a child born into a professionally successful family receives 560,000 more pieces of encouraging feedback than discouraging feedback in their first four years of life — in comparison, a child from a working class family or those living in poverty receive far less positive reinforcement which can lead to lower levels of self-assurance.

Fortunately, there are ways around this.

We’ve seen how women were able to overcome preconceived notions about ability in math by simply imagining themselves as a “stereotypical male”.

This simple thought exercise caused discrepancies between male and female performance almost entirely disappear, thanks to newfound confidence among the women involved!

It also doesn’t hurt if we take time out of our day-to-day schedule to remind ourselves of our own strengths and talents; studies have found students who spend 15 minutes writing about THEIR OWN skills go on to perform better than those who don’t.

Ultimately all these tactics should help create opportunities for lucky breaks by creating an atmosphere where one is confident – but before any of these workable solutions can be adopted it is essential for us to recognize how deeply rooted social conditioning can act as hindrance towards achieving desired levels of confidence necessary for luck.

Success Has More Factors Than Just Hard Work And Practice Alone

It’s true that hard work and 10,000 hours of practice are important – but if you want to reach the pinnacle of success in any field, it’s not enough.

You need the right genes, resources, location and mental toughness in order to succeed.

The world’s top athletes are proof of this fact.

Studies have shown that genes can account for anywhere between 31-85 percent of variation between athletes.

A person may be born with perfect genetics for a certain sport – but if they’re living in a favela with no resources or access to proper training, then they won’t be able to take advantage of their potential.

You’ll also notice that successful athletes tend to come from higher-income families and locations with better conditions for the sport – like Olympic swimmers who were raised near swimming pools in sunny places like California.

In addition to all of these factors, athletes need incredible mental toughness in order to truly reach the highest levels of success; they must never stop pushing themselves forward even when faced with criticism or failure.

To sum up – hard work is important, your genetic makeup and access to resources matter too and mental toughness is essential for reaching the top of any field.

It takes more than just hard work alone – it takes multiple pieces of luck coming together for someone to be truly successful in any field!

The Secret To Success Is Self-Discipline, Not Luck


Self-control is an essential component to success.

Derek Sivers embodies this perfectly: he was known as “the robot” amongst his friends because of his intense and consistent focus.

He set up the online store CD Baby in 1993 after teaching himself HTML over the course of a single weekend, which eventually led to him selling it for $22 million!

But his success didn’t just come from luck or chance—it was through his dedication to mastering new skills and self-discipline that he achieved amazing results.

With it, long-term rewards can be attained; without it, we’ll find ourselves stuck with short-term gratification instead.

It’s easier said than done, but the good news is that we can all get better at self-control.

Simple tactics like removing appetizing temptations from our immediate reach and visualizing the positive outcome of long-term activities are two methods that work notably well.

In other words, if you want to succeed, having strong self-control is essential!

The Power Of Social Connections: Why Knowing Who You Know Matters

Connecting with other people is one of the most important aspects of success.

Sociologist Katherine Giuffre found that the greatest successes in the New York fine art photography scene typically had large networks full of strong connections.

These connections made it easier for them to get their art noticed, while those without such connections were largely filtering through obscurity.

A key lesson we can take away is that connecting with other people can help open doors and generate new opportunities.

If you want to be successful, getting out there and making positive, engaging connections is essential.

That means finding ways to interact with others without coming across as excessively cagy or nervous.

Demonstrate expressive interest in your conversations, be friendly and welcoming in your body language, and make sure to send unmistakably positive signals!

People are hardwired for social interaction, so if you make yourself pleasurable to be around then positive results will follow.

Be Willing To Take Risks And Stay Curious: The Key To Finding Luck

As Tony Hsieh’s story shows, staying curious about new things can increase your chances of finding luck and succeeding in life.

When Hsieh was nine, he started a business selling worms; it failed because he didn’t identify the risk that all of the worms would escape.

But even so, he was undeterred from pursuing his entrepreneurial career.

He started an advertising newsletter, bartended at Harvard and even made a profit by buying McDonald’s burgers for $1 and reselling them for $3.

When an entrepreneur first pitched him the idea of Zappos, Hsieh wasn’t particularly passionate about or interested in shoes– but his curiosity won out as usual.

And it’s a good thing it did: By 2008, Zappos was turning over $1 billion in sales and eventually sold to Amazon.

Many people don’t give themselves the opportunity to get lucky by staying closed off to new things– they’re afraid of what they don’t know or don’t understand.

But if you open yourself up to new opportunities, chances are you’ll find something great!

To do this, try building your social network so that friends can help you explore new things or work on reducing stress levels and improving your confidence so that taking risks feels easier.

So stay curious– you never know what could be waiting around the corner!

Wrap Up

The final takeaway of the Can You Learn to be Lucky? book is simple: increase your chances of getting lucky by maximizing your opportunities.

To do this, you need to get out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Explore different types of activities and subjects, as diverse as computer programming or French classes.

Doing so can open up a world of new possibilities for you, from uncovering hidden talents to meeting invaluable contacts.

Whatever it may be, this is the surest way to increase your luck!

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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