Thursday, April 22, 2021

How To Get Lucky

I feel lucky already.

This is not a post about winning the lottery, or getting lucky with the opposite (or same) sex, or with any of the numerous genders that now exist and are constantly proliferating.

It is not a post about leprechauns, which in medieval Irish folklore have little if anything to do with luck (unless you happen to catch one and force it to show you where it hides the coins looted during ancient wars).

It's a post about a book.  It's a strange book, but a good one.  It's also an old book, and out of print until relatively recently.  It has long been one of Thee Optimist's favorites. 

Later, if you decide you want to read it, Thee Optimist will, ah... lend it to you, for no reason at all except he likes doing things of that nature.

The book is called How To Get Lucky: 13 Techniques for Discovering and Taking Advantage of Life's Good Breaks, by Max Gunther.  If you're someone who prefers to buy the book (instead of getting it for nothing), you can buy it at the link above.

The original, 1986 cover of the paperback edition.

I thought luck just happens.  Or doesn't.

Most people tend to ignore luck, or downplay its role in their lives.  Why even deal with it?  You can't control it.  It's just luck.  Bad things happen to good people.  Good things happen to bad people.  

You were born a certain height, with a certain level of intelligence, in a certain place, at a certain time.  You were born into a certain race, or caste, in an area where that group is despised, or preferably, where it ruthlessly lords over everyone else. 

You're good-looking.  You're ugly.  You get hit by a car.  A gun-toting lunatic walks into a supermarket while you're thumping the melons. 

While interviewing for a job, one of dozens you applied for, you meet, and later marry, a man who becomes one of the wealthiest people on Earth. 

Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

Sheer luck.  The world is not fair, and not even remotely so.  There's nothing you can do about that.

Or is there?

Max Gunther thought so.  

One of the few photographs of Max Gunther known to exist.

You can change your luck.

Max Gunther was a wealthy fellow of Swiss/German extraction, who was born in England and emigrated to the United States as a small child.

He wrote 26 books, and spent much of his adult life studying money, stock market investing, gambling, and the role of luck in the lives of people who pursued these interests.

He broadly defined "luck" as: Events that influence your life, but are not of your making.  

And he came to believe that people, through their actions, could (and did) increase their chances of having luck, both good and bad, happen to them.  Moreover, he believed that people have more control over this than they might assume.

Hence the book.

Within the book, he describes 13 (get it?) techniques or habits (of mind, and action) that tend to increase the role of good luck in people's lives.  We don't have the time (or really, the inclination) to exhaustively recap these habits here.

Anyway, other people have already done that.   

Suffice to say that the book is an eye-opening look at how you can first acknowledge that luck is a major part of life (and possibly, the major part), then begin to carefully (or recklessly, whichever you prefer) increase its effects.

The book is relatively short, and Gunther had a breezy, entertaining writing style, similar to, but well pre-dating Malcolm Gladwell.  

If you want to check it out by borrowing Thee Optimist's copy, you can do so by going here.  

Don't try to hack my Google Drive while you're there - it's ferociously well protected and your efforts will merely backfire, inflicting a storm of disasters upon you.  Just sayin'.

Q: Patches, you realize you've just committed a crime, don't you?

A: I disagree.  I give away free books all the time, including my own.  Anyway, Max has been dead for 23 years, and his spirit wants you to read his book and improve your luck.

The Chinese character "Fu," meaning "fortune" or "good luck." 
Pro tip: if you hang this character upside down (on your front door, say), it means "good luck arrives."

Words of Wisdom

“It is unlikely that God's plan for the universe includes making you rich.”

- Max Gunther

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