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Don't Eat Fortune's Cookie -- Michael Lewis

Stashed in: Moneyball, Luck!, Poker!

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The book I wrote was called "Liar’s Poker."  It sold a million copies. I was 28 years old. I had a career, a little fame, a small fortune and a new life narrative. All of a sudden people were telling me I was born to be a writer. This was absurd. Even I could see there was another, truer narrative, with luck as its theme. What were the odds of being seated at that dinner next to that Salomon Brothers lady? Of landing inside the best Wall Street firm from which to write the story of an age? Of landing in the seat with the best view of the business? Of having parents who didn't disinherit me but instead sighed and said "do it if you must?" Of having had that sense of must kindled inside me by a professor of art history at Princeton? Of having been let into Princeton in the first place?

This isn't just false humility. It's false humility with a point. My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck — especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don't want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either. 

"People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck -- especially successful people."

Of course not -- that would be admitting that there's very little we can do to create the outcome we want.

The speech was a bit disconnected. Though, each disconnected piece, individually, stood as a good story on it's own:

Money don't always buy you success...

I wrote a book about this, called "Moneyball." It was ostensibly about baseball but was in fact about something else. There are poor teams and rich teams in professional baseball, and they spend radically different sums of money on their players. When I wrote my book the richest team in professional baseball, the New York Yankees, was then spending about $120 million on its 25 players. The poorest team, the Oakland A's, was spending about $30 million. And yet the Oakland team was winning as many games as the Yankees and more than all the other richer teams.

This isn't supposed to happen. In theory, the rich teams should buy the best players and win all the time.

I can't even begin to say how hard it is to read an article stating [INSERT YOUR COMPETITOR HERE] just raised [X] millions of dollars. They feel like the New York Yankees while I feel like the Oakland A's. Great to hear the author expand upon that a bit more...

I stashed a video of Michael Lewis's speech:

I agree he's a tad disconnected, but he's very compelling to watch.

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