Success and Luck

  • Par Robert H. Frank
  • Lu par Robert H. Frank
  • 5 h 19 min
  • Version intégrale | Livre audio

Résumé de l'éditeur

How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much. In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success - and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy.
Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones - and enormous income differences - over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways.
But, Frank argues, we could decrease the inequality driven by sheer luck by adopting simple, unintrusive policies that would free up trillions of dollars each year - more than enough to fix our crumbling infrastructure, expand healthcare coverage, fight global warming, and reduce poverty, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. If this sounds implausible, you'll be surprised to discover that the solution requires only a few, uncontroversial steps.
Compellingly listenable, Success and Luck shows how a more accurate understanding of the role of chance in life could lead to better, richer, and fairer economies and societies.


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There is nothing surprising or clever in observing that luck is generally an important element of success, but Robert Frank seems to think there is. His objective seems to be to make a political point : since an entrepreneur, taker of risk by definition, must have been lucky (as well as clever and hard-working) he should be happy to be heavily taxed once he realises that his success is largely a matter of luck. Frank's evidence often seems weak (for example, based on rather feeble simulations), he ignores weaknesses in his arguments (for example, he argues for high consumption taxes, then admits these would hit aggregate demand, so says they should only be brought in slowly when the financial crisis has been completely solved). He reports experimental results as percentages where the absolute difference would seem more valid, and he repeats some rather silly examples (Porche Vs Ferrari) several times where a variety of examples would have been more convincing. He assumes that taxing the 'very rich' (the owners of Ferraris) would be a meaningful solution to the underfunding of public services, whereas we all know that penal taxes on the rich don't actually raise that much money. He bizarrely assumes the number of waterside penthouses is fixed (i.e. it is not possible that more can be built if the demand is there). In all, the only solution is to re-read Fooled by Randomness, rather than invest your precious time on this.
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- Judy Corstjens

Détails du livre audio

  • Date de publication : 19-04-2016
  • Éditeur : Brilliance Audio