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How Entrepreneurs Can Make Luck Work

How Entrepreneurs Can Make Luck Work
Photograph by Getty Images

Every entrepreneur has heard that success requires the right combination of skill, experience, timing, and luck. But that last, intangible piece of the formula has always been tricky. “He just had a run of bad luck” explains away an excusable business failure, while the opposite expression serves as backhanded compliment from a jealous competitor.

This concept of luck is outdated, however, says David McRaney, author of the You Are Not So Smart books and podcast series. “We have predefined luck in our culture as some sort of fairy dust: a magical, ethereal, nonrational thing. But that is a prescientific understanding of luck that no longer applies,” he says.