Success and Luck

Success and Luck

Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy

Book - 2016
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"A New York Times economics columnist explores the findings in recent years by scientists who have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life situations than most people imagine, showing how a more accurate understanding of this discovery could lead to better, richer and fairer economies and societies, "--NoveList.
Publisher: Princeton : Princeton University Press, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9780691167404
Branch Call Number: HB71 .F69584 2016
Characteristics: xx, 187 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


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NFreaderNWPL Oct 25, 2017

A low-key alternative to heavier tomes like Piketty's "Capital in the 21st Century." Frank is primarily concerned with the role of luck in creating "winner take all" markets. His unique policy proposal is a progressive consumption tax, which, he argues, would target wasteful, inflationary spending on "positional goods": things whose value comes from their relative scarcity, like high-end sports cars and luxury homes. According to Frank, revenue from the tax could be used to improve the environment everyone is born into, thus reducing the undesirable aspects of luck. Positional goods would remain a reality, but the struggle for relative advantage would no longer distort the price of necessities like housing for everyone else.

Sep 24, 2016

Author makes some very good points where the luck factor comes in, but then acts as a mediocre economist supporting the status quo elsewhere: believes markets are quite competitive and meritocratic in developed countries [My God, man! Have you not read the current news for the past 10 years - - they are thoroughly rigged, and the banks own all the financial exchanges and clearinghouses so what would one expect?????] and furthermore, on p. 54 proclaims: // . . growth in inequality does not appear to have resulted from growing market imperfections or from increased outsourcing to lower-paid workers in developing countries. \\
In 1984-85, GE and others began massive offshoring of scientist, R&D tech, engineering and programming jobs, finally covered in a congressional review in 2003 [Globalization of White-Collar Jobs] and forecasting for hundreds of billions worth of more jobs over the next 15 years?!?!?
Sorry, not only does author not make case, he's not even on the gameboard - - truly submediocre!
Mentions the luck factor with Microsoft's Bill Gates, suggesting his // deep mastery of code \\ due to early access to computing at his private school - - some programmers at the early years of Micro$oft might heartily disgree with that assessment, bubba! [Super programmers abound, but Gates was never one of them!]
Also, Prof. Frank neglects to mention several important factors like: (1) Gates' mother sat on several boards with the IBM CEO, hence his focus on her son; (2) Gates' uncle was VP at First Insterstate, hence Gates' first financing of his corporation; and, (3) Micro$oft would eventually settle out of court to the owners to the rights of the original CP/M [later called Dr. DOS] to the tune of around $1 billion.
Good points on luck overall, though.


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