Luck and the Self-Made Man

By Robert H. Frank in Atlantic Online, May 2016


…As E.B. White once wrote, “Luck is not something you can mention in the presence of self-made men.”

Seeing ourselves as self-made leads us to be less generous and public-spirited.

My having cheated death does not make me an authority on luck. But it has motivated me to learn much more about the subject than I otherwise would have. In the process, I have discovered that chance plays a far larger role in life outcomes than most people realize. And yet, the luckiest among us appear especially unlikely to appreciate our good fortune.

According to the Pew Research Center, people in higher income brackets are much more likely than those with lower incomes to say that individuals get rich primarily because they work hard. Other surveys bear this out: wealthy people overwhelmingly attribute their own success to hard work rather than to factors like luck or being in the right place at the right time….


One response to “Luck and the Self-Made Man

  1. Chances are he’s right.