Success and Luck, Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy - The Book * UFF Commentary * Detailed Definitions * Book Review * Luck Humour and Quotes * Related Thematic Music * Don't Follow Your Passion * 24 Things That Are More Likely to Happen Than Winning the Lottery; Reverse Lottery * WARREN BUFFETT on Being at the Right Place Right Time and Luck With Wealth

UFF Commentary:

Is it fair to say that all people have potential from birth to develop, earn and deserve praise (merit)?


the quality of being particularly good or worthy, especially so as to deserve praise or reward.
"composers of outstanding merit"
synonyms: excellence · goodness · standard · quality · level · grade · high quality ·

deserve or be worthy of (something, especially reward, punishment, or attention).
"the results have been encouraging enough to merit further investigation"
synonyms: deserve · earn · be deserving of · warrant · rate · justify · be worthy of ·

"Merit" as a word search courtesy of BING. See the following post (Definitions) for more details on meritocracy.


And are we not all lucky to be alive, here and now, no-matter how precarious our current situation?



success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions.
"it was just luck that the first kick went in" ·
synonyms: good fortune · good luck · success · successfulness · prosperity ·

(luck into/onto)
chance to find or acquire.
"he lucked into a disc-jockey job"

"Luck" as a word search courtesy of BING. Once again: See the following post (Definitions) for more details on being lucky.


And what about success? How successful do we need to be to feel fulfilled?


Related Idiom and Slang:

1. Idiom: Nothing Succeeds Like Success
Courtesy of

Initial success provides the resources and fosters the circumstances for further success. After their surprise championship victory, the team was suddenly flooded with support from the state and went on to become a powerhouse in the region. Nothing succeeds like success, as they say.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

Prov. If you have succeeded in the past, you will continue to be successful in the future. After Alan's brilliant courtroom victory, everyone wanted to be his client. Nothing succeeds like success.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


And how much luck do we need or deserve? What kind of luck do we yearn for, as there are variations, such as -

2. Slang: Like (lucky as) a dog with two dicks
Courtesy of

Happy, as a dog would be if it found it had an extra penis.


If there is ever to be a healthy, vibrant, rich, earth-based Utopian future for humanity (warts and all), will it be based on meritocracy? And need all meritocracies necessarily be based on and/or evolve into elitist hierarchies? Or can there be a more egalitarian, humanistic, Utopian, merit-based solution to resolving current, ongoing social/political/economic inequalities? A meritocracy of and for one and all! That would call for equal rights and opportunities writ large in a society currently, seemingly hell-bent on winner-take-all selfish purposes.

And what part would luck play if a modern, functional version of Utopia is to exist beyond fiction and mythology?


Here's an observation/objective Robert Frank offers in the Preface of his book:

"The claims I'll defend in the pages ahead are ambitious - that successful people tend to understate luck's role in their success, making them reluctant to support the kinds of public investments without which everyone becomes less likely to succeed; and that a relatively simple, un-intrusive change in public policy could free up more than enough resources to redress this investment shortfall."
Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, Robert H. Frank, Princeton University Press, 2016. Preface, Page xvi.

Put another way from another perspective:

Wouldn't it be nice if we could all get bailed out of trouble like those lucky bankers and derivatives junkies after the 2008 financial crash?

OK, so -

If we are to truly appreciate and objectify the full depth and meaning of the book "Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy", we need first start with detailed definitions and related history of the words "meritocracy" and "luck".


Detailed Definitions:

Meritocracy Defined
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Meritocracy (merit, from Latin mereō, and -cracy, from Ancient Greek κράτος kratos "strength, power") is a political philosophy which holds that certain things, such as economic goods or power, should be vested in individuals on the basis of talent, effort and achievement.[1] Advancement in such a system is based on performance, as measured through examination or demonstrated achievement. Although the concept of meritocracy has existed for centuries, the term itself was first created in 1958 by the sociologist Michael Young[2].

Early definitions[edit]

The "most common definition of meritocracy conceptualizes merit in terms of tested competency and ability, and most likely, as measured by IQ or standardized achievement tests."[3] In government and other administrative systems, "meritocracy" refers to a system under which advancement within the system turns on "merits", like intelligence, credentials, and education. These are often determined through evaluations or examinations.[2]

In a more general sense, meritocracy can refer to any form of evaluation based on achievement. Like "utilitarian" and "pragmatic", the word "meritocratic" has also developed a broader connotation, and is sometimes used to refer to any government run by "a ruling or influential class of educated or able people."[4]

This is in contrast to the original, condemnatory use of the term in 1958 by Michael Young in his work "The Rise of the Meritocracy", who was satirizing the ostensibly merit-based Tripartite System of education practiced in the United Kingdom at the time; he claimed that, in the Tripartite System, "merit is equated with intelligence-plus-effort, its possessors are identified at an early age and selected for appropriate intensive education, and there is an obsession with quantification, test-scoring, and qualifications."[5]

Meritocracy in its wider sense, may be any general act of judgment upon the basis of various demonstrated merits; such acts frequently are described in sociology and psychology. Supporters of meritocracy do not necessarily agree on the nature of "merit"; however, they do tend to agree that "merit" itself should be a primary consideration during evaluation. Thus, the merits may extend beyond intelligence and education to any mental or physical talent or to work ethic. As such meritocracy may be based on character or innate abilities. Meritocrats therefore reject evaluation on the basis of race, wealth, family circumstances, and similar criteria.

In rhetoric, the demonstration of one's merit regarding mastery of a particular subject is an essential task most directly related to the Aristotelian term Ethos. The equivalent Aristotelian conception of meritocracy is based upon aristocratic or oligarchical structures, rather than in the context of the modern state.[6][7]

More recent definitions[edit]

In the United States, the assassination of President James A. Garfield in 1881 prompted the replacement of the American Spoils System with a meritocracy. In 1883, The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act was passed, stipulating government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit through competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation.[8]

The most common form of meritocratic screening found today is the college degree. Higher education is an imperfect meritocratic screening system for various reasons, such as lack of uniform standards worldwide,[9][10] lack of scope (not all occupations and processes are included), and lack of access (some talented people never have an opportunity to participate because of the expense, most especially in developing countries).[11] Nonetheless, academic degrees serve some amount of meritocratic screening purpose in the absence of a more refined methodology. Education alone, however, does not constitute a complete system, as meritocracy must automatically confer power and authority, which a degree does not accomplish independently.


Although the concept has existed for centuries, the term "meritocracy" is relatively new. It was used pejoratively by British politician and sociologist Michael Young in his 1958 satirical essay[2][12][13][14][15] The Rise of the Meritocracy, which pictured the United Kingdom under the rule of a government favouring intelligence and aptitude (merit) above all else, being the combination of the root of Latin origin "merit" (from "mereō" meaning "earn") and the Ancient Greek suffix "-cracy" (meaning "power", "rule").[16] In this book the term had distinctly negative connotations as Young questioned both the legitimacy of the selection process used to become a member of this elite and the outcomes of being ruled by such a narrowly defined group. The essay, written in the first person by a fictional historical narrator in 2034, interweaves history from the politics of pre- and post-war Britain with those of fictional future events in the short (1960 onward) and long term (2020 onward).[17]

The essay was based upon the tendency of the then-current governments, in their striving toward intelligence, to ignore shortcomings and upon the failure of education systems to utilize correctly the gifted and talented members within their societies.[18]

Young's fictional narrator explains that, on the one hand, the greatest contributor to society is not the "stolid mass" or majority, but the "creative minority" or members of the "restless elite".[19] On the other hand, he claims that there are casualties of progress whose influence is underestimated and that, from such stolid adherence to natural science and intelligence, arises arrogance and complacency.[19] This problem is encapsulated in the phrase "Every selection of one is a rejection of many".[19]

It was also used by Hannah Arendt in her essay "Crisis in Education",[20] which was written in 1958 and refers to the use of meritocracy in the English educational system. She too uses the term pejoratively. It was not until 1972 that Daniel Bell used the term positively.[21]


Ancient times: China[edit]

According to scholarly consensus, the earliest example of an administrative meritocracy, based on civil service examinations, dates back to Ancient China.[22][23][24][25][a] The concept originates, at least by the sixth century BC, when it was advocated by the Chinese philosopher Confucius, who "invented the notion that those who govern should do so because of merit, not of inherited status. This sets in motion the creation of the imperial examinations and bureaucracies open only to those who passed tests."[26]

As the Qin and Han dynasties developed a meritocratic system in order to maintain power over a large, sprawling empire, it became necessary for the government to maintain a complex network of officials.[27] Prospective officials could come from a rural background and government positions were not restricted to the nobility. Rank was determined by merit, through the civil service examinations, and education became the key for social mobility.[27] After the fall of the Han Dynasty, the nine-rank system was established during the Three Kingdoms period.
According to the Princeton Encyclopedia on American History:[28]

One of the oldest examples of a merit-based civil service system existed in the imperial bureaucracy of China. Tracing back to 200 B.C., the Han Dynasty adopted Confucianism as the basis of its political philosophy and structure, which included the revolutionary idea of replacing nobility of blood with one of virtue and honesty, and thereby calling for administrative appointments to be based solely on merit. This system allowed anyone who passed an examination to become a government officer, a position that would bring wealth and honor to the whole family. In part due to Chinese influence, the first European civil service did not originate in Europe, but rather in India by the British-run East India Company... company managers hired and promoted employees based on competitive examinations in order to prevent corruption and favoritism.

Both Plato and Aristotle advocated meritocracy, Plato in his The Republic, arguing that the most wise should rule, and hence the rulers should be philosopher kings.[29]

17th century: spread to Europe[edit]

The concept of meritocracy spread from China to British India during the seventeenth century, and then into continental Europe and the United States.[28] With the translation of Confucian texts during the Enlightenment, the concept of a meritocracy reached intellectuals in the West, who saw it as an alternative to the traditional ancient regime of Europe.[30] Voltaire and François Quesnay wrote favourably of the idea, with Voltaire claiming that the Chinese had "perfected moral science" and Quesnay advocating an economic and political system modeled after that of the Chinese.[30]

The first European power to implement a successful meritocratic civil service was the British Empire, in their administration of India: "company managers hired and promoted employees based on competitive examinations in order to prevent corruption and favoritism."[28] British colonial administrators advocated the spread of the system to the rest of the commonwealth, the most "persistent" of which was Thomas Taylor Meadows, Britain's consul in Guangzhou, China. Meadows successfully argued in his Desultory Notes on the Government and People of China, published in 1847, that "the long duration of the Chinese empire is solely and altogether owing to the good government which consists in the advancement of men of talent and merit only," and that the British must reform their civil service by making the institution meritocratic.[31] This practice later was adopted in the late nineteenth century by the British mainland, inspired by "Chinese mandarin system."[32]

The British philosopher and polymath John Stuart Mill advocated meritocracy in his book, Considerations on Representative Government. His model was to give more votes to the more educated voter. His views are explained in Estlund (2003:57–58):

Mill's proposal of plural voting has two motives. One is to prevent one group or class of people from being able to control the political process even without having to give reasons in order to gain sufficient support. He calls this the problem of class legislation. Since the most numerous class is also at a lower level of education and social rank, this could be partly remedied by giving those at the higher ranks plural votes. A second, and equally prominent motive for plural voting is to avoid giving equal influence to each person without regard to their merit, intelligence, etc. He thinks that it is fundamentally important that political institutions embody, in their spirit, the recognition that some opinions are worth more than others. He does not say that this is a route to producing better political decisions, but it is hard to understand his argument, based on this second motive, in any other way.

So, if Aristotle is right that the deliberation is best if participants are numerous (and assuming for simplicity that the voters are the deliberators) then this is a reason for giving all or many citizens a vote, but this does not yet show that the wiser subset should not have, say, two or three; in that way something would be given both to the value of the diverse perspectives, and to the value of the greater wisdom of the few. This combination of the Platonic and Aristotelian points is part of what I think is so formidable about Mill's proposal of plural voting. It is also an advantage of his view that he proposes to privilege not the wise, but the educated. Even if we agreed that the wise should rule, there is a serious problem about how to identify them. This becomes especially important if a successful political justification must be generally acceptable to the ruled. In that case, privileging the wise would require not only their being so wise as to be better rulers, but also, and more demandingly, that their wisdom be something that can be agreed to by all reasonable citizens. I turn to this conception of justification below.

Mill's position has great plausibility: good education promotes the ability of citizens to rule more wisely. So, how can we deny that the educated subset would rule more wisely than others. But then why shouldn't they have more votes?

Estlund goes on to criticize Mill's education-based meritocracy on various grounds.

19th century[edit]

In the United States, the federal bureaucracy used the Spoils System from 1828 until the assassination of United States President James A. Garfield by a disappointed office seeker in 1881 proved its dangers. Two years later in 1883, the system of appointments to the United States Federal Bureaucracy was revamped by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, partially based on the British meritocratic civil service that had been established years earlier. The act stipulated that government jobs should be awarded on the basis of merit, through competitive exams, rather than ties to politicians or political affiliation. It also made it illegal to fire or demote government employees for political reasons.[8]

To enforce the merit system and the judicial system, the law also created the United States Civil Service Commission.[8] In the modern American meritocracy, the president may hand out only a certain number of jobs, which must be approved by the Senate.

Australia began establishing public universities in the 1850s with the goal of promoting meritocracy by providing advanced training and credentials. The educational system was set up to service urban males of middle-class background, but of diverse social and religious origins. It was increasingly extended to all graduates of the public school system, those of rural and regional background, and then to women and finally to ethnic minorities.[33] Both the middle classes and the working classes have promoted the ideal of meritocracy within a strong commitment to "mate-ship" and political equality.[34]

20th century to today[edit]

Singapore describes meritocracy as one of its official guiding principles for domestic public policy formulation, placing emphasis on academic credentials as objective measures of merit.[35]

There is criticism that, under this system, Singaporean society is being increasingly stratified and that an elite class is being created from a narrow segment of the population.[36] Singapore has a growing level of tutoring for children,[37] and top tutors are often paid better than school teachers.[37][38][39] Defendants[who?] recall the ancient Chinese proverb "Wealth does not pass three generations" (Chinese: 富不过三代), suggesting that the nepotism or cronyism of elitists eventually will be, and often are, replaced by those lower down the hierarchy.
Singaporean academics are continuously re-examining the application of meritocracy as an ideological tool and how it's stretched to encompass the ruling party's objectives. Professor Kenneth Paul Tan at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy asserts that "Meritocracy, in trying to 'isolate' merit by treating people with fundamentally unequal backgrounds as superficially the same, can be a practice that ignores and even conceals the real advantages and disadvantages that are unevenly distributed to different segments of an inherently unequal society, a practice that in fact perpetuates this fundamental inequality. In this way, those who are picked by meritocracy as having merit may already have enjoyed unfair advantages from the very beginning, ignored according to the principle of nondiscrimination."[40]

Meritocracy in the Singapore context relates to the application of pragmatism as an ideological device which combines strict adherence to market principles without any aversion to social engineering and little propensity for classical social welfarism,[41] is further illustrated by Kenneth Paul Tan in subsequent articles:

There is a strong ideological quality in Singapore's pragmatism, and a strongly pragmatic quality in ideological negotiations within the dynamics of hegemony. In this complex relationship, the combination of ideological and pragmatic maneuvering over the decades has resulted in the historical dominance of government by the PAP in partnership with global capital whose interests have been advanced without much reservation.[42]

Within the Ecuadorian Ministry of Labor, the Ecuadorian Meritocracy Institute[43] was created under the technical advice of the Singapore government.

Most contemporary political theorists, including John Rawls, reject the ideal of meritocracy.[44] However, in recent years, Thomas Mulligan has defended meritocracy.[45][46][47] He argues that a just society is one in which there is equal opportunity and people are judged on their merits.

Please refer to the Wikipedia site for more details on meritocracy including footnotes and references.


Luck Defined
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Luck is the experience of notably positive, negative, or improbable events. The naturalistic interpretation is that positive and negative events happen all the time in human lives, both due to random and non-random natural and artificial processes, and that even improbable events can happen by random chance. In this view, being "lucky" or "unlucky" is simply a descriptive label that points out an event's positivity, negativity, or improbability.

Supernatural interpretations of luck consider it to be an attribute of a person or object, or the result of a favorable or unfavorable view of a deity upon a person. These interpretations often prescribe how luckiness or unluckiness can be obtained, such as by carrying a lucky charm or making sacrifices or prayers to a deity. Saying someone is "born lucky" then might mean, depending on the interpretation, anything from that they have been born into a good family or circumstance, or that they habitually experience improbably positive events due to some inherent property or the lifelong favor of a god or goddess in a monotheistic or polytheistic religion.

Many superstitions are related to luck, though these are often specific to a given culture or set of related cultures, and sometimes contradictory. For example, lucky symbols include the number 7 in Christian-influenced cultures, but the number 8 in Chinese-influenced cultures. Unlucky symbols and events include entering and leaving a house by different doors in Greek culture, throwing rocks into the wind in Navajo culture, and ravens in Western culture. Some of these associations may derive from related facts or desires. For example, in Western culture opening an umbrella indoors might be considered unlucky partly because it could poke someone in the eye, whereas shaking hands with a chimney sweep might be considered lucky partly because it is a kind but unpleasant thing to do given the dirty nature of their work. In Chinese culture, the association of the number 4 as a homophone with the word for death may explain why it is considered unlucky. Extremely complicated and sometimes contradictory systems for prescribing auspicious and inauspicious times and arrangements of things have been devised, for example feng shui in Chinese culture and systems of astrology in various cultures around the world.

Many polytheistic religions have specific gods or goddesses that are associated with luck, including Fortuna and Felicitas in the Ancient Roman religion (the former related to the words "fortunate" and "unfortunate" in English), Dedun in Nubian religion, the Seven Lucky Gods in Japanese mythology, mythical American serviceman John Frum in Polynesian cargo cults, and the inauspicious Alakshmi in Hinduism.

Etymology and Definition[edit]

The English noun luck appears comparatively late, during the 1480s, as a loan from Low German, Dutch or Frisian luk, a short form of gelucke (Middle High German gelücke). Compare to old Slavic word lukyj (лукый) - appointed by destiny and old Russian luchaj (лучаи) - destiny, fortune. It likely entered English as a gambling term, and the context of gambling remains detectable in the word's connotations; luck is a way of understanding a personal chance event. Luck has three aspects:[1][2][3]

Luck is good or bad.[4]
Luck is the result of chance.[5]
Luck applies to a sentient being.

Before the adoption of luck at the end of the Middle Ages, Old English and Middle English expressed the notion of "good fortune" with the word speed (Middle English spede, Old English spēd); speed besides "good fortune" had the wider meaning of "prosperity, profit, abundance"; it is not associated with the notion of probability or chance but rather with that of fate or divine help; a bestower of success can also be called speed, as in "Christ be our speed" (William Robertson, Phraseologia generalis, 1693).

The notion of probability was expressed by the Latin loanword chance, adopted in Middle English from the late 13th century, literally describing an outcome as a "falling" (as it were of dice), via Old French cheance from Late Latin cadentia "falling". Fortuna, the Roman goddess of fate or luck, was popular an allegory in medieval times, and even though it was not strictly reconcilable with Christian theology, it became popular in learned circles of the High Middle Ages to portray her as a servant of God in distributing success or failure in a characteristically "fickle" or unpredictable way, thus introducing the notion of chance.

Please refer to the Wikipedia site for full details on luck, including Interpretations (i.e. as Lack of Control, as a Fallacy, as an Essence, as a Self-Fulfilling Prophesy); Social Aspects (i.e. Games, Lotteries, Numerology, Science); In Religion and Mythology, along with footnotes, bibliography and extensive references.


Book Review:

Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, Robert H. Frank, Princeton University Press, 2016.

Here's the book review written by Dan McArthur. as published courtesy of LSE Review of Books

What role does luck play in economic success? In Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, Robert H. Frank argues that the wealthy tend to underestimate the role that chance plays in acquiring status and money, and explores how this consequently discourages support of taxation. While this short read could draw upon other discussions of luck to bolster its key claims, this is a convincing and engagingly written work, writes Dan McArthur.

Consider the owner and founder of a successful business. Did they make it all on their own, through hard work, dedication and talent, or did luck play a role in their success? Hard work and talent might be needed to identify an untapped market or a revolutionary business model, but our businessperson still required luck of several kinds. They were lucky that another entrepreneur didn’t get there first, or that an established company was unable to muscle in on their business. However, they were also lucky to be born in an affluent society where they could be educated for free in publicly funded schools, and where governments have invested in the roads on which their products are transported and in a police force to prevent their wealth from being stolen.

In Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, Robert H. Frank argues that wealthy people fail to appreciate the central role that luck plays in their success, and are thus unwilling to support taxation to fund public infrastructure that benefits everyone. Frank is an economist at Cornell University and a columnist for the New York Times, and is well known for popularising the idea of the ‘winner-take-all society’.

Success and Luck is written in a clear, engaging and personable style, not least because it is littered with anecdotes and stories illustrating the huge effects that tiny chance events can have. I found examples from Frank’s own life especially compelling. These include two near-death experiences – a heart attack and a windsurfing accident – as examples of how tiny contingencies can quite literally have life and death implications. The book also discusses more systematic evidence of the role of luck, such as the effects of the month in which someone happens to be born on their chances of becoming a CEO or a professional athlete. More generally (as Branko Milanovic argues), at least half of the variance of incomes across the world is explained by two factors: the mean income per capita and level of inequality in the country in which an individual happens to live. Being born in the right country has a huge impact on the success you can expect to have.

For Frank, luck is especially important to economic success in the era of ‘winner-take-all markets’. This term refers to a situation where transportation and communications technology increases the competitiveness of markets and, in doing so, allows the producers of the best products to capture the entire market. One of Frank’s examples is the way in which local accountancy firms have gradually been superseded by franchised services, and then by tax software. Where once the best accountant in a given town would have served only the richest customers in that particular town, now the producer of the best tax software can sell their product across the world.

In winner-take-all markets, there are more people competing to provide the best product, and the winner can take the entire prize themselves. Frank argues that under such circumstances, ability and effort are important, but so is luck. He uses mathematical simulations to show that, as contests get larger, luck becomes more important in determining the outcome, and the winner of the contest is less likely to be the most ‘skilful’ but rather the luckiest.

Drawing on behavioural economics and psychology, Frank discusses some of the cognitive biases that lead successful people to fail to appreciate the role of luck in their success. It seems to be harder to delay gratification and self-motivate if you believe that luck, rather than effort, plays an important role in your life. But overlooking the role of luck makes successful people more hostile to paying taxes. For Frank, in the US at least, this unwillingness to support higher taxes is seriously damaging physical and social infrastructure, including the roads, railways and public education on which the entire population depends. This under-investment in public goods is harmful even to the most successful members of a society, because they also benefit from public goods. The analogy he uses is that it is better to drive a $150,000 Porsche on well-maintained roads than a $333,000 Ferrari on a road full of potholes.

Frank’s solution to this chronic underinvestment depends on his view that consumption is shaped by frames of reference. What people consume is shaped by norms and expectations that depend on what those around them are consuming. In Frank’s view, consumption choices are socially shaped to the extent that if you taxed everyone more (above some minimum threshold), people’s happiness would not change much because they would maintain their relative position in the income hierarchy. He argues that his proposed solution to chronic under-investment – a progressive consumption tax – will not actually harm the rich very much, because the consumption of all of the rich is scaled down – the richest person can still afford the house with the best view, and the second richest person can afford the house with the second best view.

Success and Luck is a short book. There are some really interesting aspects of luck that Frank doesn’t discuss. For example, the philosophers Bernard Williams and Thomas Nagel have argued that the central role of luck in people’s lives can seriously challenge common-sense beliefs about morally holding people to account for their actions. Another issue worth exploring is the role of beliefs about luck in attitudes towards poverty: people are much more supportive of welfare payments aimed at people who are seen as being in poverty through no fault of their own.

One possible criticism of the book is that Frank assumes that people need to be talented and hard-working, as well as lucky, to be successful. This may understate the role that social background can play in getting access to prestigious jobs and opportunities – both the class-, race- and gender-based advantages of ‘looking the part’ [4] as well as inheritance and nepotism. However, if the job of this book is to convince our hypothetical entrepreneur to support higher taxes, then Frank has pitched his arguments pretty well.

Dan McArthur is a PhD student in the LSE Department of Sociology and the LSE International Inequalities Institute. His research investigates the relationship between economic inequality and the stigmatisation of people in poverty in public opinion. Dan holds an MSc in Sociology from LSE, and a BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford. His broader academic interests include the study of social class, comparative political economy, the philosophy of social science and sociological debates about immigration and multiculturalism.

Note: Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Copyright 2013 LSE Review of Books


Luck Humour:

Well, do you feel lucky? Lucky enough to enjoy laughter?

Dirty Harry Do You ( I ) Feel Lucky Punk?

Published on Dec 8, 2011

Category: Entertainment
License: Standard YouTube License

Bad Luck Compilation

Published on Oct 13, 2017

Category: Entertainment
License: Standard YouTube License

Good Luck Everyone - Blackadder - BBC

BBC Studios
Published on May 24, 2010

Category: Entertainment
License: Standard YouTube License

Luke Is All By Himself (Star Wars - The Force Awakens - Alternate Ending Parody)

Published on Apr 29, 2016

Category: Comedy
License: Standard YouTube License


Luck Quotes:

As Warren Buffet once said: "Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago."
Success and Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of Meritocracy, Robert H. Frank, Princeton University Press, 2016. 1. Write What You Know, Page 12

The following quotes are courtesy of:

Luck is great, but most of life is hard work.
Iain Duncan Smith

Shallow men believe in luck. Strong men believe in cause and effect.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

I believe that we all have a responsibility to give back. No one becomes successful without lots of hard work, support from others, and a little luck. Giving back creates a virtuous cycle that makes everyone more successful.
Ron Conway

The public health of five million children should not be left to luck or chance.
Jamie Oliver

I don't believe in luck. Not in golf, anyway. There are good bounces and bad bounces, sure, but the ball is round and so is the hole. If you find yourself in a position where you hope for luck to pull you through, you're in serious trouble.
Jack Nicklaus

Luck? I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it and I'm afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work - and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't.
Lucille Ball

There is no such thing in the world as luck. There never was a man who could go out in the morning and find a purse full of gold in the street to-day, and another to-morrow, and so on, day after day: He may do so once in his life; but so far as mere luck is concerned, he is as liable to lose it as to find it.
PT Barnum

Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

The way my luck is running, if I was a politician I would be honest.
Rodney Dangerfield

Good night, and good luck.
Edward R. Murrow


Rolling Stones - Tumbling Dice (From "Ladies & Gentlemen" DVD & Blu-Ray)

Eagle Rock
Published on Sep 2, 2010

Category: Music
License: Standard YouTube License

House of the Rising Sun | The Voice | Blind auditions | Worldwide

Princesse Jenna
Published on Nov 14, 2015

Category: People & Blogs
License: Standard YouTube License

Suggested by: Talpa_TheVoice

Bob Seger System "Ramblin Gamblin Man" Live "Turn-On" 1970

Resurrection Productions
Published on Feb 15, 2015

Category: Music
License: Standard YouTube License

Bad Company - Shooting Star

Published on Jul 21, 2011

Label: Swan Song
Copyright: Warner Music Group

Category: Music
License Standard YouTube License

Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart (Official Music Video)

Published on Dec 24, 2013

Song: Owner Of A Lonely Heart
Artist: Yes
Album: Owner Of A Lonely Heart
Writers: Chris Squire, Jon Anderson, Trevor Horn, Trevor Rabin
Licensed to YouTube by: WMG (on behalf of Atlantic P&D); BMG Rights Management, Abramus Digital, Downtown Music Publishing, Sony ATV Publishing, ARESA, Exploration Group (Music Publishing), UBEM, Warner Chappell, PEDL, and 18 Music Rights Societies

Steve Winwood - 01 While You See A Chance (Vinyl LP)

UFF Commentary: This is one of the best audio versions available although there are other listening/viewing options including live performances from the past.

Published on Nov 13, 2010

From the LP 'Arc Of A Diver'
1980 Island (Warner Bros.) Records Ltd.

Category: Education
License: Standard YouTube License

Birtles Shorrock,Goble formerly Little River Band (It's a Long Way There) From the Full Circle DVD

Published on Mar 11, 2011

Great Quality copy of Birtles, Shorrock, Goble from their Melbourne concert.

Category: Music
License: Standard YouTube License


Don't Follow Your Passion

UFF Commentary:

Follow your passion or get a day job.

What do you think?!

Here below are actual public commentaries followed by the video.


Published on Jun 6, 2016

Should you follow your passion, wherever it may take you? Should you do only what you love...or learn to love what you do? How can you identify which path to take? How about which paths to avoid? TV personality Mike Rowe, star of "Dirty Jobs" and "Somebody's Gotta Do It," shares the dirty truth in PragerU's 2016 commencement address.

Einstein worked "passionately" on his equations at night WHILE working as a Swiss patent clerk as his day job. AFTER I've diligently planted and tended the wheat fields, what's stopping me from capturing it in an impressionist painting with colors ala Paul Cezanne? Pouring a hard day's work with both feet on the ground, at night I can still look-up at all the brilliant stars shining in the night sky in awe and wonder at all that majesty, right?

I am someone with a lot of education and several degrees. I amazes me that people look down on tradesmen and craftsmen. Jobs we used to call "a good day's work". Trade schools and amazingly important for the future of our country and people, and those that work the 'dirty jobs' are the backbone.

Judicious Aim
I became a plumber because that was the only trade that was hiring in 2009. I had learned auto & diesel mechanic trades because they paid well throughout the 90's. I enlisted in the service because I knew auto mechanic jobs were dead end jobs. I knew this because I worked in shops with very experienced men who were in their 40's and 50's who had been turning wrenches since they were teens. They made around $45k a year despite owning tens of thousands of dollars worth in tools that were needed to perform their jobs. They all told me it was not a career that would open doors so I raised my hand and earned my EGA at Parris Island.

After my time in the Marines as an aircraft mechanic I returned to the truck and equipment industry for several years largely because the aviation industry was not hiring. When trucking and construction dried up in 2009 I learned plumbing because "plumbers needed" were the only adverts I saw. There was a demand that was not being filled. Several years after I made that jump into plumbing I am the foreman for a plumbing shop with 20 employees under me.

My advice is to never look the other way when opportunity is staring at you. Most people cringe when I tell of how my day working on sewage grinder pumps went, but i love the $69k i earn while doing very dirty jobs. I remember the first time I had to work in a sewage pit and I remember thinking that I needed to suck it up (not literally) because there was no other work out there. Looking back I am glad I always chose the opportunity path instead of my dream of being a LEO. I make a good living fixing things.

This is actually Jewish wisdom. Don't follow your passion but find passion in what you do. Serve others, don't serve yourself. That's why Jewish people have been very successful in finance and science. They did what society needs them to do, not what they wanted to do. Prager University has a lot of hidden Jewish themes if you know what to look for. It's not bad, though, because it's best to learn from the best people, Jews. Jews are hated only because they are more successful than most white people.

iim Shifty
You could die tomorrow... follow what YOU want, stop letting other people choose for you, and stop giving up on yourselves, there's people in EVERY field that was told they weren't good enough and continued to believe in themselves, Steve jobs, Isaiah Thomas 5'9" NBA STAR! (29pts a game) like are you kidding me, and a lot of you ppl just say o well I guess this guy on YouTube is right I'm not good enough to follow my passion... BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!!!!!!!!

Darmil P
This video should be re-titled 'Don't follow your passion if you suck at it.'

Category: Education
License: Standard YouTube License


UFF Commentary on The Lottery of Life:

Congrats! We're all winners of The Lottery of Life! That is, we survived gestation and birth (be we full term or premies), our upbringing (in a loving family hopefully), education (without losing our child-like sense of wonder for the world, again, hopefully), food (haven't been poisoned, at least not yet), traffic (look both ways before crossing the street and drive carefully, please), friendships (lucky in love is a lottery in itself), work (loving what you do for a living transcends the "W" word beyond four letter connotations)... Lucky indeed, at least so far... Whew.

And how many of us buy lottery tickets and dream about winning yet think nothing about jay walking or running a red light when pressed for time without giving a thought to the odds of becoming an accident victim?

What are the odds of winning big? And what are the odds of losing your precious life through carelessness or fate, accidental or otherwise? Do you know or even think about it?

Psychologically, survival personalities are geared to focus on positive expectations yet we may be surprised with the following statistics...


24 Things That Are More Likely to Happen Than Winning the Lottery

by Kalen Bruce | Jul 24, 2014
Courtesy of:

Do you play the lottery?

Everyone knows the odds of winning the lottery are unlikely, but exactly how unlikely?
First off, I am talking about the major lotteries here.
Namely, The Powerball and Mega Millions. Heard of them?
The odds are similar for winning both. Around 1 in 176,000,000.
Not too bad, right? Oh wait, yes it is.
In fact, here are a total of 24 things that are more likely to happen than winning the lottery…

Dying Isn’t That Likely

You have heard that you are more like to die on the way to buy your lottery ticket than you are to win the lottery, right? The odds of you dying in a car accident are 1 in 6,700, by the way.
Dying isn’t really that likely, especially in some of these weird ways, but it’s still more likely than winning the lottery.

Here are 11 other ways you are more likely to die than win the lottery:

Being killed by a vending machine. (1 in 112 million)
Being killed in a terrorist attack on an airline. (1 in 25 million)
Dying from a bee, hornet or wasp sting. (1 in 6.1 million)
Dying from being left-handed and using a right-handed product incorrectly. (1 in 4.4 million)
Dying in a plane crash. (1 in 1 million)
Being killed by flesh-eating bacteria. (1 in 1 million)
Getting Struck by Lightning. (1 in 1 million)
Drowning (1 in 2,000,000)
Drowning specifically in a bathtub. (1 in 840,000)
Dying in an on-the-job accident. (1 in 48,000)
Being murdered…just in general. (1 in 18,000)

It’s pretty unlikely that any of that will happen to you and it’s definitely more unlikely that you will win the lottery. It’s not all bad though. There are actually good things… or at least, neat things, that are more likely to happen:

Getting attacked by a shark. (1 in 11.5 million)
Visiting the ER for a pogo stick related injury. (1 in 115,300)

Oh wait! I said good things… here you go:

Having identical quadruplets. (1 in 15 million)
Becoming US president. (1 in 10 million)
Becoming a Movie Star. (1 in 1,505,000)
Becoming an astronaut. (1 in 12,100,000)
Becoming a pro athlete. (1 in 22,000)
Winning an Olympic gold medal. (1 in 662,000)
Winning an academy award. (1 in 11,500)
Finding out your child is a genius. (1 to 250)
Dating a millionaire. (1 to 215)
Getting a royal flush in a first hand of poker. (1 in 649,740)

So if you want a safer investment than the lottery, try Vegas. Or try to find one of those millionaires.

With all of these odds, it’s hard to believe that anything is less likely than winning the lottery, but you would be surprised…

There is a better chance that you will win the lottery, than there is that these things will happen:

Getting a perfect NCAA bracket (1 in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808)
Shuffling a deck of cards into perfect, sequential order (1 in 10^68)
Being hit by a meteor (1 in 182,138,880,000,000)

I guess those are 3 things that aren’t worth trying…especially getting hit by a meteor. Don’t try that at home, kids.

Well, if someone offers a billion dollars for guessing the NCAA bracket, it doesn’t hurt to try.
I don’t have an issue with buying a lottery ticket here and there for fun. If you play all the time, you may want to re-read this article, but this was really just for fun, because it’s my birthday and fun is just what happens on your birthday.

You Exist! What Are the odds?

It’s important to know that you are less likely to exist than you are to win the lottery.
So that means you have already beat the odds by being here at all.
Good job!

The odds of you existing are 1 in 10^2,685,000.

UFF NOTE: For the full break down on the above odds regarding your existence, starting with one egg meeting one sperm, which together made you, GOTO Kalen's article at


Maddock Douglas Reverse Lottery

Published on Mar 21, 2013

Category: Entertainment
License: Standard YouTube License

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This agreement extends to all YouTube entries posted on this site.


WARREN BUFFETT on being at the right place right time and luck with wealth

UFF Commentary:

White rich American male speaks the truth about the lottery of life.

Published on Feb 7, 2010

Category: Education
License: Standard YouTube License


UFF Suggests:

This planet is, hopefully, our Utopia, full of potential for humanity. We can correct our ways, share and grow, flora and fauna included. It's never too late. Each and every individual can make a contribution to the future of our collective, Earthly well-being!

Discuss/debate the above statement with meritocracy and luck in mind.


DISCLAIMER: UFF does not own any of the above works, nor do we claim responsibility or ownership for any images or audio tracks shown in these and other videos UFF has posted. All rights go to their respective owners.


UFF Commentary Notes are the sole responsibility of the President of UFF.

See post of November 29, 2017 for full transparency details.


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