The Luck Factor

23 Mar 2012

Last Saturday, I have finished the book called “The Luck Factor”.

By the way, I declare Saturday to be my reading day. I shall finish one book on that day.

The first half of it iterates all the beliefs about luck.

For example, one guy believes in the numbers 4 7 and 11 because he won lottery 3 times with those numbers. Another guy believes in the arrangement of the stars.

There are probably 10 theories of being lucky, and all of them are not proven in any way.

Personally, I think the first half is full of craps. It is so boring.

However, the second half is amazingly insightful.

The second half is about the characteristics that lucky people seem to share.

Here they are:


Lucky people are willing to talk to strangers. They know how to break the ice and invent small talks.

They know so many people, and, more importantly, so many people know them and what they do. When an opportunity comes along, they will be the first one who knows about it.

I don't know any of that. But, in this characteristic, I believe I have it to some degree.

From knowing people, there was one lucky event that I can think of: The beginning of

I remember at first I know a guy named Kung first through ICQ. At that time, Kung asked me to help him with I didn't know how to program, but I said yes anyway.

So, I started studying Perl at that point.

I had no clue back then. The problem I had was the pagination stuff. I didn't know that users were supposed to send page=2 in order to view the second page. (That was really really stupid.)

Kung gave me a source code from another programmer, Ob. And that was how my programmer's life started… by copying Ob's code.

(Later in time, I was an intern at Ob's company for 3 summers. I've got a lot of free advices from OB throughout my programmer's life.)

After building a search result page for, Ning (also was a Thaipoint's co-founder) asked me to join him in founding

This occurrence is a pure serendipity. It happened out of nowhere.

Hunching Skill

Lucky people follow their heart with some exceptions.

When they exhaustively analyze all the situations and cannot decide, they follow their heart.

I also did have an example for this characteristic.

Back then, when I was in Germany, I've got two job offers: One from Fraunhofer Institute and another from Uni. Bonn.

Fraunhofer Institute is a big research institute. Their job offer also offers more money. It was like 30% more. Uni.Bonn's offer was inferior. I would get to work with only one guy who would be my supervisor. I assisted him on his PhD thesis.

But I liked this guy. So, I have decided to work for him.

It was a real luck that he has decided to publish a paper during the time I worked for him. It is really unusual for a master student to co-publish a paper.

Being Bold, not rash

Lucky people do take risks. But they are bold, not rash.

Being bold means even if you lose, you will still have money to pay for food.

Being rash means risking everything you have, and if you lose, you won't even have money to feed yourself.

Know when to quit

Lucky people know when to quit.

The rationale behind this is that:

When we make a decision (join a company or whatever), the decision might turn out to be a bad one. And it is not because of you. It's just that shits do happen.

When problems happen, you either solve them or stay away from them. Problems are not gonna solve themselves.

Unlucky people decide to maintain their positions with no plan to solve the problems. And that is how an unlucky event becomes devastating.

No need to prove themselves

Unlucky people often want to prove that they are smart, while lucky people don't really care about that.

Lucky people admit that the decision is not a good one, and they move on with their lives.

On another hand, unlucky people don't want to admit that they are wrong. So, they stick with their decisions (even bad ones) and hope that everything will be fine by itself.

Prepare for the worst

Lucky people always prepare for the worst.

One example is that lucky people usually buy insurance for everything. So, that when something bad happens to them, they don't really lose anything.


I do agree to every characteristic.

I think lucky people do encounter bad lucks half of the times. It's just that they know how to stop being unlucky.

In rare cases, there are some truly unlucky people though. Several of them are explained in the book. I do feel sorry for those people.

I hope that I won't be that unlucky.