August 10th, 2013

Book Review: Get Lucky

If you prefer to listen to me read this post, here is the audio version:

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Serendipity = “the art of making an unsought finding.”

“Serendipity is chance interacting with creativity.”

I received a copy of the book Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serendipity to Work for You and Your Business this week as part of our ARK Challenge participation. Lane Becker, one of the authors, spoke to our group (though I missed it as I was in Little Rock that day). Thor Muller, the other author of the book, was one of PressBaby’s 30-minute mentors for MentorCamp on Friday. Had I been planning ahead like I should, I would have read the book before meeting either of the authors. Instead, I didn’t realize they wrote the book until I picked it up late Friday afternoon and then did a mental forehead slap. Color me embarrassed. (Even more embarrassing is that I received a copy of this book at Startup Weekend Little Rock in April and it is still sitting on my nightstand in Little Rock, its bind unbroken.)

I loved this book. I read it in two sittings–last night and this morning–and underlined constantly, making notes of ideas that I had while reading. What I found most valuable about this book was that it presented its concepts from both the point-of-view of an established company needing to grow, change and shift and from the point-of-view of a startup in planning for building a business that allows for serendipity. I am currently sitting squarely in the middle of both situations, so I could see how to apply the ideas to each business.

Get Lucky is organized into chapters around eight skills that “will contribute to making your life luckier:”

  • Motion
  • Preparation
  • Divergence
  • Commitment
  • Activation
  • Connection
  • Permeability
  • Attraction

While it may seem that these eight skills might contradict each other, Becker and Muller did a good job of addressing these contradictions and showing how they each balance and complement each other.

One of my favorite parts of the book was when they gave a definition of a “geek:”

A geek is someone who has “an obsessive curiosity in an area of knowledge that causes them to forget themselves…Geeks are people that pursue their interests not because it’s their job, but because they are compelled by an irresistible force. They simply can’t get it out of their minds.”

I think I like this because I am a self-proclaimed geek.

My only complaint. One of my pet peeves with business books is that the same case studies are used over and over again. When Get Lucky started in on the organization of the Pixar offices and then 3M case study, I did an eye roll, but pressed on. I am glad I did. These were the only two case studies in the book that I had already read in many other business books. There were many, many other examples in this book that were worthwhile and intriguing.

In my own life, this year I have made the commitment to do more things outside my comfort zone in an effort to expand the opportunities for creative thinking, meeting new people and having new life experiences. Because I am in that mindset already, this book was even more meaningful to me because it gave validation to some of the irrational actions I have taken to grow branches in my life. To quote Albert Einstein:

“Logic will get you from A to B, but imagination will take you everywhere.”

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Link to book on Amazon