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Why do businessmen attribute their successes or failures to luck?

In his bestseller "Good to Great," Jim Collins reports that corporate leaders attributed their results to luck (p. 33-5). Great companies had 'good luck', and their competitors had 'bad luck.' Why would leaders of comparable companies attribute their divergent results to luck?

JimWoods , 03.08.2011, 20:31
Idea status: under consideration

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JimWoods, 06.10.2011, 06:33
I see that Jim Collins has a new book coming out this month titled _Great by Choice: Uncertainty, Chaos, and Luck--Why Some People Thrive Despite All of Them_.
robertgarmong, 15.12.2014, 19:58
This seems to me like a (probably misguided) way to avoid complacency. The average person who thinks everything is a matter of luck will give in to fatalism and never accomplish anything. But those very few with an inherently strong drive to work and succeed will see the idea that the world is set against them as a motivation to grit their teeth a little harder, work with a little bit more determination, and achieve even greater things.

It strikes me that if it's just a strategy, it's mostly harmless. (These guys' therapists might disagree.) It's when the idea becomes seriously believed and integrated into one's psyche that it forms a persecution complex. And in that case, even if it happens to lead to financial success, it can't be healthy.

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