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The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing

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  • Posted December 14, 2012

    more from this reviewer


    The theme of this book, untangling the role of skill and luck in our lives, merits the attention that this book has received. However, that meritourious subject matter notwithstanding, this book was a major disappointment to me.

    Curiously, the lessons in this book that have the greatest heft and offer the greatest insights are made through direct citations of other sources. Mauboussin's book is particularly derviative of Nassim Taleb's writings (Black Swan) and Daniel Kahneman's (Thinking, Fast and Slow). There is no value added with The Success Equation, and in fact, the insights presented are given insufficient treatment relative to primary sources from which they are pulled.

    Additionally, Mauboussin makes numerous assertions about the role that chance/skill play in various activities, including investing and various sports, without sufficiently explaining his methodology. He repeatedly cites himself as the source for the many charts in the book. His conclusions about the role of skill in various activities, e.g. baseball vs. basketball vs. investing are, at best, grossly oversimplistic. His methodology seems to leave much to be desired, but he hardly sheds any light on that methodology.

    Take a pass on this book, there are numerous books that address the same subject matter that are far superior.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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