Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure

A recent study by Alessandro. Pluchino at the University of Catania in Italy and his colleagues look at how talent or luck or both affect success and failure. In the study titled, “Talent vs Luck: the role of randomness in success and failure” it’s fascinating to see how it plays out.

In the abstract of the study, the researchers examine the belief in competitive Western cultures of how meritocracy affects outcomes of success. What is missing is how a certain amount of luck influences material success. They consider how external forces significantly affect individuals and help them on the road to success.

Pluchino and his team created a computer model of human talent and factor in the way people use it to exploit opportunities in life. What’s interesting is how the model gives the team the opportunity to study the role of chance in this process.

The 80-20 rule

Last year Oxfam reported that

Eight men own the same wealth as the 3.6 billion people who make up the poorest half of humanity, according to a new report published by Oxfam today to mark the annual meeting of political and business leaders in Davos.

That’s a staggering amount of wealth accumulation. And why?

The paper acknowledges that “some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals.”

Talent vs. Luck

The hypothesis in the paper is that luck also matters and can play a significant part in building success. The team shows strategies that reinforced the individuals’ journey to the “unfair final result” of amassing so much wealth.
  • Effective strategies to counterbalance luck
    • Serendipity, innovation and efficient funding strategies
    • The importance of the environment
The conclusion? Talent is necessary but luck plays a big part.
Thanks for sharing!

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