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The Luck Factor: Changing Your Luck, Changing Your Life - The Four Essential Principles

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  1,311 ratings  ·  146 reviews
Is luck just fate,
or can you change it?

A groundbreaking new scientific study of the phenomenon of luck and the ways we can bring good luck into our lives. What is luck? A psychic gift or a question of intelligence? And what is it that lucky people have that unlucky people lack? Psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman put luck under a scientific microscope for the very first tim

Hardcover, 232 pages
Published April 2nd 2003 by Miramax Books
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  1,311 ratings  ·  146 reviews

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Jan 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a scientific book explaining the influence of The Power of Positive Thinking and also what little truth is found in The Secret.

Wiseman is good, even when writing a self-help book. He shows how you can improve your luck without resorting to preposterous claims like those found in the Secret or maybe even Peale’s Power book.

Here’s a quick summary:
1. Maximize your lucky opportunities
a. Build and maintain a network of luck (people)
b. Relax about life
c. Open yourself to new experience
2. Li
Sep 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
The title of this book, and the concept of same are misleading. This book, far from being about actual luck as most people understand it, is really just another book that adopts the view that one must be outgoing, positive, optimistic, and proactive.

In most cases there is nothing wrong with those things, (although I did find fault with the idea that one's luck is in direct proportion to how extroverted one is, thereby condemning introverts to more than their fair share of bad luck.) But there is
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
Wow! A set of studies on serial lottery-winners, true-love recipients, and the like. Wiseman then contrasts core characteristics with chronically unlucky people. A special end experiment transforms unlucky people into fortune-producing individuals.

Some findings:

People lucky in their financial lives reported being lucky in their home lives. People unlucky in their careers were also unlucky in their relationships.

Unlucky people were far more superstitious than lucky people.

There were
Aug 07, 2009 rated it liked it
What Wiseman means by "luck" is really opportunity. ...more
Jan 19, 2010 added it
There are four principles of luck:

1. Maximise your chance opportunities. (Build network, have relaxed attitude to life, be open to new experiences.)

2. Listen to your lucky hunches - intuition and gut feeling. (Listen to gut feelings, take steps to boost intuition)

3. Expect good fortune. (Expect good fortune to continue in the future,persevere in the face of failure, expect interactions with others to be lucky and successful.)

I am a lucky person and today is going to be another luck
Oh, I HATE to give so few stars, but that's a spare one out of pure respect for the author, not b/c of this book. Richard Wiseman is a wonderful scientist and great writer with impeccable research, but this book doesn't show any of that. I had a hard time believing it was "the same" Richard Wiseman, and I'm still not entirely sure he has even read it, let alone actually wrote it.

Again, I fear the leap from hard science into the self-help world has not been beneficial to anyone in this case. Muc
Thomas Edmund
Feb 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Luck Factor sounds a bit like a gimmick, and seems to appear in book searches next to some concerning self-help type pieces, however Wiseman presents a unique piece summarizing decades of research into the topic of 'lucky' and 'unlucky' people to breakdown what we see as luck into observable factors.

The most stand out elements are that lucky people tend to network with others, are optimistic, treat setbacks as lessons and seek opportunities.

Luck Factor is almost the perfect non-fiction piece
Jan 10, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction
I probably read this book with the wrong expectation. I learned of its existence through an article I read in a journal. The article, in contrast to the book, was fairly interesting (which was why I decided to read the book). Huge fucking mistake. But since it was an easy read, I consider myself lucky (haha, 4th principle), that I only wasted four hours of my life.
Seriously, which writer can claim that he is writing a scientific book and at the same time offer a self-guide to being more lucky?
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
First, the disclaimer. This is, in my opinion, 3.5 stars. As usual, I'm rounding up instead of down.

Because I'd read an article about luck by Wiseman many years ago, and knew about this book, I finally decided to get it and read it. While the title is eye-catching, this is more like an "improving your odds" book rather than luck. Even so, who couldn't use a little boost in their odds?

The book discusses a plethora of anecdotal stories of people who have had "good" and "bad" luck in their lives, a
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
What can one say about a book written by a magician turned psychologist who showcases his research about lucky vs. unlucky people with the goal of improving the luck of the reader? Probably this book is not for everyone, but readers with an open mind who would like better luck might find the self-tests and exercises revealing and inspiring. And at the end of the 30-day program, who knows—their luck just might improve dramatically.

The principles are as follows:

1. Lucky people create, notice, and
Marian Deegan
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Some people simply seem to be in the right place at the right time; just as others seem to reap more than their share of misfortune. Why do some people win dozens of contests, while others never seem to be successful? Do special stars shine down upon those who seem to effortlessly win love, professional success, and personal happiness? Is luck or the lack of it a matter of pure chance? Is good fortune intelligence masquerading as fortune’s whim? Might there be some psychic intuitive edge at work ...more
Boris Grozev
Feb 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
I picked up the book based on the author's reputation, and didn't actually read the whole title until just now. I expected a popular science book. I didn't get one. The book consist almost entirely of anecdotes, generous extrapolation from them, and advice. Actual scientific studies are very briefly mentioned a couple of times.

The main concept that is discussed -- luck -- isn't objectively defined. It is based on people self-reporting as lucky (or unlucky). The following pattern is repeated thro
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
The research in this book mainly seemed like self helpy common sense to be honest
Mark Speed
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
There, I said it. This book will improve your life. Do you know any people who just seem to be 'lucky'? Turns out they have a set of techniques they've been using but not sharing with the rest of us. Or maybe they just learnt them subconsciously and don't know it? It contains some explanations of how it's done, and some practical exercises for you to learn the technique.

I did an intervention once to a guy who was suicidally depressed. A friend of a friend. After doing a bi
George Wang
Sep 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
I came across an article written years ago on a study conducted by the author involving getting subjects to count the number of photos in magazines.
When I worked on the Entrepreneurship Infrastructure Project, I was reminded of the article. After I found the article and looked up the author, I discovered this book.

The book doesn't instruct the reader on how to become luckier in the superstitious sense. Rather, it brinngs what people often consider as luck into the open and explain how you can be
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'd first heard Richard Wiseman while he was being interviewed on the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast. He was promoting this book and it sounded promising so I checked it out. While there were some interesting and useful points made in the book, I'm not a fan of the writing style. I feel this would have been much better if it weren't a self-help book. It was quite redundant, and almost felt as if he were talking down to the reader. All in all, I'd recommend this to friends, telling them ...more
I'd first heard Richard Wiseman while he was being interviewed on the Skeptic's Guide to the Universe podcast. He was promoting this book and it sounded promising so I checked it out. While there were some interesting and useful points made in the book, I'm not a fan of the writing style. I feel this would have been much better if it weren't a self-help book. It was quite redundant, and almost felt as if he were talking down to the reader. All in all, I'd recommend this to friends, telling them ...more
Jenny Andersen
Feb 22, 2012 rated it liked it
Interesting, but with the repetitive, sales-pitch tone that so many self help books have.

SPOILER: the main message is that lucky people create their own luck by being attentive, hard-working, and positive.

I'm glad I read the book, and if you think you're unlucky, I recommend it. It'll be a real eye-opener.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
Though the message may have some merit, the book is far too unscientific. Rather than using true stats to measure results of the examples used, the book relies on people perception of positive results. If you ask a positive person if they have received positive results, they will obviously say yes.
Oct 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book was written by treating luck as Destiny (attracting good things), but not been written by treating as Destiny(avoiding bad things which happens ACCIDENTALLY). He done an impressive research on how one can improve their opportunities(attracting good things).
Jul 16, 2012 rated it liked it
This book is almost too padded to be worth reading. Is there a condensed version anywhere? The ideas seem like they might have something to them, but it's hard to find the meat under the flab. ...more
Nov 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
While I'm not into pop science, I very much enjoyed this book and buy into it's thesis that we can do a lot to make our own luck. ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
There are a lot of newer books by Richard Wiseman that I could have read instead of this one. I found this one clear, and with references for those wanting to delve deeper into an assertion. The basic premise is not a new one - we get about what we expect out of life. Something I found interesting is that unlucky people put a bad spin on their misfortunes, whereas "lucky" people put a positive spin on theirs.

The book is filled with exercises; some to be done once, and some to be done over the co
J Crossley
Oct 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
People create much of their own good and bad luck through their thoughts, feelings, and actions. The author describes four luck principles.

The first is to make the most of lucky breaks. Lucky people are lucky because they are more open and more aware of opportunities in their lives than unlucky people are. Because lucky people are less anxious and are open to new opportunities, they allow more experiences and influences into their lives.

The second principle is to use your intuition. You don’t
Mara Vernon
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and it's structure around the four main things that people who are perceived as lucky do. Luck isn't actually defined in this book. The dictionary defines it as:
success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one's own actions. This book is all about doing specific actions so feels like intention: a thing intended; an aim or plan..... to create opportunity: a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. I resonate with the term "luc
Adam (BookSlayers12) Willson
I liked the book. Very basic writing, but the content was great. Examines the science behind lucky and unlucky. In short Dr Wiseman found that Luck has more to do with attitude and behavior than by chance. It was a very fun book to read and I loved the findings.

Attributes they found in Lucky People:
1. They listen to their intuition
2. They believe their dreams can be their reality and work towards them
3. Expect good things to happen to them.
4. They are open to change
5. Believe the elements and
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, i-own
Tim Clare interviewed Prof Wiseman on his podcast.
It all sounded super interesting. My local library had one or two of his books but it was the luck one that intrigued me. I used to be super lucky – I know people say that but I was – I won competitions all the time. At one function, I was doing the ticket drawing and I pulled out a prize ticket for each of the other nine women sitting on my table. Now you can assume that as I was the president of that char
Steve Cann
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another excellent and absorbing book by Richard, this time delving into the age-old notion that some people are luckier than others.
But, if ‘luck’ isn’t actually a tangible thing, what is that people who consider themselves to be lucky do differently to those who feel the opposite?

By interviewing and analyzing the behaviors of self-proclaimed lucky and unlucky people, Richard manages to uncover his Four Principles of Luck, and invites us as readers to incorporate these into our lives.

It’s a fun
Oct 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I know there's some junk pop psychology science out there, and I'm not qualified to comment on the validity of his studies in the book. This ideas will look like common sense to most people, but I appreciated that he took a scientific approach to investigate how "lucky" and "unlucky" people behave and view the world. In short, attitude is everything.

I already understand how deeply attitude, and having untreated anxiety and depression, can color how you view the world and therefore how you behav
Jul 24, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mya, science
I have mixed feelings about this book, which I listened to in a audiobook version. I gradually increased the speed until I was listening at double speed just to get through it. I've never done that before. Yet I didn't give up on it, so it did have some merit!

The basic premise is a 'positive mental attitude' message. If you think you will be lucky then you will be lucky. You should also be extroverted, because that increases your chances of meeting people who may benefit you in some way. That's
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.
Professor Richard Wiseman started his working life as a professional magician, and was one of the youngest members of The Magic Circle. He then obtained a degree in psychology from University College London and a doctorate from the University of Edinburgh.

Richard currently holds Britain’s only Professorship in

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