Five Good Questions: Michael Mauboussin – The Success Equation

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Michael J. Mauboussin is an investment strategist and has been in the financial services industry for more than twenty-five years. He has also taught at the Columbia Graduate School of Business since 1993, and is on the board of trustees at the Santa Fe Institute.

He is the author of two previous books, Think Twice: Harnessing the Power of Counterintuition and More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places and is coauthor, with Alfred Rappaport, of Expectations Investing: Reading Stock Prices for Better Returns.

Michael Mauboussin – The Success Equation

The Success Equation – Description

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin

The trick, of course, is figuring out just how many of our successes (and failures) can be attributed to each—and how we can learn to tell the difference ahead of time.

In most domains of life, skill and luck seem hopelessly entangled. Different levels of skill and varying degrees of good and bad luck are the realities that shape our lives—yet few of us are adept at accurately distinguishing between the two. Imagine what we could accomplish if we were able to tease out these two threads, examine them, and use the resulting knowledge to make better decisions.

In this provocative book, Michael Mauboussin helps to untangle these intricate strands to offer the structure needed to analyze the relative importance of skill and luck. He offers concrete suggestions for making these insights work to your advantage. Once we understand the extent to which skill and luck contribute to our achievements, we can learn to deal with them in making decisions.

The Success Equation helps us move toward this goal by:

  • Establishing a foundation so we better understand skill and luck, and can pinpoint where each is most relevant
  • Helping us develop the analytical tools necessary to understand skill and luck
  • Offering concrete suggestions about how to take these findings and put them to work

Showcasing Mauboussin’s trademark wit, insight, and analytical genius, The Success Equation is a must-read for anyone seeking to make better decisions—in business and in life.

The Success Equation – Review

“I just finished reading the most enjoyable business book I’ve read in a long time – although relegating The Success Equation, by Legg Mason Chief Investment Strategist Michael J. Mauboussin to this category would be a grave disservice, significantly understating its sophistication and selling short its achievement.” — David A. Shaywitz on

“Really enjoyed reading The Success Equation by @mjmauboussin over the last few days. A smart, insightful book.” — As tweeted by Daniel Pink

“… a fascinating book that forced me to reflect on my decision-making processes for investments.” — Tomasz Tunguz, Inc. magazine

“Mauboussin’s latest, excellent, book attempts to show how to work out what decides the outcome of a given situation. — James von Simson, portfolio manager at Thurleigh Investment Managers

“Mauboussin has always been a must-read. His 2013 book is no exception.” — Tadas Viskanta, founder and editor of Abnormal Returns

The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing makes a valuable contribution to the literature on decision making…thoroughly researched and well written…I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in making better investment choices.” — Financial Analysts Journal

“With this book, Mauboussin takes an important step in making a case for the role of statistical analysis in decision-making in various contexts, ranging from CEO compensation to child rearing to college rankings and even picking the next musical superstars. It is almost as if the number crunchers heralded in Michael Lewis’ Moneyball have found their second voice.” — Business World magazine

“Mauboussin excels at explaining his ideas, many of which are based on complex neuroscience in accessible terms, using case studies and examples from investing decisions, college rankings, and hospital procedures.” — Publishers Weekly

“… for investors and business executives wishing to minimise the risk of bad luck, this is a book worth reading.” — Financial Times

“there is a lot of thought-provoking stuff in the book, for sports fans as well as investors.” — The Economist

“For investors who don’t mind wading into some technical weeds, though, Mauboussin suggests some concrete tools.” — U.S. News & World Report


The Success Equation: Untangling Skill and Luck in Business, Sports, and Investing by Michael J. Mauboussin

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