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To what extent do we control our own destiny? Can those who have risen to the top really say it was all down to them? Is lucky success somehow less deserving?

About the Author

Ed Smith is an author and journalist, and a former international cricketer who has represented England, Cambridge University, Kent and Middlesex. Ed Smith's previous books include Playing Hard Ball, On and Off the Field - the Wisden Book of the Year and shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and The Cricket Society Book of the Year Award - and the critically acclaimed, What Sport Tells Us About Life. After retiring from cricket Ed Smith became a leader writer for The Times. He is now a features writer for The Times, has a column in GQ and writes regularly for the Spectator. In 2010 he wrote and presented a TV documentary for BBC1 and now appears regularly on the Today Programme. Ed Smith lives in London.


Only those with scars on their body should be taken seriously when they talk about randomness. Ed is one of them; he is for real * Nassim Nicholas Taleb, author The Black Swan, on Luck *
Very, very well written, excellent story-telling, great ideas. Brilliant * William Leith *
There's hardly a sentence here that isn't clear, thought-provoking and beautifully expressed. Sport bores me rigid. Inspirational books repel me. But Smith on sport, life and luck brings fresh ways of looking at things on every page and, despite myself, I read on * Matthew Parris *
Smith takes a taboo subject and knocks the cover off it. You start off reassessing sport and end up reassessing your own life * Simon Barnes *
I love this book. It combines experience and erudition to show that luck shapes life in sport, politics, business, and love. In a way rare since ancient Athens, Ed Smith embodies a classical ideal: excellence in sport and thought * Felipe Fernandez-Armesto *
Smith is a beguiling and skilful writer: good-humoured, anecdotal, discursive and often fascinating. You'll probably read his book in an evening but think about it for weeks, even years, afterwards * New Statesman *
Book of the week ... Elegant and absorbing ... Smith is excellent at exploring nuances ... The writing on sport is superb ... Smith moves beyond sport with great effect * The Times *
He certainly sets out a compelling case ... Smith is a powerful advocate for genetic, innate skills and argues that we massively underestimate the impact of chance events * Observer *
Funny and honest ... like one of Smith's well-crafted innings in his playing career, it leaves you wanting more * Sunday Times *
Blends personal experience, sporting insight and a broad knowledge of history with the journalist's talent for storytelling to fashion an original and thought-provoking book ... not only refreshing but uplifting * Spectator *
Thoughtful and thought-provoking * Independent on Sunday *
Smith's elegant arguments will make you think [about luck] even if you're one of those who don't believe in it... * GQ Magazine *
**** An entertaining and intriguing new take on the old idea of counting your blessings * Daily Express *
Smith's entertaining exploration of creativity and inspiration would be every bit as useful to a poet or a songwriter as to an opening batsman * Nick Hornby on What Sport Tells Us About Life *
Recommended to anyone interested in sport, history or simply human nature * Mark Lawson, Front Row *
An exceptional book: lucid, thought-provoking, informative and fair. Outstanding * The Times *
A terrific book * Mike Atherton *
Combine that with his subtle grasp of history and of sport, and Smith is perfectly placed to write about luck's role in sport and beyond * Financial Times, Books of the Year *
Counters the reassuring myth that outcomes - in sport, in science, in finance, in politics - are determined by talent plus effort * Times Literary Supplement, Books of the Year *

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