How to win at business without luck (Biz & Books review) |

How to win at business without luck (Biz & Books review)

Terri Schlichenmeyer
Special to the NNBV

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The book: “Can You Learn to Be Lucky?”

The author: Karla Starr

The details: c. 2018, Penguin Portfolio, 288 pages, $27 U.S.

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Your lucky penny is in your bag. Or you’re wearing your lucky shirt or socks or tie, and you performed your Lucky Dance before you left the house. What else could you do?

You need certain things to happen, so you pulled out all the stops, but if you read “Can You Learn to Be Lucky?” by Karla Starr, you could win without them.

Every day, your life has ups and downs. You made the last second of the green light, and wasn’t that lucky? Then you got stuck in traffic; bad luck always happens to you. Then you were lucky enough to get a parking spot close to the door. Could you control any of those happenings?

Maybe but, says Karla Starr, mostly they, “just happened … they’re called freak accidents for a reason.” Even so, accidents notwithstanding, you can nudge life in a direction that’ll make you feel like the luckiest duck in the pond.

Studies show that when contests are being judged, the winners are more likely to have been at the tail-end of the entries. Don’t, therefore, volunteer to go first; take your time and embrace being last.

By that time, you’ll have achieved Starr’s second important point: become familiar. Even introverts can do this by just being somewhere day after day, which can make others more comfortable. You don’t have to do anything; “just be there.”

Don’t use hunches (intuition is fallible) but understand that others may be judging you. To offset incorrect first impressions, “flaunt cues that you’re trustworthy, reputable and safe…” And if you’re not blessed with good looks, don’t obsess; you can still do things with wardrobe and attitude.

Know yourself and your surroundings, and be confident. If you’ve already blown your chance, “Go elsewhere”; there’s always another opportunity.

“Find your thing” by paying attention to the activities you do when you don’t have anything else to do. Gather and use every ounce of self-discipline you have. Nurture your curiosity. And finally, understand that sometimes, luck really is the only explanation.

In those cases, “… life is simply not fair.”

You chant, “Stay green, stay green, stay green” but you still hit the yellow light. Your favorite shirt is a spill-magnet. If the cat’s going to hairball, she’ll do it just before you walk out the door. You have the most rotten luck but you can change that — and with “Can You Learn to Be Lucky?” you’ll laugh while you’re doing it.

Indeed, luck is a funny thing and author Karla Starr uses humor-infused curiosity to best illustrate the many ways you can tip the scales and get what you want. That’ll take some people-watching skills as well as introspection, but Starr makes it fun.

Call it manipulation, call it nudging or guiding, call it common-sense, but there are things in this book that can enhance your day-to-day and give you the edge. So rub that lucky penny before you give it up for “Can You Learn to Be Lucky?”

With this book, good fortune is in the bag.

Terri Schlichenmeyer is the reviewer behind “The Bookworm Sez,” a self-syndicated book review column published in more than 260 newspapers and magazines in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. She can be reached for feedback, ideas and links to reviews of books on a broad range topics at