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Book Review: Get Lucky by Thor Muller and Lane Becker

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Get Lucky: How to Put Planned Serenditipty to Work for You and Your Business is based on the latest research in the behavioral sciences of the world’s most successful and brightest entrepreneurs — the business people who are the risk takers. By now you’re probably learning that writing and selling your writing is running a business, and it’s one of the riskiest undertakings of a lifetime. One part of the process of becoming a successful, published writer and profiting from your labors is, as I often call it, blind dumb luck. Other successful writers have called it having the right book, at the right time, in the right place. However, authors Thor Muller and Lane Becker are here to show us that we can plan that luck called “serendipity”. That is the kind of luck that we draw to ourselves.

You know when luck manifests in a writing career: coming up with a great idea to write about, selling it to editors and agents, falling into marketing opportunities and sparking that essential viral essence: word of mouth advertising that makes your book a best seller or yourself a hot property in demand for providing super content for publications.

The bulk of the book provides insight into eight skills that comprise the makeup of serendipity or luck that you can exploit for your success. These are detailed in separate chapters on:

  1. Motion — Breaking Out
  2. Preparation — Anatomy of a Geek Brain
  3. Divergence — The Garden of Forking Paths
  4. Commitment — Burning the Ships
  5. Activation — Church vs. Stadium
  6. Connection — Needle in a Haystack
  7. Permeability — Storming the Castle
  8. Attraction — Magnetic Fields

Becker and Muller explain the inner mechanisms of luck and serendipity (slightly different processes at work in our lives). They provide numerous examples from history that you’ll recognize (Eureka!) and cite contemporary incidents to illustrate what they mean.

The final chapter is titled “Unraveling the Double Bind” which I found intriguing, having lived more than half my life coping with this insidious psychological bondage. A double bind is easily typified by the cliche “damned if you do, damned if you don’t!” For writers, this might be reluctance to take a chance on an idea, an agent, a publisher or a marketing tactic for fear of failing. Take heart, you can always learn from a failure and try again. Another one might be playing it so safe that you don’t garner enough publicity for people to notice you. Safe and sorry.

Planned serendipity then, according to the authors, is creativity interacting with chance. This is the escape from the double bind of commitment to a fixed path or metric and being open to the unexpected events that make up reality.

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About Georganna Hancock

Retired San Diego publisher, journalist, freelance editor and writer, blogged almost daily for eight years at A WRITERS EDGE. She helped writers on the path to writing success with critiques, edits and publishing advice. Find her author page on Amazon and her tweets on Twitter, where she's aka @GLHancock. Georganna's first writing appeared in print in the 1960s. She worked as a journalist for many years. She reviewed books for the FORT PIERCE NEWS TRIBUNE and THE LOUISVILLE COURIER-JOURNAL and wrote for THE MIAMI HERALD, regional publications, and many national magazines. She was a member of the National Book Critics Circle, the San Diego Professional Editors Network and the San Diego Writers/Editors Guild, for which she served as Web Manager. Books reviewed may have been received as gifts. All her writings are protected by U.S. copyright law.