What We Are Reading Today: Success and Luck by Robert H. Frank

Updated 04 December 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Success and Luck by Robert H. Frank

  • Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success

How important is luck in economic success? No question more reliably divides conservatives from liberals. As conservatives correctly observe, people who amass great fortunes are almost always talented and hardworking. But liberals are also correct to note that countless others have those same qualities yet never earn much.

In recent years, social scientists have discovered that chance plays a much larger role in important life outcomes than most people imagine. 

In Success and Luck, bestselling author and New York Times economics columnist Robert Frank explores the surprising implications of those findings to show why the rich underestimate the importance of luck in success— and why that hurts everyone, even the wealthy.

Frank describes how, in a world increasingly dominated by winner-take-all markets, chance opportunities and trivial initial advantages often translate into much larger ones— and enormous income differences— over time; how false beliefs about luck persist, despite compelling evidence against them; and how myths about personal success and luck shape individual and political choices in harmful ways.


What We Are Reading Today: The Age of Hiroshima

Updated 19 January 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Age of Hiroshima

Authors: Michael D. Gordin and G. John Ikenberry

On Aug. 6, 1945, in the waning days of World War II, the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The city’s destruction stands as a powerful symbol of nuclear annihilation, but it has also shaped how we think about war and peace, the past and the present, and science and ethics. 

The Age of Hiroshima traces these complex legacies, exploring how the meanings of Hiroshima have reverberated across the decades and around the world, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Michael D. Gordin and G. John Ikenberry bring together leading scholars from disciplines ranging from international relations and political theory to cultural history and science and technology studies, who together provide new perspectives on Hiroshima as both a historical event and a cultural phenomenon. 

As an event, Hiroshima emerges in the flow of decisions and hard choices surrounding the bombing and its aftermath. As a phenomenon, it marked a revolution in science, politics, and the human imagination — the end of one age and the dawn of another.