Princeton Baccalaureate 2012: Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis, a member of Princeton’s Class of 1982 and author of such books as “Liar’s Poker” and “Moneyball,” speaks at the 2012 Baccalaureate in a speech called “Don’t Eat Fortune’s Cookie.” Read more here:

39 thoughts on “Princeton Baccalaureate 2012: Michael Lewis

  1. plsstopwhining

    Not according to Michael Lewis…the wealthy NEVER acknowledge the role luck has played because the EGO takes over the moment the $ starts pouring in…can't see clearly through those green goggles…nope.

  2. IADaveMark

    The one thing missing here about the luck issue is that "opportunities" appear around us all the time. The main difference is in whether or not people recognize those opportunities and then do something with them. There's a saying along the lines of "luck is where opportunity meets preparedness." I would add, "… and is acted upon."

    If you think you should sit on your ass waiting for the end of the rainbow to whack you in the head with a pot of gold, you WILL fail. 

  3. JP23456

    This is not at all what successful people want to hear. Only a successful person can get away with saying something like this. I appreciate the discomfort he is creating among successful people.

  4. brennanhm

    Good video. I agree that luck is a huge factor in determining someone's success, but it is not the only factor. There are those who choose to work hard, try their best, and act on opportunities (like the presenter here). On the other hand, there are those who choose to do the opposite. Obviously the first group is going to find more luck than the second group. I do believe that those who try their best and fail deserve support from the people who achieve success through luck

  5. Nicene325ad

    Judging by your comment, I cannot help but feel as though you are offering an either/or fallacy argument. While there are individuals who choose not to work and expect to find fortune, there are, likewise, many individuals who work hard throughout their entire lives, only for misfortune to befall them at every turn. There is no doubt an increased chance of success for those who put in the work, nonetheless, one should not confuse "hard work pay-offs" with assurances of success.

  6. Jakub Mosur

    If you're going to quote from that book of myths, I will as well:

    "When men strive together one with another, and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her." (Deuteronomy 25:11-12)

  7. Matthew McMahon

    Finally a privileged person admits that luck plays a factor. So many rich idiots think it was all them when, in fact, 99.9% their success came from somewhere other than their work/merit. When rich people say they make their own luck tell them to jump out of an airplane without a parachute and see if their egotistical luck will save their sorry ass.

  8. William Blair

    Michael Lewis' perspective is refreshing and much needed at Princeton. I have been at services in that chapel for almost 50 years now, and it does my heart good to see it continue to be vibrant!

  9. 黃丙喜

    Money has four angles, there are money and market, money and moral, money and minute, and money and honey, each angle should be balanced in harmony; otherwise, you life will be artificial poverty, even you have a lot money. .  

  10. Steve Lively

    This is in a series of texts from the textbook I use with my English 12 students.  It's a wonderful (and relatively brief) addition to the theme of "Chasing Success."  While I've not read any of Mr. Lewis's books, I now must add them to my to-read list!

  11. 蓝川

    Hey, I want to say that don't thank the ones who lose the chance because of you, thank those developing countries.Your company, your country earn too much money from them. Your choice is right, or you are one of the devils.

  12. Ed Saylor

    The best argument for this rebuttal comes from Aristotle who came up with the following pure logic:

    Statement 1: X will occur

    Statement 2: X will not occur

    One of these statements must be true and the other one must be false. For the sake of argument, let us say that 1 is true and 2 is false. That means that the statement “X will occur” is true. More precisely, statement 1 was ALWAYS true, even before X actually occurred.

    A curious thing happens then. If statement 1 was always true, then X was always going to occur. But if X was always going to occur then it is impossible for X not to have occurred. This means that X could not have not occurred. That which cannot not occur must necessarily occur. And so we see that X occurred out of necessity and not because of chance, luck, or human decision.

    Now let's put this in context of Michael Lewis' speech. Using the above logic, Michael Lewis would sit next to the wife of a big shot at Salomon Brothers which was true even before it took place. And if that statement was true before the event took place, then Michael Lewis was always going to sit next to the wife of the big shot at Salomon Brothers. And that which cannot not happen happens out of necessity. And so it would seem that it was predetermined that Michael Lewis would always sit next to her.

    This takes luck completely out of the picture and leaves only fate.


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