Entrepreneurship, Luck, and Success

in Alumni
February 1st, 2012

New Book Shows Luck Isn’t Found, It’s Made.

BookBoston University School of Management alumna (MBA ’91) and lecturer Beth Goldstein has published a new book exploring the role of luck and beliefs about its importance among entrepreneurs: Lucky By Design.

Many people argue that success in an uncertain world is due in large part to luck: being in the right place at the right time.  But Goldstein, herself an entrepreneur, small-business marketing consultant, and senior associate at Boston University’s Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship Commercialization, wanted to give students and clients a more strategic way to look at the notion of good fortune.

Drawing on her work with thousands of entrepreneurs over more than 25 years, Goldstein provides anecdotes and evidence showing that it’s not enough simply to work hard. You have to work smart, performing key growth activities such as market research and sales expansion.

This, in turn, seems to be what most impacts both entrepreneurs’ success and their beliefs about luck. “The most successful entrepreneurs,” Goldstein argues, “have mastered the ability to prepare for, recognize, and take advantage of lucky opportunities.”

Putting Her Theories Into Practice

Noting that Goldstein was willing to put her money where her mouth is, the Boston Herald recently featured her new book, as well as her entrepreneurial approach to creating and marketing it. After having published her first book with industry giant McGraw Hill, “Goldstein had the credibility to get another contract,” Herald journalist Jennifer Heldt Powell writes. But instead, she chose to create her own strategy, doing her own market research, outreach, sales planning, and—especially relevant for any successful entrepreneur—careful resource juggling.

“The most successful entrepreneurs have mastered the ability to prepare for, recognize, and take advantage of lucky opportunities.”

“Goldstein launched into the project as she would any start-up business,” the Herald reports. “She developed a plan with a time line and specific goals. Then, she delved into figuring out exactly what she needed to know….Goldstein wanted this book to be as professional as her first one. That meant hiring an editor, a proofreader, and a designer. She served as the project manager and writer, all while continuing to teach and manage her consulting practice.”

The payoff is already evident, especially in terms of the publishing and marketing experience. “’It’s exciting because I can control everything,’” Goldstein explains. “’Maybe there will be mistakes, but I feel much better about this product.’”

See more about this topic in Goldstein’s post on Entrepreneur.com, “Can You Design Your Own Luck?”