Why Luck Plays a Big Role in Making You Rich

Twenty dollar bill lost on sidewalk

Robert Frank was playing tennis one cold Saturday morning in Ithaca, N.Y., when his heart stopped. Sudden cardiac arrest—a short-circuit in the heart’s electrical signaling—kills 98 percent of its victims and leaves most of the rest permanently impaired.

Yet two weeks later, Frank was back on the tennis court.

How did this happen? There was a car accident a few hundred yards away from where Frank collapsed. Two ambulances responded but the injuries were minor and only one was needed. The other ambulance, usually stationed five miles away, reached Frank in minutes.

“I’m alive today because of pure dumb luck,” says Frank, a 71-year-old economics professor at Cornell University. Or you can call it a miracle. Either way, Frank can’t take credit for surviving that day. From coincidence or the divine, he got help. Nine years later, he is still grappling with the concept of luck. And, applied to his field of economics, it’s led him into some dangerous territory: wealth. Read more at Bloomberg.