Do you make your own destiny? A fascinating new book explores…
Ed Smith played cricket for England, Kent and Middlesex. After his retirement from the game, he became a first-rate journalist, writing not merely about sport. He also became an author. In What Sport Tells Us About Life, a book that was brilliant in patches, he spread himself a both thin. His new book, Luck: What It Means and Why It Matters, is more focused, and is all the better for it.
It is a big subject, though, especially in a world that appears to value merit above all else; especially in a world in which we are taught to believe that we make our own destinies; especially for a former sportsman who is schooled to accept that his own talent and hard work makes or breaks his career.
As Simon Barnes, one of England’s finest sportswriters puts it: “Smith takes a taboo subject and knocks the cover off it. You start off reassessing sport and end up reassessing your own life.”
Erudite yet chatty, Smith draws on a wide range of examples – from the life of Winston Churchill to Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA – to make his point. But the book comes most alive, and is most entertaining, when Smith uses sport – his own experiences as well as those of his compatriots – to elucidate the importance that luck has in our lives.
Smith can put you in mind of Malcolm Gladwell. His research is thorough, his conclusions interesting, and his manner engaging. Here is a teaser about the book from his publishers