• Want a great book to read this summer? Learn to be lucky!

    05/18 2018

    I’m so happy that Inc.’s contributing editor Jeff Haden has included Can You Learn to Be Lucky? Why Some People Seem to Win More Often Than Others in his roundup of “5 Great New Business Books to Read This Summer.”

    I’ve talked to a lot of incredibly successful people. They all credit luck for at least part of their success. Yet when they do, I often think, “Wait… that wasn’t luck. You put yourself in that position.” Or, “You worked hard to build those connections.” Or, “You got that break because you refused to quit.”

    You get the point. Total luck sometimes happens, but more often people get “lucky” because of things they did.

    Using a blend of research and cool stories, Karla shows we can all learn to be a little luckier.

    And that’s a skill we all can use.

    Consider the nail squarely hit on the head: we can’t control every external variable in life—if our résumé was picked, if the other person thought the date went well, where we went to grammar school, or if we were given a subpar piece of equipment on game day. Actually, we can’t control anything beyond ourselves.

    That’s why it’s how we habitually respond to the world and what we do while there that winds up determining our overall trajectory and who ends up breaking through.

    Thank you, Jeff!!

  • Why Transforming Your Life Transforms Your Body

    05/06 2018

    What have I been up to these past few years? Just a few changes!

    In the process of researching what comprises lucky, successful lives, I’ve made several changes in my own life to see what would be most helpful to readers and include in the book. Researching this book has improved every aspect of my life. I’ve learned why some things seem harder to improve or learn than others, how our pasts and surroundings influence us, and how easy it is to fall into self-defeating habits.

    I’ve also learned the importance of prioritizing your health: every lifestyle upgrade you make in the service of your physical well-being also improves how well that little meaty control center in your skull functions. After all, your brain is a part of your body! There really is no difference between mental and physical health: it’s all just health. Exercising, getting enough sleep, and paying attention to what I eat help me think more clearly, pay attention, deal with stress, and motivate myself.

    I’m currently redoing this website to offer coaching services inspired by the book. If you have any inquiries or would like to be a beta client, head to the contact page or email me at hello [at] kstarr [dot] com.

  • Pre-order Can You Learn to Be Lucky on Amazon

    01/04 2018

    I’m happy to announce that CAN YOU LEARN TO BE LUCKY? WHY SOME PEOPLE SEEM TO WIN MORE OFTEN THAN OTHERS is now available for pre-order!

    I’m still in the final stages of finishing the manuscript. You would think that because I started working on this nearly eight years ago that I’d be at a point of “I never want to hear the word luck again,” but in truth I couldn’t be happier to finally get this out into the world. 2018 is going to be a great year!

  • CBS Sunday Morning: What’s luck got to do with it?

    09/27 2016

    I was really happy to be an on-air expert recently on CBS Sunday Morning! My blabbering ways begin about a minute in. Also, if anyone wants to pay for me to get braces, have at it.

  • Everybody’s Invited!

    03/27 2014

    One of my very favorite people, the event planner extraordinaire Hannah Kane, who runs Everybody’s Invited, was kind enough to interview me about increasing luck, and posted it here. My new goal for 2014 is to mention Benedict Cumberbatch and kale in every interview.

  • How to Read More

    07/02 2013

    How can you read more? This is something I deal with all the time. I haven’t been reading tons of books lately–I’ve been reading articles from academic journals, chapters from academic books, and articles. But still, when reading is important to you, whether it’s important to you because it’s part of your job, or you’re just aware of how enriching and fulfilling the process of reading is, you always feel like you could be reading more than you currently read. That hour at night before you go to bed just doesn’t cut it.

    I am absolutely in love with this post by Ryan Holiday, How To Read More. Of Time, Money, and Purpose, I think the main barrier most people face is time. Here’s what he has to say:

    The key to reading lots of book begins with stop thinking of it as some activity that you do. Reading must become as natural as eating and breathing to you. It’s not something you do because you feel like it, but because it’s a reflex, a default.

    Carry a book with you at all times. Every time you get a second, crack it open. Don’t install games on your phone–that’s time you could be reading. When you’re eating, read. When you’re on the train, in the waiting room, at the office–read. It’s work, really important work. Don’t let anyone ever let you feel like it’s not.

    Do you know how much time you waste during the day? Conference calls, meetings, TV shows that you don’t really like but watch anyway. Well, if you can make time for that you can make time for reading. (Or better, just swap those activities for books)

    I think that the more you read, the more important it becomes to you. The sense of purpose that reading provides builds upon itself. In this way, it’s like exercise, eating well, engaging in non-work-related hobbies, or making time for the people in your life. It may not seem incredibly important to you at first, but as you become more sane and self-disciplined, it’s really hard to go back.

    When I was reviewing books full-time seven years ago, I read two books a week. This was my strategy to the T–I brought books with me everywhere and read all the time instead of playing with my phone. It makes me cringe whenever someone says “but you’re only going to have time to read a page right now, why bother?” True, you do end up breaking your reading into multiple little chunks, but it’s really surprising how far you go towards your goals when you add up all of those smaller segments of time.

  • Lordy lordy, look who’s becoming an author

    03/08 2013

    I have a book deal!! Yes, I’ve already posted it elsewhere, but you’re allowed to repeat yourself when it’s a dream you’ve worked really hard to achieve.

    My editor at Portfolio/Penguin is Maria Gagliano, who was also the editor of fellow Portlander/personal hero Chris Guillebeau’s first book The Art of Non-Conformity. Because Portfolio is a business imprint and my book is a work of popular psychology, I’ve been analyzing books by Dan Pink and the Heath brothers just to see how they perfect that mix of readability and prescription. Because of all of my analyzing, I’m confident that I have the ability to write a perfectly good knock-off.

  • The Science of Luck: now on Psychology Today

    01/12 2013

    I’m so proud that Psychology Today magazine has asked me to join their roster of bloggers! Starting today, The Science of Luck will be on the Psychology Today blog network. I’ll repost some of those entries here, and will use this space to discuss other topics.

  • How to read more in 2013: Less Flow, More Stock

    01/03 2013

    I was half-expecting Jeff Ryan’s recent article in Slate on how he read a book a day in 2012 to be somewhat self-congratulatory. Fortunately, it wasn’t. It actually made me feel like even I might be capable of pulling off such a feat. Here’s the money quote:

  • Why do child prodigies fail to live up to expectations?

    01/02 2013

    Last week at a dinner party, everyone realized they had one thing in common: when we were young, people had predicted great things for us. And then… we’d petered out, only to become normal, disappointing adults. Why?

    We can pick up a few clues from How Children Succeed by Paul Tough:

    • Being praised for effort rather than intelligence leads to long-term success. As Carol Dweck shows in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, being complimented for your effort is much better than being complimented on your intelligence. When children are complimented for their intelligence, they learn that failure = stupidity. They learn to not venture outside of their comfort zone, and not to push themselves, because they believe that intelligence is not only a fixed attribute, but a crucial part of their identity. On the other hand, being complimented on your effort teaches you a mutable mindset. Failing doesn’t mean that you’re stupid, it just means that you have to try harder.If you’re a child prodigy, you’re probably hearing about how smart you are, not about how hard you’ve tried. While it may be true that prodigies don’t have to try as hard as other children, this reinforces the dangerous idea that failure means that you’re dumb. It’s not. It just means that you failed. What counts is whether or not you get back up, learn from your mistakes, and try again.


    • There’s a mismatch between the role that social intelligence plays in the lives of children and adults. Are you easy to work with? Let’s look at the way that children and adults are commended for their achievements. Children’s accomplishments are judged by teachers, coaches, parents, and other older authority figures looking at the merit of your grades/science project/clarinet solo/prize heifer. In the adult world, your peers do the choosing. Your boss is more likely to give a raise to someone he/she likes  rather than someone he finds competent but doesn’t get along with. Politicians are elected based on likability. These aren’t anonymous authority figures, but people who take into consideration the way that you interact with your peers.

    Child prodigies live in a curious bubble: their intelligence, not their effort is lauded, and they don’t have to get along with their peers to get these accolades. Since effort, grit, character and social intelligence are some of the most important keys to success, it’s no wonder why so many promising 99th percentile children don’t live up to the expectations and pressure. What we should question is why we don’t emphasize those real factors for success in the first place.

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