Can You Learn to Be Lucky?

Luck is code for the invisible forces that guide our lives, like privilege, faith, and optimism. I wanted to read a book that looked at these factors from an objective lens and couldn’t find it—so I wrote it.

Can You Learn to be Lucky?

Luck is what we call success when we can’t see all of the factors that go into it; it looks sudden and random. Unpredictable, uncontrollable things influence us in predictable, self-defeating ways that often escape our awareness. Can You Learn to Be Lucky? is a guide on how to improve your life despite the world’s randomness.

“Can You Learn to be Lucky? is a rollicking journey through the land of luck-an entertaining and insightful tour of stories and science that explores the origins of luck, why some people are luckier than others, and how we can all raise our chances of becoming luckier by design. A wonderful book that manages to be fun, smart, and important all at once.”

Adam Alter, author of Drunk Tank Pink and Irresistible

“It’s a time-honored truth that we make ourselves miserable trying to change things beyond our control. But as Karla Starr shows, many of the things we don’t bother trying to control—because we assume they’re a matter of luck—are actually subject to our influence. Luckily for you, this insightful and frequently hilarious book is the perfect guide to understanding how.”

Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals and The Antidote
Just buy it already

“A clever, captivating read on how seemingly random events sometimes have predictable patterns behind them. If you believe chance favors the prepared mind, this is the book to prepare your mind.”

Adam Grant, author of Think AgainGive and Take, Originals, and Option B with Sheryl Sandberg

It’s on sale, I think!

“Karla’s charming wisdom offers lessons for improving nearly every aspect of life. If you can’t find a leprechaun, buy this book!”

Chris Guillebeau, author of Side Hustle and The $100 Startup

“Luck seems elusive, a force well out of our control. But in this fun and persuasive book, Karla Starr explains how the choices we make shape our fate- and offers smart, science-based advice for making luck break our way.”

Daniel H. Pink, author of The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward and Drive

“Getting lucky is not about luck. It’s about being prepared and having the right attitude. Based on years of research and decades of hard-won experience, Karla Starr reveals how to navigate social judgment, find your own hidden talents, and “kick ass” at life-all with wisdom and humor.”

Matthew Hutson, contributing writer at The New Yorker; author of The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking
Please buy it already


I’ve always been interested in… well, everything. My intellectual superheroes are independent researchers who can connect the dots between disciplines—not academics who spend decades honing the politics of the publication process. Academia, by definition, means being surrounded by other academics for years, weakening the flexibility of thought that’s required for wisdom.

I wanted to research a book that combined two of my obsessions:

  • Success manuals giving simplistic advice like “be optimistic.”
  • More thoughtful books like The Black Swan, which looked at success from a bigger perspective and acknowledged the randomness of it all

So is success the product of these internal traits? Or are our fates just at the whim of the cosmos? What links these two things?

After all of these years, speaking about luck is still one of my favorite things to do!