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Luck is the residue of design?

August 31, 2006

Branch Rickey, esteemed baseball visionary, gave me my favorite quote – “Luck is the residue of design”. I have used it quite a bit and it is a foundation of how I look at my work both on the job and at home. I though I knew what the design part meant. You have to be ready to turn an opportunity into action then into results, in other words – plan.

Tom Peters has given me another way of looking at luck. You can “pursue” luck. This builds on planning to take advantage of your luck. Mr. Peters shows you can seek out luck and have more opportunities to innovate.

“The Pursuit of Luck” (PDF)

6 Comments leave one →
  1. SPrice permalink
    January 8, 2007 2:11 pm

    I don’t think it detracts from Rickey to point out that, in fact, that quote is originally from the pen of the English poet John Milton.

    Rickey always knew a good thing 🙂

  2. Ferd permalink
    May 17, 2011 12:20 am

    Meaning that I will rely on “luck” if my plans fail? Thinking AND praying about that dismal outcome.

  3. Ferd permalink
    May 17, 2011 12:22 am


  4. Ferd permalink
    May 17, 2011 12:30 am

    As a Christian, I feel that such a flimsy will-o’-the-wisp as “luck” must take a back seat to my faith in a merciful Providence…God.

  5. September 4, 2011 10:27 am

    what the quote implies is that through careful design, such as the almighty architect did for us, luck is created as a byproduct of hard work, of an intimate relationship with the process of making. The idea can be used to explain and refer to the macro and micro, which makes it relatable at many levels.

  6. Smuggler1991 permalink
    January 18, 2012 6:42 pm

    What this quote to means to me is that you can minimize the effects of luck through careful design. People get lucky or unlucky all the time but through design you can reduce the effect of luck and direct your own path through random events.

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