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The Psychology of Money

Timeless lessons on wealth, greed and happiness

By Morgan Housel


Lesson #2 - Luck & Risk

Nothing is as good or as bad as it seems.

A story about Bill Gates.

“One in a million high-school-age students attended the high school that had the combination of cash and foresight to buy a computer. Bill Gates happened to be one of them.”

“If there had been no Lakeside (Bill Gates’ High School), there would have been no Microsoft” - Bill Gates

Bill Gates’ friend Kent Evans died before he graduated high school in a mountaineering accident.

“Bill Gates expereienced one in a million luck by ending up at Lakeside. Kent Evans experienced one in a million risk by never getting to finish what he and Gates set out to achieve. The same force, the same magnitude, working in opposite directions.”

“Economist Bhashkar Mazumder has shown that incomes among brothers are more correlated than height or weight. If you are rich and tall, your brother is more likely to also be rich than he is tall.”

“Be careful when assuming that 100% of outcomes can be attributed to effort and decisions.”

“Therefore, focus less on specific individuals and case studies and more on broad patterns”

“As much as we recognize the role of luck in success, the role of ris means we should forgive ourselves and leave room for understanding when judging failures.”