Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Lucky/Good: What does this have to do with Decision Science? Why the hell can't they teach you "eeny, meeny, miny, moe" like they did before B-schools decided they wanted academic respect? I refer you, sir, to O'Rourke's three rules of the social sciences:
1. People do shit.

2. Nobody knows why.

3. Test on Friday.

As for the phrase "I'd rather be lucky than good." it sounds to me like one of those bullshit midwesternisms coined by the kind of sidewalk superintendent or drugstore Will Rogers that every town brims with. "I would rather," this wisdom might be translated, "have things given to me by the apparent caprices of chance -- so long as I can be assured of chance's loyalty -- than to work for my rewards." This is two things: 1. It's lazy. (Make no mistake, I'm not opposed to lazy.) 2. It can be reduced to an "if wishes were horses" proposition; it isn't in the nature of luck, if you believe in that sort of thing, to be constant. That is why, as I said above, the proposition depends on the condition that luck be a steady state, or what we call luckiness. But if there's no chance your luck could turn bad, at that point it's not really luck anymore, is it?

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