The Role of Luck

I watched this special on CNBC where Warren Buffet and Bill Gates taught some MBA students at Columbia Business School.  If you can catch it on CNBC or on the net somewhere, catch it.  It’s a great show.  They really had a great time with the students and it was so fascinating to hear the questions of the students and the answers of the Buffet and Gates.  The students asked questions from a particular perspective, and Buffet and Gates answered from a completely different perspective – but that’s why they were students and Buffet and Gates were billionaires (trying to give their money away).

One student ask Gates what role luck played in his success.  He asked Gates – a software geek would made billions and changed the world, how much luck played in his success.  Never mind that Gates – throughout high school spent most nights learning how to program while everyone was asleep.  Never mind that he was obsessed with programming that he was programming the class scheduling program for his high school – consequently, he wrote code so that he would be in classes with tons of female students.

Gates humbly answered the question and told the student that luck did play a role in his success, but all of the things that were “lucky” where things that he couldn’t control.  He was lucky to be born during the time that he was.  He was lucky to be born to parents that he was born to.  He was lucky to have parents that allowed him to buy books.  The lucky things in his life were Nature things.

Gates said that there was luck, but he worked hard for his success and wealth and now he’s giving that stuff away.  We are the lucky ones.

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