2016 Ashok C. Sani Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence Lecture | Robert Frank

Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Robert Frank, research scholar at NYU Stern and the Henrietta Johnson Louis Professor of Management at Cornell University, delivered the 2016 Ashok C. Sani Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence Lecture to a packed auditorium of undergraduate students, alumni and guests from the family of alumnus Ashok C. Sani (BS ’74).  This year's talk, entitled "Success & Luck," was hosted by NYU Stern’s Undergraduate College and Business & Society Program in conjunction with the “Law, Business & Society” course, a part of Stern’s social impact core curriculum.  

Professor Frank highlighted his forthcoming book, "Success & Luck: Good Fortune and the Myth of the Meritocracy."   Sharing a dramatic, personal story in which he beat the odds for survival after sudden cardiac death, Professor Frank argued that luck has had an outsized influence in his own life.  He also explained the dangers of “hindsight bias” – when a person invents a narrative after-the-fact that makes the outcome seem almost inevitable. He cited the hit TV show “Breaking Bad,” the infamous Mona Lisa painting and the extreme fame of Kim Kardashian as examples of incredible luck (vs. skill and experience alone). Addressing students in the audience, Professor Frank warned that all career paths include random, unpredictable steps and advised them to become experts in their fields and be ready to take advantage of chance opportunities.