Lucky Inventions – Genius or good fortune?

by John H. Lienhard
Click here for audio of Episode 755.

Today, we ask if successful inventors are just lucky. The University of Houston’s College of Engineering presents this series about the machines that make our civilization run, and the people whose ingenuity created them.

This afternoon an interviewer asked me if invention is a matter of luck. I hadn’t thought much about luck, but the question woke me up. We certainly find lots of lucky inventions.

Those little yellow Post-it notes were invented after a chemist accidentally created a glue that wouldn’t dry. That was blind luck, no doubt. But it did no good until someone recognized how glue that doesn’t dry can serve us.

The history of chemical process technology teems with examples like that — everything from rayon to dynamite to vulcanized rubber. In each case, an accident happened — maybe one that’d befallen a hundred other people. But only one person was prepared to recognize possibility when it was out of context.

Louis Pasteur discovered that molecules with the same chemical structure can be either left or right-handed. Two otherwise identical molecules can have radically different properties. That may’ve just been the result of a lucky observation. But Pasteur pointed out that “chance favors only the prepared mind.”

So: to receive luck we have to prepare our minds. A good invention is like a good joke. The joke teller leads you out on one plane of reality. Then, suddenly, in the turn of a phrase, you find yourself standing in another reality entirely.

The old Burma-Shave ads did that. Six red signs along the road: “IF HARMONY, IS WHAT, YOU CRAVE, THEN GET, A TUBA, Burma- Shave.” In 8 seconds of drive time we’re carried from harmony in human relations, to musical harmony, to a tube of shaving cream creating harmony on your face. It may’ve been simple-minded humor, but recognizing those lurches of meaning delighted us anyway.

In that sense, James Watt caught on to a joke when he improved the steam engine. For 70 years we’d squirted cold water into cylinders filled with hot steam. Steam condensed and sucked the piston down. But that water cooled the cylinder. You wasted half your steam warming it back up to repeat the cycle.


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took Watt years to see. Then he caught on. He realized that if we led steam out into a separate condenser, the cylinder would stay hot. The condenser would always be cold. All at once, Watt doubled steam engine efficiencies.

Now, was Watt lucky? Of course he was. But that same lucky perception had lain in wait for hundreds of engine-builders before him. Luck is before us, all the time. We just have to recognize it when it walks by.

“Sure,” I told my interviewer, “invention’s a matter of luck.” But oh, how few of us are able to let go of our limitations and open our eyes to the ever-present gift of good fortune.

I’m John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we’re interested in the way inventive minds work.

Good Luck Secrets Revealed – Secrets Of Lucky People book review

Don’t you want to know the Secrets of Lucky People? To understand why some people have more good luck than others? The “Secrets Of Lucky People” is a great book for those who want to take a journey into the life of fortune people. Apply the lessons to your own life, and you’ll be one of those people.

It is actually a little bit more than just a book. It is a true course in how to have good luck. Each lesson covers a principle of luck. Believe it

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or not, there has been some serious scientific research done on lucky people, and you’ll read about it. Even more important are the good-luck tales (many are true stories). They demonstrate the principles in action, but they also make the lesson “stick” in your mind.

Then, after every chapter/lesson there are the exercises. These are designed to get you thinking like a lucky person. Do this easy “luck work” and you’ll start to see results in days.

Secrets of lucky people bookThe research gathered here is fascinating. Who would have guessed that acquaintances are more likely to bring you luck than friends? Or that a study called “Sustained Inattentional Blindness for Dynamic Events” would suggest practical ways to get lucky. Or that pursuing ones passions instead of money isn’t just a nice idea, but has actually been demonstrated to massively increase the odds of getting rich. –

From a review on

Secrets of Lucky People

by Steve Gillman

I’m lucky today – What should I do?

We get this question from our readers all the time: I’m feeling lucky today, what should I do? Many people believe in different sign of good luck. I saw a rainbow the other day and went on playing my favourite bingo that afternoon (because at the end of the rainbow there is always a golden pot:) and guess what, I had a full house.

So what should you do if you are feeling lucky today? The answer is: Use it. Leverage it! How?

A few suggestions on “How to leverage a lucky day”

  1. Buy a lottery, a scratch card or enter a prize draw. You don’t even need to spend money on them, you find plenty of free stuff on the internet.
  2. Go shopping. Especially if the sales are on. You might end up with a fantastic bargain.
  3. Do something you wouldn’t normally dare, like ask for a raise at work from you boss: Your lucky status should help you get what you want.
  4. Make a wish and a big one! It might come true cos don’t forget: This is your lucky dayLucky Day Today?!

If life gives you lemons, make lemonade

Do you remember the infamous saying, ? That is the frame of mind of a lucky person. Seeing how lucky you are on a daily basis, even if only in small ways, makes the possibility of good luck more real to

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you. This gets you watching… then the watching gets you thinking:

  • How is this lucky?
  • What can I do with this situation?
  • How can I make delicious lemonade from these lemons?

Few suggestions to find luck and feel fortunate in life

  1. Write down all the things you are grateful for. Alternately, tell someone the many things you are grateful for. See if this simple exercise doesn’t improve your outlook on life.
  2. Spend a weekend (or even the whole week) with a notebook and pen on you. Jot down anything that happens that could possibly be called good luck. This will get you in the habit of looking for luck and you will find yourself appreciating things more…
  3. Write down any incidents of bad luck in your life, and see how you contributed to the bad luck. Then list anything you could have done or could still do to get some value out of the experience. Repeat this exercise until “making lemonade out of lemons” becomes a habit.

Was it a truly lucky day or just amazing reflexes?

This video appeared first on RussiaToday and got posted all over the internet later as a “Very Close Shave: CCTV video of lucky man escaping death in car crash”

The man who dodges the car in the video has the most amazing ninja reflexes and I wouldn’t be surprised if he was some kind of kung-fu master or minimum a Jedi. However I heard somewhere “In soviet russia, lamp post crashes into YOU!” :) Even Chuck Norris has to watch out in Russian streets.


Its funny how he started to move for no apparent reason slightly before the collision happened. If he would have stayed in that spot for even one second longer he probably would have been hit. We are the Knowing!

The lucky man’s reflex (nervous system for responding to threat) is very good. People around the world should be alert and well-prepared like him.

The luckiest dude on Earth!

I am lucky that I have never been in a car to car accident that I caused. I mean I’ve been hit by a car before, putting more damage on the car than on myself. But my dad has been in a really bad accident. He was going south on the onramp for the HWY and hit a snow ridge with a Geo Metro. was’t even going that fast. slid into a Semi truck, and ended up on the right lane of the north bound traffic. Geo was totalled and my dad got 8 staples on his scalp.


A really bad car accident is a very scary experience. When your car flips about 5 times, gets a speed limit sign knocked down, hits a tree while in the air & almost lands in the ditch all that in one wreck. THAT’s not so good right?

Check out thi guy who arrowly avoids car, looks around, walks away like nothing happened. Hilarious and insanely LUCKY! This is what

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you call walking with style:)

When I see something like this I ask myself just “How lucky can you be?”.

Intacto – A unique movie about chance, luck, passion, love and superstition

INTACTO (you could translate it to English as “Untouched”)

“The ultimate game of chance, the most extreme sport of all, when winning is surviving and nobody survives forever”

Can people learn how to use their luck? Is it a gift, can it be taken away ot transfered to other people?

Would you put your bet on someone who cannot possibly lose? Does such luck exist?

A masterpiece of the new wave of Spanish cinema

Imagine someone who has the power to steal good luck from other people and using it he may become powerful, but bored in the end. So he uses his wealth to research other people who has the same power or a similar one (people who has survived all sort of terrible accidents) to challenge them in a sort of Russian roulette.

The film is visually beautiful and unique, and there are a few scenes that will likely stick with you for weeks

A film that grabs a mesmerising but mysterious plot and applied many contemporary issues around it. The acting is flawless and the directing to die for; it succeeds brilliantly on every front. This film will remain in my collection of great film memories.

Intacto – Official movie trailer

What is Luck? Can luck be stolen from others?

There is a strange atavistic, primitive even primeval core to this film. I spent part of my childhood in south west Ireland; I can clearly remember that people (men with a winning streak at the races or at cards or anything where luck is involved) would be touched by others to steal some of their luck. Those individuals with the lucky streak would do their best to avoid such contacts, often with threats of violence! This was all over sixty years ago. These primitive superstitions ought not to be easily discounted. Not so long ago man was much closer to the shadows of the forest than we sophisticates. The evil eye was a real force, the green man really existed. Our ancestors knew this. I loved this film I know something of what the film is trying to recapture before it’s lost forever. It’s not an easy film to sit through first time but stick with it. There’s gold here.

Intacto filmIn the film luck can be gambled and the games sometimes are deadly. I you had the gift of LUCK, and you would be aware, what would you risk as a gambler? How far would you go?

You will get to know a very “special edition of Russian Roulette” and this piece of cinematography will surely make you think about Feeling Lucky in life.

The film depicts an underground trade in luck; where fortune flows from those who have less to those who have more. Rooted in magical realism, the premise purports that luck can be amassed and transferred as any other commodity.
The story follows several participants as they engage in literal games of chance, each one more risky than the last to eliminate the unlucky.

Lucky Couple Donates Full $11.2 million Lotto Jackpot

What would you do with $11,255,272?
Ohhh gosh, I can’t tell you how much I like these kind of stories. It feels so good to read about such caring people who don’t want or need the world to be perfectly happy in life. What more! If they have the biggest luck a retired couple can financially image, what they do? Show their unconditional caring for other people.

Incredible couple won $11.2 million from a lottery ticket in July 2010

And now every penny is gone!!! No they didn’t make the same mistake lottery winners often do. No splurging, buying yachts and mansions here.
Allen and Violet Large didn’t spend any of it on themselves. And that’s just the way they like it.

“What you’ve never had, you never miss,” said Violet, 78.

Married since 1974, the Lower Truro . They don’t travel, they don’t gamble and they don’t buy what they don’t need.

We have an old house, but we’re comfortable and we’re happy in it,” Violet said.

All my respect for them but it is actually a funny fact that their surname is Large – the couple don’t “live large” at all. They spent 30 years in Ontario where Allen was a steel welder and Violet worked for cosmetics and chocolate companies. They retired in 1983 and returned to Nova Scotia.

“We were pretty well set, not millionaires, but comfortable,” said Allen, 75.

It only took about four months after hitting a lotto jackpot this summer, the septuagenarian couple decided to give away all their winnings to family members and “two pages’ worth of charity groups,” ranging from local churches to the Red Cross. Aren’t they the cutest couple in the whole world?:)

Violet was undergoing treatment for cancer that doctors discovered in the spring.

“That money that we won was nothing,” said Allen, choking back tears. “We have each other.”

Violet has been through surgery and finished her last chemotherapy treatment a week ago.

After the win, the couple took about a week to work out the details before embarking on their $11,255,272 spending spree. They took care of family first and then began delivering donations to the two pages’ worth of groups they had decided on, including:

  • the local fire department,
  • churches,
  • cemeteries,
  • the Red Cross,
  • the Salvation Army,
  • hospitals in Truro and Halifax, where Violet underwent her cancer treatment,
  • organizations that fight cancer, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.

The list goes on and on.

The couple won’t say how much they gave each group, but they’ve received plenty of phone calls, letters and plaques of gratitude. While they’re thankful for each one, they didn’t do it for the recognition.

“It made us feel good,” said Violet. “And there’s so much good being done with that money.”

God bless them.

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