Dan Azzi
September 2017


The Ovarian Lottery or Lucky Sperm Club

Dan AzziDan Azzi

So over 99.99999% of life is luck. Anything in this book that can be construed as advice is really addressing the 0.00001%.

Warren Buffet coined the term “Ovarian Lottery” to describe the role of luck in our success and it struck a nerve with me, having been born, in a third world country myself. Other people have referred to similar phenomena as the “lucky sperm club”. For example, if you’re born in Burundi, where the per capita income is $192 per year, then if you are somehow able to secure a job as a maid in Lebanon, making $1,200 a year, then you’ve “made it”. A job as a maid there entails essentially working no less than 16 hour days for 6 days a week and sometimes 7.

Similarly, if you were born in Lebanon, where the per capita GDP is around $9,000 per year, then if you somehow make it to the US, where the per Capita Income is around $48,000, then you’ve made it. If you’re an illegal alien or regular immigrant, once you get your Green Card or citizenship, say at the age of 25, you’re now more or less equal to a baby born in the US (not taking into account education etc.).

So why bother? Because you should never underestimate that miniscule amount that you possibly do control. If there are zillions and zillions of (or infinite) possibilities in the former, there are still trillions and trillions in the latter (also infinite, just, possibly, a “smaller infinity”, if that makes any sense). Our intent should be to optimize that 0.00001% – that decision we have to make at every fork in the road – to achieve our objectives. As Louis Pasteur said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  

There are three essential components for success: Luck, risk-taking, and good judgment. Obviously, we have no control over the former, but we certainly have control over the last two. 

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