In fact, I've believed for years that luck is a better determinant of success than smarts (or effort). It's why I adopted a motto soon after my journalism career kicked off that tried to capture the perception: "There is no big-time." That is, it's remarkable how many at the top are, well, unremarkable. So I figured luck had to play a lead role in their ascension. I've never had occasion to change my mind.
But of course, this was a subjective judgment. Now, however, comes support for the cynicism: a study that claims the predominance of luck over talent in the distribution of wealth has been mathematically confirmed. Two Italian physicists — Alessandro Pluchino and Andrea Rapisarda — and one economist — A. E. Biondo —make the case, and they've got a computer model to back it up.