The Success Formula

The Networks scientist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s latest book The Formula: The Science Behind Why People Succeed or Fail is a cracker. His six laws of success summarise more than a decade of research into the science of success, in particular how the social network in which we live and operate, with its many kinds of relationships and entities, ultimately determine how successful we are in our pursuits.

Here are the six laws. Each one on its own is a useful distillation from significant empirical research. They become really interesting and insightful when you look at how the laws interact with each other to confer a meaningful power to explain many different success phenomena.

Zeroth Law: Success isn’t about you. It’s about us.

First Law: Performance drives success, but when performance can’t be measured, networks drive success.

Second Law: Performance is bounded, but success is unbounded.

Third Law: Future Success = Previous Success x Fitness.

Fourth Law: While team success requires diversity and balance, a single individual will receive credit for the group’s achievements.

Fifth Law: With persistence success can come at any time.

We all know success in many aspects of our lives is a combination of skills and luck. To that, we should add a third element: our network.


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