Michael Lewis is profiled by Walter Isaacson at the Washington Post this week. I especially liked this bit, about how Lewis recognizes his good fortune, the talent he was born with and the small advantages he’d had along the way toward becoming one of the best contemporary writers in America…
Being on third base, and being picked off of third base, became a moral metaphor, based on the famous saying about those who were born there and think they hit a triple. “I had many friends who found themselves on third base, and I realized how important it is to be mindful that we are there partly by luck,” he says. The appreciation of luck can appear to be a simple concept, but Michael has made it a subtle but profound basis for a moral outlook. It is the underlying message of his book “Moneyball.” “Life’s outcomes, while not entirely random, have a huge amount of luck baked into them,” he once told students at his alma mater, Princeton. “Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have also had luck — and with luck comes obligation.”
We walk a lot about the interplay of luck and success in terms of investing. This idea that there is a responsibility that comes along with it all is not a new one. One of our areas of focus as a firm going forward will be to help our clients as they meet this obligation in terms of charitable giving, foundation involvement, etc.
Philanthropy is a cornerstone of good wealth management. All firms working with high net worth households should be able to offer helpful advice and tools in this arena.