How to Attract Good Luck

Do you want good luck? Of course you do. We all need that extra “something” to help us in life.

One of the most intriguing and little-known books in the New Thought tradition offers a straightforward and ethical recipe for cultivating your inner “rabbit’s foot.” The book is How to Attract Good Luck. Although it may sound like a gambling guide, it is the furthest thing from it.

A rare photo of A.H.Z. Carr (1902–1971)

Economist, journalist, and diplomat A.H.Z. Carr wrote the book in 1952. Carr had served as an economic advisor in the presidential administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman, and spent time on economic and diplomatic missions in Europe and the Far East. He amassed a great deal of experience observing how most personal misfortune arises from impetuous, shortsighted, or unethical behavior.

By “luck” Carr was referring not to blind chance but rather to how we can bend circumstances to our favor through specific patterns of behavior. Here I digest some of his insights on how virtue pays:

·Demonstrate “unexpected friendliness” to colleagues, strangers, or casual acquaintances. In the history of religion and myth, displays of unwarranted hospitality or friendliness often prove the turning point that results in rewards being showered on someone who unknowingly aids an angel, the gods, or a disguised royal.

· Pursue topics or lines of work for which you feel zest. This is a recipe for fortuitous connections and relationships.

· Boredom is a harbinger of bad luck. Boredom leads you to rash or frivolous actions in pursuit of relief and excitment. Stay busy and engaged.

· Generosity is almost always rewarded one way or another.

· Watch for “small chances” to accomplish your aims. A small step either in conjunction with other small steps or by itself can produce unexpected results.

· Stay alert for larger “critical chances” — be watchful.

· “It is lucky to know what we want.” Focus brings us right action.

· Never imagine yourself more formidable or skilled than you really are. Be realistic about your current level of abilities and where they must grow.

· Healthful self-respect keeps you out of trouble.

· Avoid hyper-competitive colleagues and acquaintances. “Those who make us feel competitive,” Carr wrote, “easily can tempt us into unlucky displays of egotism.”

· Always look for how to turn chance events into good use.

· William James: “A single successful effort of moral volition, such as saying ‘no’ to some habitual temptation, or performing some courageous act, will launch a man on a higher level of energy for days or weeks, will give him a new range of power.”

· Prejudice brings bad luck.

· Ethical courage, not impulsiveness or truculence, imbues you with nobility. Defending a loved one is almost always a lucky act.

· Acting without integrity invites misfortune.

· Envy moves you to foolish actions and pettiness. It is the bug zapper of good luck.

· Carr: “Any effort we make, however slight, to prevent the dictation of our behavior by insecurity feelings is a step toward luckiness.”

Mitch Horowitz is a PEN-Award winning historian the author of Occult America and One Simple Idea, a history and analysis of positive thinking. He is writing a new book on the importance of having a definite aim in life. Mitch narrates an audio edition of How to Attract Good Luck. Visit him at

"Treats esoteric ideas & movements with an even-handed intellectual studiousness"-Washington Post | PEN Award-winning historian | Censored in China

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