Chance events play a much larger role in life than many people once imagined. Most of us have no difficulty recognizing luck when it’s on conspicuous display, as when someone wins the lottery. Almost every career trajectory entails a complex sequence of steps, each of which depends on those preceding it. Inevitably, some of those initial steps will have been influenced by seemingly trivial random events. One’s date of birth can matter enormously, but randomness often plays out in subtle ways, and it’s easy to construct narratives that portray success as having been inevitable. Those stories are almost invariably misleading, however, a simple fact that has surprising implications for public policy.