Heart, Smart, Guts, and Luck

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A Bigger Movement

Creating an initiative around self-awareness

In many ways this book is an accidental by-product of our curiosity in entrepreneurs and leaders. We started casually taking video of entrepreneurs we met at our venture firm, Cue Ball, and in 2010 began to formalize our research with a broader team and partnership with Harvard Business Review Press. Through the process of our research and writing, we quickly noticed the common cross-cutting traits of success as a combination of Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck and were fascinated at how different people achieved their goals, in business and life, with varying permutations of these four traits. We learned there is no single pattern for success, but rather many as it relates to how one applies innate biases and capabilities.

What came out strongly, and somewhat unexpectedly, was how Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck can serve as an intuitive and useful framework for self-awareness. Through our Entrepreneurial Aptitude Test, which looks at how different patterns of the HSGL traits drive behavior and decision-making, we saw that we had an opportunity to help foster self-awareness by identifying successful traits in a language that elucidates difficult-to-pin-down nuances of what really drives one’s decision-making and biases.

The bigger opportunity and purpose of our work has become clear to us: to begin a widespread conversation around greater self-awareness. More so than any other quality it is self-awareness that makes for effective leadership and decision-making.