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It is often thought that Napoleon said “Give me lucky generals” implying that he didn’t mind being lucky if it meant that he still won the battle.

In fact, Napoleon was almost certainly misquoted. It is more likely he was quoting Cardinal Mazarin, who noted that one must not ask of a general : “is he skilful?”, but rather “is he lucky?”

Clearly the consequences of relying on luck in finance are not as significant as in war, but nevertheless, it can be costly.

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