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#15 - A popular book argues that people who are successful

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xochitlchaul
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Hi! I chose answer choice D on this question, and I'm still not sure how exactly I can eliminate it. A and D are so similar to each other, and I want to make sure I can catch this kind of mistake in the future. Anyone have an idea? Thanks!
Adam Tyson
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Thanks for the question, xo (do you mind if I call you xo?) - this is my first chance to take a look at this recent test, so I'm glad you gave me the opportunity.

The key difference between answers A and D is that A describes conditional reasoning (sufficient and necessary) while D describes causal reasoning (cause and effect). So which is present in the stimulus?

The argument tells us something about "people who", and that is a classic conditional reasoning indicator, telling us in no uncertain terms that what follows ("successful") is a Sufficient Condition, and the other thing in the relationship ("luck") is a Necessary Condition. That, by itself, should be enough to eliminate answer D. There are no causal indicators present - the author never says that luck leads to success or brings it about or is responsible for it, only that people who succeed are, to some degree at least, lucky.

Using a diagrammatic approach, the author tells us that a book claims the following:

S(uccess) --> L(uck)

He then argues against this claim by making a different one:

S(uccess) --> H(ard)W(ork)

The author must have believed that the book was claiming that Luck was sufficient for Success, and that Hard Work was not required. Of course that isn't what the book said, and that's the author's error. It's a conditional flaw, not causal, and so A is spot on and D misses the mark by focusing on non-existent causal reasoning.

I hope that helped! If you have our full-length or accelerated course books or the LR Bible, check into the sections on conditional and causal reasoning, and you'll see this spelled out in greater detail with some good practice questions and explanations. Pay close attention to the indicator words for each type of reasoning - there's gold in them thar hills, my friend!

I hope we can continue to be a help to you. Keep them coming!
Adam M. Tyson
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15veries
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Hi,

I guess I'm a little confused with what "the claim" refers to in A at first...(is it only me but I feel like those referential phrases have been increasing in answer choices...so even though you understand the reasoning behind if you do not understand what the phrases refer to you cannot get the question right)

So premise:
Success :arrow: hard work
Conclusion
Success :arrow: not because of luck
(Some argues...success :arrow: because of luck, but the author says "this is ridiculous" meaning, success does not require to have luck?)

So this is the conditional statements at first I had.
And this did not lead me to A immediately because I was not sure what "the claim" is...

Could you clarify what
"It mistakes the claim that something (X) is required for a purpose (Y) for the claim that it (X) is sufficient for that purpose (Y)"
What do X, Y, Z refer to?

I thought X=luck
Y=success
But from my original conditional statements I'm not sure this is correct...it does not seem like to reflect the conditional statements.

(At first I thought, why they cannot have both? Hardwork and luck? why only either one and if one is present the other must be false?...)
Adam Tyson
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You are correct about what your X and Y stand for, 15v - good job. What you seem to have missed is that the argument is about disproving a certain claim, the claim made by the popular book that successful people have had good luck. The author says that claim is incorrect because success requires hard work. The author's error is in thinking that the book was claiming that luck was the only thing needed to prove success - that is was sufficient - when in fact the book was only saying that success is sufficient to prove that there was some luck along the way, that luck is necessary.

Exactly what "the claim" as used in answer A is referring to can be found within the answer choice: the claim that something is required (that's talking about luck being necessary) is confused for that claim that that thing (luck) is sufficient.

Looked at another way, and you can see that the stimulus has conditional reasoning, indicated by the word "requires" and the phrase "people who". Since conditional reasoning is present, and the stem tells you that a flaw is present, look for the only answer that describes a conditional flaw. No need to dig deeper than that - there is only one answer that addresses conditionality, so that must be it. Any deeper analysis is just looking for trouble!
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jenna_d
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Also a bit confused by the argument. Basically it saying that the popular book states success --> luck (aka success is 'because of' luck) but the argument misinterprets it as luck--> success (success needs luck?). Wasn't sure how this worked exactly (sorry if I am repeating a question, I think I just need a more simple layout of the argument?). Thank you!
Adam Tyson
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Don't confuse conditional language (one thing "requires" another) with causal language (one thing happens "because of" another). There is no "because" in this relationship, Jenna, so remove that word completely from your analysis. The author says if you are successful then you must also be lucky, but he is not saying that success is due to luck, or caused by luck, in whole or in part. There is some implied causality for sure - "benefited" is slightly active - but on its face this argument is just conditional.

The book says if success, then luck (S :arrow: L). The author says no, that false, because success requires hard work (S :arrow: HW). The problem is he falls to recognize that one thing can be sufficient for both of the other things, or perhaps that he improperly assumes that luck means no hard work (L :arrow: HW).

Regardless of how you diagram it, it's a conditional flaw, and answer A is the only one to describe anything conditional, so it's the best choice.

I hope that helps! Good luck!
Adam M. Tyson
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freddythepup
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Hi,
I get that the argument has conditional language, and answer choice A is also the only one that points that out. However, I'm very confused still about how we get that the author is assuming that the book is saying that Luck --> Success? When I read this stimulus, what I got was, popular book says: Success --) Luck, but author says this is not true because anyone who has studied successful people knows that: Success --> Hard work. So to me, when I prephrased the flaw, I was looking for something in the choices that said that the author mistook Luck to be the only requirement for success, i.e. hardwork can be another requirement. Can you please explain why we know that the author is mistaking Success --> Luck with its reverse: Luck --> Success? I don't see how flipping these two is linked with the author's other premise of Success --> hard work. Thanks!
LSAT2018
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Adam Tyson wrote:
The book says if success, then luck (S :arrow: L). The author says no, that false, because success requires hard work (S :arrow: HW). The problem is he falls to recognize that one thing can be sufficient for both of the other things, or perhaps that he improperly assumes that luck means no hard work (L :arrow: HW).

Regardless of how you diagram it, it's a conditional flaw, and answer A is the only one to describe anything conditional, so it's the best choice.

I hope that helps! Good luck!


I was able to choose answer (A) because it indicates errors in conditional reasoning, but like the poster above has stated, I am not quite sure as to why there is a Mistaken Reversal here. Can you expand on your explanation?
Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Freddy and LSAT2018,

This is an easy question to get turned around when reading, because we have a conditional relationship that the author disagrees with. We have to read the author's mind a bit to figure out what he's saying.

Let's look at the text itself.

A popular book claims that if success :arrow: luck.

The author says that's not true because success :arrow: hard work.

But his statement that success :arrow: hard work doesn't hurt the popular book claim. A single condition could require multiple things. For example becoming president requires that the individual is both a natural born citizen and over the age of 35. So president :arrow: natural born citizen doesn't in any way attack president :arrow: over 35.

It must be something else. It must be that the author assumes that luck is the only thing required for success, or that luck requires success.

That's what answer choice (A) describes. The author treated luck as sufficient for success, when the book only claimed it was necessary for success.

Hope that helps!
Rachael