This image is the cover for the book Being Lucky

Being Lucky

The autobiography of the legendary Indiana University president, as he originally intended.

Painstakingly restored from original archival materials and featuring over a dozen fascinating vignettes and talks that were cut from the original edition, Being Lucky: Reminiscences and Reflections, The Complete Edition is a must read for Hoosiers everywhere.

In this absorbing autobiography, Herman B. Wells recalls his small-town childhood, the strong influence of his parents, and his pioneering work with Indiana banks during the Great Depression. His first contact with Indiana University was as an undergraduate in 1921, when the still provincial school had fewer than three thousand students. At the end of his twenty-five-year tenure as president in 1962, IU had gained an international reputation and a student body that would soon exceed 30,000. Wells’ reflections on his years as university president are both lighthearted and illuminating. They describe in candied detail how he approached the job, his observations on effective administration, his thoughts on academic freedom and tenure, his approach to student and alumni relations, and his views on the role of the university as a cultural center. Also included are his fifty maxims for young college presidents. Finally Wells discusses the national and international service that helped shape his presidency and the university.

Being Lucky is a nourishing brew of the memories, advice, wit, and wisdom of a remarkable man.

“Much more than the title might suggest [this is] a heart-warming account of a young boy and his parents determined that a son should have a college education, a classic and detailed account of his widening involvement with every aspect of higher education, and a stirring story of a wise administrator. [Wells’s] life is an astonishing success story. . . . He was not just lucky, he was careful and courageous.” —Journal of Higher Education

Being Lucky is as entertaining as it is informative. Wells’ biographer, James H. Capshew, called it “a manual of higher education management.” . . . Reading Wells’ fascinating autobiography shows why it is no wonder that Indiana University is so proud of the great man and honors his accomplishments.” —Louisville Courier Journal

“An honest report by a most successful educator [and] a tribute to a great university and to a man with foresight who also had the courage to act on his convictions.” —The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette

“Wells’s humor, wit, and humanity pervade every chapter.” —Indiana Magazine of History

Herman B Wells

Herman B Wells (1902–2000) served Indiana University in a variety of capacities, most notably as its 11th president and as chancellor, and was pivotal in IU's development into a world-class institution of higher learning.

Indiana University Press