In Chapter 9 of The Big Questions, I lamented the great duplication of time and effort that occurs each spring when the top academic departments are all evaluating the same handful of job candidates, and I wondered why departments don’t free ride by simply announcing “We’ll take anyone with an offer from (say) Stanford”.
An anonymous math department chairman reports on his own strategy for cutting down on the workload. He believes that one of the most important determinants of a successful career is luck. So each year, he randomly rejects half the applicants without even reading their folders. That way, he eliminates the unlucky ones.