How to Win in Business

'Moneyball' author Michael Lewis says being lazy is the key to success

You've probably heard that hard work is the key to success. But according to Michael Lewis, bestselling author of "Flashboys," "Moneyball" and "The Big Short," the opposite is true.

Laziness, which he defines as being slow to act, can be a lot more helpful than you think. It prevents you from being overwhelmed with lots of opportunities you said yes to but don't actually care about, Lewis says in an interview with Ryan Smith, CEO of online survey company Qualtrics.

"My laziness serves as a filter," Lewis said. "Something has to be really good before I'll decide to work on it."

As Lewis sees it, being lazy helps you avoid being busy for the sake of being busy.

Michael Lewis, author of Flash Boys.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Michael Lewis, author of Flash Boys.

He's not the only one who's opined on the benefits of doing nothing.

Google executive Rachael O'Meara's book "Pause" explores the benefits of giving yourself a break. Both Jack Dorsey and Arianna Huffington have said that meditation, which involves staying in one place and relaxing, helps them manage stress.

"My laziness serves as a filter." -Michael Lewis, bestselling author

"People waste years of their lives not being willing to waste hours of their lives," Lewis says.

Check out Lewis's strategy for getting out of anything you don't want to do

Video by Mary Stevens.