- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Back Bay Books; 1 edition (April 7, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0316204374
- ISBN-13: 978-0316204378
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3,121 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,758 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants 1st Edition
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*Starred Review* Gladwell’s best-sellers, such as The Tipping Point (2000) and Outliers (2008), have changed the way we think about sociological changes and the factors that contribute to high levels of success. Here he examines and challenges our concepts of “advantage” and “disadvantage” in a way that may seem intuitive to some and surprising to others. Beginning with the classic tale of David and Goliath and moving through history with figures such as Lawrence of Arabia and Martin Luther King Jr., Gladwell shows how, time and again, players labeled “underdog” use that status to their advantage and prevail through the elements of cunning and surprise. He also shows how certain academic “advantages,” such as getting into an Ivy League school, have downsides, in that being a “big fish in a small pond” at a less prestigious school can lead to greater confidence and a better chance of success in later life. Gladwell even promotes the idea of a “desirable difficulty,” such as dyslexia, a learning disability that causes much frustration for reading students but, at the same time, may force them to develop better listening and creative problem-solving skills. As usual, Gladwell presents his research in a fresh and easy-to-understand context, and he may have coined the catchphrase of the decade, “Use what you got.” --David Siegfried
"Truly intriguing and inspiring."―Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
"Provocative....David and Goliath is a lean, consuming read."―John Wilwol, San Francisco Chronicle
"As always, Gladwell's sweep is breathtaking and thought-provoking."―Joe Nocera, New York Times
"Fascinating....Gladwell is a master of synthesis. This perennially bestselling author prides himself on radical re-thinking and urges the rest of us to follow suit."―Heller McAlpin, Washington Post
"What propels the book, like all of Gladwell's writing, is his intoxicating brand of storytelling. He is the master of mixing familiar elements with surprise counter-intuitions, and then seasoning with a sprinkling of scientific evidence....Gladwell is a master craftsman, an outlier amongst authors."―Rob Brooks, Huffington Post
"Gladwell's most provocative book yet. David and Goliath challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, drawing upon history, psychology, and powerful narrative talent to rethink how we view the world around us and how to deal with the challenges life throws at us."―Susanne Jaffe, Columbus Dispatch
"Gladwell has made a career out of questioning conventional wisdom, and here he examines the allegedly unlikely triumph of the weak over the mighty and shows it's not so unlikely after all. 4 stars."―Judith Newman, People Magazine
"Engrossing.... Gladwell's singular gift is animating the experience of his subjects. He has an uncanny ability to simplify without being simplistic: clean and vivid Strunk and White prose in the service of peerless storytelling."―David Takami, Seattle Times
"Contemporary society can't escape history when Malcolm Gladwell explains the world as he does with David and Goliath."―Jane Henderson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell explores the dynamics that inform and effect our everyday lives. By analyzing the Biblical account of the clash between David and Goliath, Gladwell presents a bold new interpretation of the lessons we should apply from it."―Today Show
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1. The Advantages of Disadvantages
2. The Desirability of Difficulty
3. The Limits of Power.
In each section there are 3 stories (for a total of 9 stories).
What do we learn?
1. Sometimes when people have nothing to lose, that can make them into a more fierce fighter
2. Sometimes when people are faced with difficulty in accomplishing something, it brings out the best in them as they must invent new strategies to solve the problem
3. Power must be coupled with legitimacy.
I am not sure how much of this I believe:
1. This was true in the case of the Jews in Israel (there were a very few of them and they survived despite the odds), but not true of the many millions more who did not survive the Second World War. Why was *not surviving* the majority case?
2. Black people all over the world have disadvantages. Many of them. They have not necessarily become more resourceful because of it. (This is not the Jewish experience, as history has shown them to be very resilient and resourceful.) But there are many more Africans (overseas and otherwise) than there are Jews who have faced much more adversity. Why haven't the majority of them turned out to be accomplished?
3. Does power really have to be coupled with legitimacy? The Taiwan government is not actually legitimately the government of the whole of China (for most of the world except the Vatican)-- but they do have power in Taiwan. The CCP (the power behind the Chinese throne) is extremely corrupt and is openly a tool of patronage for the children of senior Party members. They aren't really legitimate (in the Gladwell sense of the word), but they are the sole source of power on the Mainland. The Dalai Lama feels that he is the legitimate ruler of the Tibetan people and claims to speak on their behalf. But what power does he have?
There were some things that I did already know:
1. He makes a discussion of diminishing returns / U shaped curves with respect to education. That case is believable.
2. Some experimental advances take a maverick to happen and the establishment often sneers-- at the beginning.
Verdict: This book is worth the Kindle price and it only takes 2 afternoons to ready. I'd recommend picking it up.
A useful and compelling reminder of the use of government force against innocent citizens and the power of forgiveness of the fundamental human psyche.
A 4 star valuable scholastic read strewn with too many statistical academic land mines that slowed the hell out of the drama of really what the author is reporting.
Other bits in the book work in a similar fashion and the readers should have a clear idea that after reading this, the underdogs may have f ar more going on for them than the reader may first have suspected.