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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants 1st Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 3,046 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0316204378
ISBN-10: 0316204374
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Product Details

  • 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: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3,046 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Book Shark TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 3, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

"David and Goliath" is an interesting yet somewhat disappointing book about what happens when ordinary people confront giants. Best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell provides many examples that range from the compelling to the dare I say feeble. That being said, the book is stimulating and it's never boring, it just lacked the brilliance that a book like his very own "Outliers" has. This provocative 320-page book is broken out into the following three parts: 1. The Advantages of Disadvantages (and Disadvantages of Advantages), 2. The Theory of Desirable Difficulty, and 3. The Limits of Power.

Positives:
1. Always engaging, provocative and a page turner. Gladwell is a gifted narrator.
2. Interesting subject, never boring. You never know what you are going to get from Gladwell. A great premise and title for a book, "David and Goliath".
3. Gladwell explores two main ideas through stories and keen observations. "What we consider valuable in our world arises out of these kinds of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty. And second, that we consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong."
4. A recurring theme that resonates throughout the book, "There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants. The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem."
5. I absolutely loved the story of Vivek Ranadive's basketball team and where Pitino's trademark strategy came from. "The whole Redwood City philosophy was based on a willingness to try harder than anyone else."
6. The provocative discussion on the correlation of class sizes and educational success.
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17 Comments 516 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You might read some reviews that hate on this book.

They'll say they don't like his pseudo-scientific claims. They'll say he oversimplifies everything. They might even mention some "incidents" where they witnessed a deluge of "random" people who hated on this book... just a day after it's released.

But I believe those people have an agenda. An agenda where they decided they were going to hate this book before they even read it.

I'll explain.

When I buy a Malcolm Gladwell book, I don't expect in-depth analysis of hundreds of research studies. For that, I'll turn to someone like Eliot Aronson, Dan Ariely, or some new blood like Adam Grant. When I buy a Malcolm Gladwell book I expect to read compelling stories that bring a few pieces of key research to life. I also expect to be inspired by these stories. And in that regard, David and Goliath OVER DELIVERS.

#1 I loved the story of the impressionists

I won't ruin the story for you because I think you should buy the book and read it. But the short of it is this: When the impressionists were shunned from the high art society in France, they created their own art show. And their art became more popular. And today, their art is essentially priceless since the art they were showing in their 'offsite' art show totaled more than billion dollars worth of art.

What's funny about this story is the connection to Gladwell and today. Gladwell might get shunned by some nitpicking academics, and that's fine. He's not trying to break into the world of academia. He created his own world, and he's the guy selling millions of books.

This doesn't mean I hate academia though. I run a website called Social Triggers, and a podcast called Social Triggers Insider. My goal?
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10 Comments 530 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Let me begin by saying that "David and Goliath" is an easy read. If you are a fast reader with extra time on your hands, you can finish the entire book in one sitting. Gladwell is a good, entertaining writer. Having said that, I was disappointed with the content of his book. Thus, this review will focus on those points.

"David and Goliath" is about battling giants... at least, I'm sure that's what you thought when you bought the book. That's certainly what the subtitle states - "Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battle Giants." However, you would only be partially correct. While there is some content related to battling so-called giants, the book's title is misleading. Most of the book is about advantages and disadvantages. The first section is about perceived advantages and how these advantages are often the source of disadvantage. The middle section is about perceived disadvantages and how these can be advantages. The last few chapters are about the limits of power, which is poorly connected to the overall theme of the book. Most of the stories had very little to do with battling giants, regardless of how you define the term "giants". In fact, Gladwell uses a very loose definition of "giants". Giants are anything that seems formidable.

Introduction: Goliath
Gladwell begins strong. He presents the story of David and Goliath but provides background to the story. The message to take away from the story is that David surprised Goliath. Goliath was expecting a sword-to-sword battle. Instead, David came out with his sling and took out the giant by refusing the play to Goliath's strengths, namely, his size.
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