David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This books is worth your time. I had the fortune of listening to the audio version which allowed me to enjoy Gladwell reading from the book himself. "David and Goliath" is more about empathy, attention to detail, and the impact of opposition on character than anything else. The stories and facts contribute to the following key ideas:
- Adopt a different strategy to win: when a person or group is left with no other options they may act in a way totally different than what the "giant" might have anticipated. Story of the girl's basketball time and the full court press, David and Goliath (obviously!), French Impressionists, T.E. Lawrence of Arabia, Civil Rights and Brer Rabbit tactics in Birmingham with the police dogs
- The Inverted U Curve: too much of something commonly seen as desirable leads to undesirable outcomes. Story student at Brown University giving up on science, rich Hollywood man struggling to parent, Fresno man and the CA 3 strikes law compared to Winnipeg woman and forgiveness, "Troubles" between Catholics and Protestants and the British General's blunder.
- Sometimes potential weaknesses give us strength: often "giants" are confounded when the weaknesses being delivered leads to other powerful strengths. Stories include the bombing of London and "near misses" leading to courage, Huguenot village in France providing refuge to Jews during WW2, Dyslexic lawyer and Hollywood producer learned listening and persuading skills from dealing with trouble reading, Jay Freireich's brutal childhood helped him push past huge road blocks to save thousands of children from cancer by using cocktails of drugs by shooting them into the shin bone.
Gladwell is a master storyteller and designs his books in such an artful way. One critique I've heard about Gladwell's work is that it is more story than it is science-based and I sort of agree. But that is why I like it! I guess if his interpretations were significantly wrong or dangerous to my understanding than that would be a problem, but as I look at the principals he is sharing and the stories he uses I find they are fully aligned with truth I have found in other areas of my life and reading. If you are looking for a strictly non-fiction book with statistics and rational appeal, this might not be your favorite book. However, if you enjoy excellent storytelling and the exploration of new ideas and perspectives than I think you will love this book.
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I am a graduate student in Instructional Psychology and Technology at Brigham Young University. I enjoy writing, hiking, and spending time with my family.