David and Goliath

David and Goliath

Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Downloadable Audiobook - 2013 | Unabridged
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We all know that underdogs can win—that's what the David versus Goliath legend tells us, and we've seen it with our own eyes. Or have we? In℗ David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell, with his unparalleled ability to grasp connections others miss, uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. Gladwell examines the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, takes us into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, and digs into the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms all in an attempt to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages. When is a traumatic childhood a good thing? When does a disability leave someone better off? Do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? Why are the childhoods of people at the top of one profession after another marked by deprivation and struggle?
Publisher: Ashland :, Hachette Book Group,, 2013
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781478980469
Characteristics: 1 online resource (7 audio files) : digital
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Feb 21, 2020

A meandering tour of well crafted, interesting, but somewhat thin anecdotes (and accompanying interpretations) on the theme of asymmetric challenges and conflicts (and how to win them). I perhaps would have rated this higher had I not read some of Malcolm Gladwell’s other books (Outliers, Blink, Ect). However, having done so, David and Goliath felt like nothing so much as Malcolm Gladwell rewriting the same book, or -perhaps more precisely- writing to the same book template with this being one of the weaker instances. As an example, the gimmick of ‘meanwhile back at the ranch’ (switching between anecdotes/illustrative stories at their cliff hanger-esque inflection points) felt especially overused and tiresome though this is just one of a number of prose tics that help propel his books that felt especially trite in this one. I still got a lot out of the book; I enjoyed his thoughts on legitimacy, the diminishing marginal returns/U shaped curve where the application of more _ [money, power, force] has counter productive effects effects, how hardship & near misses can produce exceptional people and states of mind (if it doesn’t wreck a person) and his continual illustration (in multiple arenas) that -to ‘win’ in the less powerful position requires a certain muscled disagreeableness coupled with an utter refusal to play the game by the ‘rules’ (as distinct from following the laws). But the book was thin on data, heavy on anecdotes (which seemed uncomfortably conscripted into the shape of a gangly book rather than natural bedfellows), and the insight/interest per page was almost (but never quite) enough to make me abandon the thing. Technically, I listened to the Audiobook version and can say that Malcolm Gladwell is an accomplished reader of his own work.

Jan 17, 2020

Chapter 2

Aug 31, 2019

Language warning. If listening to the audio book be aware that there are a few swear words when the author is quoting someone - including 3 F-bombs.

May 24, 2019

On a side note...the author mentions David Boise. Hmmm...I know that name. Oh, that’s that bully lawyer that that deep voiced, bug eyed pathological liar hired to intimidate employees who wanted to speak out that Theranos was a scam.

Feb 07, 2019

It was interesting, and gave me quite a bit to think about.

Aug 16, 2018

Absolutely right-on the dot. Gives enough real-life examples and ways to beat the system even if you're the small guy. Good read.

Mar 24, 2018

Absolutely fascinating. Shows how our logical understanding of the world is often obtuse and irrational, which gives a lot of perspective for life in general.

Oct 29, 2017

I used to watch cartoons because the little guys beat the big guys.
Now Gladwell tells me that the little guy can overcome his Goliath if he thinks unconventionally. He also provides examples of accepted thought that is just wrong.

The trick is to realize when to dig deeper and when to reject group think. I enjoyed the book.

Jun 29, 2016

So the book has some interesting stories, especially early on. For example, choosing where to go college was an interesting idea. I remember reading the story on the basketball team before, which is good. The book gets less interesting toward the end. But the book does show a couple interesting ways of looking at things.

Feb 11, 2016

A fascinating perspective on winning and losing - not to mention what really is a weakness and what really is a strength. Great perspectives for teachers/educators as well as law enforcement agencies and political groups like Black Lives Matter.

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