Husband, father, building contractor, inventor and audio book lover.
Malcolm Gladwell is a genius. He looks at life from a different angle and gives us the ability to do the same. Good is bad. Weak is strong. Last is first. Believe it. Don't think that blond hair and blues eyes is the E-ticket. Listen to this book and you will know, you have a better chance than you thought.
In typical Gladwellian fashion, Malcolm takes what we thought we knew about historical events/stories and turns them on their heads. I thought the most interesting part of the text was the section discussing the context of the fight between David and Goliath. The other sections of the book are influential as well, however, this section resonated with me the most. This text reminds me of that radio personality I used to listen to as a kid, Paul Harvey. Harvey would weave an interesting tale and leave the listener wondering the main character of his true story actually was. At the end of the story he would do the surprising reveal and say the words "And now you know, the rest of the story."
This book is like that. I actually enjoyed every chapter because of that choice of writing style. I recommend this book for those you who like Gladwell or like taking a second look at history and hearing the rest of the story.
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
Entertainment Weekly (EW)gave Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath" (DG) an abominable review. EW reported that Gladwell had dissolved from a data based story teller to a manipulator of anecdotal tales used to support his main thesis. As a result, I was disinclined to purchase DG. However, I was very pleased by his "Outliers" and "Tipping Point" so I took the chance.
Thank goodness I did not allow those muttonheads at EW to influence my book buying behavior. DG is an excellent book that challenges some of the most commonly held assumptions in the US and turns them upside down. Gladwell uses data and personal stories to analyze the social significance of affirmative action, three strikes laws, and entering an ivy league college. Gladwell's gift is summarizing research studies into a common sense digestible units that any reader can readily absorb. He further drives home point by selecting compelling real life stories that best exemplify these research studies. Gladwell keeps his readers entertained by avoiding the technical jargon associated with peer reviewed data.
The point of DG is that we all possess personal strengths that can help us achieve goals in the face of impending failure. David does not defeat Goliath due to luck, instead David fought an unconventional battle by changing the rules to his benefit. DG will expose the reader a different perspective on approaching tasks or problems that seem beyond our skill set. Our perceived weaknesses can be our greatest strengths.
I was so excited for this book when I saw it was coming out months ago. Downloaded it the day it was available. "Outliers" and "Blink" are great, paradigm-shifting books. "The Tipping Point" is good, and "What the Dog Saw" is in my opinion his worst book. This one falls somewhere between "What the Dog Saw" and "The Tipping Point", in my opinion. It's got a couple of mildly enlightening sections, but all in all is very repetitive and starts to get a bit dull.
Essentially, in "David and Goliath", Malcolm Gladwell makes one point, over and over and over. The properties that make the giant seem powerful might actually be its weaknesses, and the things that made David seem like a fool and his actions suicidal to others might have been his greatest strengths. He makes this point well in the first chapter, then goes on and on, making the same point over and over. Some of the stories he tells are interesting, others are kind of boring and in some cases it really seems like he's stretching to make them apply to his topic at all.
Letting the rest of the world go by
A good book splendidly read by the author. The theme is catching. Most chapters start off with a misdirection, and I'm thinking the author's thesis is wrong. For example, small class sizes do make a difference, I think. The author presents data that seems to contradict that assertion, but really doesn't. The author at the last moment will say maybe not and will show you why it's probably not true. He does that multiple times. Most of his original assertions I didn't like but by the end I did.
Another thing, he writes the stories such that I wished I was born poor, or at least had dyslexia because he makes those seem so desirable. That of corse is silly.
Look, the book is an easy listen and is fun but is not as good as his other books. I don't really recommend this one, but I was disappointed.
Yes, I have listened to it twice and it was even better the second time. I think I might listen to it again.
I have listened to all of his books and will listen to any other ones he writes, especially if he narrates it!
Gladwell's books have gotten progressively more anecdotal and his claims have become less substantiated. He Cherry picks examples and facts that barely support his claims. However, he is a great story teller. He may have decided that he need not be a statistician to tell interesting stories. If so, he should switch completely to biographies or historical fiction.
The only thing better than reading a Gladwell book is listening to Malcolm Gladwell read a Gladwell book. Definitely a five star read and reading.