Malcolm Gladwell is at it again. Taking conventional wisdom and turning it on its head. What is an advantage? What's a disadvantage?
I listened to The Tipping Point a few years ago and found Gladwell's ideas fascinating but somewhat strained. In David and Goliath, erudition and clever stories mask flawed thinking to an even greater degree. In a nutshell, Gladwell's theory is that inappropriate strategies inevitably flow from advantages or strengths. That sort of flawed causal thinking pervades this book.
For example, in using science education as an example of the "Goliath effect," he makes a facially clever comparison between admissions test scores at "top" undergraduate programs with those at middle-tier schools. His premise is that students at top schools drop out of science because they compare themselves only to high-powered peers at the top-tier school, whilst their test-score counterparts at middle-tier schools stick it out. Nice theory, but it assumes that everyone goes to college with the same goal: a maths or sciences degree. In other words, he assumes that all motivations are created equal across the board. I found this kind of slipshod logic pervasive and maddening.
To be fair, though, Mr. Gladwell is an excellent reader. Maybe he should take on some reading for other authors.
As always, I feel I've come away from this book with a greater understanding of limitations I place on myself and the world around me. I have been changed again.
Once again, Gladwell engaged me in topics I'd not have predicted would fascinate me: girls's basketball, small vs. large class size, the three-strike law... pretty dry fare on the face of it. Given the Gladwell treatment, riveting.
I find Malcolm Gladwell to be a brilliant writer. his stories are intriguing and thought provoking and this book much of the same.
One of my favorites of his. This book goes through a number of stories of people who and triumphed in the face of misfortune and their methodology for how it was done. Very interesting, and as usual has enlightened my life.
I love the pacing and tone of Mr. Gladwells delivery. He obviously is well aware of the content but he presents in a way that makes it dynamic and entertaining.
I liked the bit about how disagreeableness doesn't always mean that you are just unpopular or being obstinate. Disagreeableness is sometimes the thing that makes doing your job easier. When you don't have to worry about what people think, it is much easier to follow your heart and just do what you think in right.
Where the police chief went around giving turkeys to the kids. The idea of helping criminals and being of service to them is such a dichotomy, that this really explained how doing something so counter-intuitive wound up being a blessing for everyone involved.
Malcolm Gladwell is my favorite non-fiction author and reader. His books will change the way that you think about things. It is so interesting how he takes data and ideas and merges them together.