David and Goliath is the dazzling and provocative new book from Malcolm Gladwell, best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw.
Why do underdogs succeed so much more than we expect? How do the weak outsmart the strong? In David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell takes us on a scintillating and surprising journey through the hidden dynamics that shape the balance of power between the small and the mighty. From the conflicts in Northern Ireland and Vietnam, through the tactics of civil rights leaders and the problem of privilege, Gladwell demonstrates how we misunderstand the true meaning of advantage and disadvantage.
When does a traumatic childhood work in someone's favour? How can a disability leave someone better off? And do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? David and Goliath draws on the stories of remarkable underdogs, history, science, psychology and on Malcolm Gladwell's unparalleled ability to make the connections others miss. It's a brilliant, illuminating book that overturns conventional thinking about power and advantage.
Author, journalist, cultural commentator, and intellectual adventurer, Malcolm Gladwell was born in 1963 in England to a Jamaican mother and an English mathematician father. He grew up in Canada and graduated with a degree in history from the University of Toronto in 1984. From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter for The Washington Post, first as a science writer and then as New York City bureau chief. Since 1996, he has been a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.
His curiosity and breadth of interests are shown in New Yorker articles ranging over a wide array of subjects including early childhood development and the flu, not to mention hair dye, shopping and what it takes to be cool. His first book, The Tipping Point, captured the world's attention with its theory that a curiously small change can have unforeseen effects, and the phrase has become part of our language, used by writers, politicians and business people everywhere to describe cultural trends and strange phenomena. His other international best-selling books are Blink, which explores how a snap judgment can be far more effective than a cautious decision, and What the Dog Saw, a collection of his most provocative and entertaining New Yorker pieces.
©2013 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2013 Audible Ltd
"A global phenomenon... there is, it seems, no subject over which he cannot scatter some magic dust." (Observer)
Extremely intriguing and educating.
Very easy language.
The bit where he explains the duel of David and Goliath and why David was always the favourite to win,
The bit about hitting a level below what you would otherwise just squeeze into.
Great book in the most mesmerising voice of Gladwell himself.
Malcolm Gladwell has been believing his own press for way too long. When he started out with The Tipping Point in 2000, he had a knack for making interesting observations that went against the grain of common knowledge. Each thesis he presented was carefully thought out and argued, and encouraged one to re-evaluate the subject at hand instead of proclaiming definitively that his was the one and only version of the truth.
With the passage of time he has become bolder. Each of his subsequent books have seemed more sure of itself than the last, as his arguments for his "findings" have grown thinner and thinner. Even before the arrival of David & Goliath, he was already fond making sweeping generalizations that would make a politician blush, all the while having little but his own opinions backing up those statements.
With David & Goliath, Gladwell seems to have almost given up not only on presenting properly conceived theses, but has abandoned even trying to formulate coherent conclusions. His anecdotes meander pointlessly for ages before concluding abruptly, not coming to any conclusions and not providing the listener with sufficient information to draw their own.
Worst of all, judgement has crept into his analyses. No longer does he objectively look at issues and how people perceive them, but tinges all his arguments with his own point of view. This is brought home in a bizarre fashion in the chapter on the three strikes law. Not only is this well-trodden ground - everything he talks about has been common knowledge almost since the law's inception - but he seems to have no aim but to rip apart the poor father who instigated the law with only the best of intentions. It's nothing but an exercise in character assassination, and his unbelievable conclusion seems to be only that the father should have "gotten over" his daughter's brutal murder instead of trying to make the world a better, safer place. The merits of the law's logic notwithstanding, it was a breathtakingly cringe-worthy experience hearing Gladwell so heartlessly stomp on this man's grief and how he coped with it. His method of coping was, by the way, nothing but positive and inspirational.
The book as a whole reads more like a drunken man in a bar shouting "now let me tell you something" rather than a well-conceived series of arguments about interesting topics.
Gladwell has become an almost unrecognizable parody of himself, and this will be the last book of his I purchase.
first part is great . later part - tough to comprehend !! . ... . ...
A radical and new look at what can get accomplished if we do not get slotted into routine and cliché thinking that hardship creates the under dogs but can give you a sense that this hardship fuels your way out of this situation and meet tremendous success.
Malcolm Gladwell takes an interesting premise and turns into a really eye-opening book through his examples and case studies. He makes you put a different lens on things and I always end up getting a good take-home from his books.
It seems that the author has tried exceedingly hard to string together a bunch of interesting stories but the outcomes are often not compelling and the theme of the book gets completely lost in the narrative. A marked departure from the clinical accuracy and easily identifiable threads from his previous books. A bit disappointing but not altogether awful.
I simply find listening a whole lot easier than reading, as I can undertake tasks at the same time, so there is no guilt associated with this pleasure
How can you compare anything Malcolm Gladwell writes to anyone else, his style is quiet unique and is so well researched, you cant but see him as a "prophet" in his writing style
Every bit of the journey of learning he takes you through in his book
What surprised me most of all was the research into smaller vrs bigger class sizes
I wanted to really love this book, but the focus on sports related examples at the beginning just made me completely detatch. I haven't got a clue about basketball and so my attention span drifted and don't think i'll be returning to it. Shame as thought it would be just my kind of thing.
Very interesting stories - many sad - he's tells a good story and know the power of stories to convey an idea.
Shows that was is obvious isn't always obvious and what is a limitation can be an advantage.
Worth a listen maybe not quite as good as his previous books - but it is still good.
"Swing and a miss"
I wouldn't recommend this. I've been a fan of Gladwell's since Blink. While Outliers was over-long, there was plenty of interesting stuff in there. But David & Goliath smacks of contractual obligation. The upshot is that the underdog needs to think a little differently in order to topple Goliath. Well, thanks, Malcolm.
I kept waiting for him to take the stories he was telling and explain how perhaps we could apply it to our own lives. He didn't really do this. It was essentially Jackanory, with Malcolm telling a few stories - about civil rights, about the troubles in Northern Ireland - with little point. As a listener, there was a lot of "And?"
Gladwell is a very good narrator. As is often the case with authors reading their own work, you can tell he really cares about his work. This certainly elevates it.
Ultimately, at seven hours, no, David & Goliath wasn't worth the reading time.
I'm still a fan of Gladwell and would check out his next work - he's an interesting voice. Let's hope this is just a rare misstep in an otherwise highly interesting and provocative career.
"Rather too simplistic even for Gladwell"
Gladwell's continued cherry picking of selective 'evidence' in order to demonstrate a point without ever really testing any of the hypotheses he puts forward. The point was well made in the opening chapter when talking about the girls basketball team but went on a steady decline thereafter.'
See above. I know the simplification of popular psychology is his 'style' however too selective and too simple this time.
The narration was fine and where possible or practical I like to listen to an audio book narrated by the author. Gladwell does a fine job in this regard.
No. I think the concept was exhausted in the first chapter.
Despite my comments above I enjoyed parts of the text and it passed the time on the walk to the station. That was until the chapter on the troubles in Northern Ireland. This chapter was a biased, poorly researched abomination that presents 'facts' in such a way that anyone reading this chapter who was ignorant of the facts of the troubles would be left with a very different impression of what actually happened during this time.
The following text from another online review makes the point far better than I could, so I have quoted it below."One might imagine, on the basis of Gladwell’s account, that the majority of the casualties of the Troubles were killed by British forces. In fact, around 60 percent of the more than 3,500 people killed between 1969 and 2001 were killed by Republican forces, 30 percent by Ulster loyalists, and 10 percent by British troops. Within this overall figure, British forces and local security services suffered more than 1,100 deaths. If the British were Goliath in this conflict, they suffered a good many wounds in its course.
Gladwell’s account does more than oversimplify. It is a kind of moral cartoon, a rendition of events in which there are no difficulties that cannot be overcome by reasonable men and women of goodwill. He tells us nothing of the lengthy and tortuous path that led to the relative peace that prevails in Northern Ireland today. If only he had been around to have a quiet word with British commanders, Gladwell seems to be suggesting, and share a few academic papers with them, none of the horrors that unfolded need ever have happened."
The book seemed to lack evidence or explanation of how people had overcome their problems to make a success of their lives. It was very unhelpful.
The anti-British tone of the sections about Northern Ireland. A complex history and community is simplified to be nonsensical extent. Patronizing and simplistic.
Unscientific. Patronizing. Simplistic.
The beginning, middle and the end.
Can I have my money back?
"it held me"
I like listening to the short and pithy stories
about choosing the right university, I have told my students
""I Could Listen To Malcolm All Day Long""
It has so many a-ha type moments that will help you see your own advantages (advantages disadvantages) more clearly as well as helping you see them in others.
The struggle of the cancer researcher Dr.Jay Freireich.
This book is ideal for Audio, especially as the author is as good an orator as he is a writer. I enjoyed every moment of this verbal salad.
"A nice vignette of views through different lens"
This a series of stories or examples of how the first view might be wrong or lead to a different conclusion
I havent bought other books by Malcolm
I liked the stories but especially the ones how about how disadvantages can be turned into advantages
"When the little guy wins, amazing stories and anal"
really enjoyed this book it was an easy listen, I hit it all in one go as it was a very compelling listen. well recommended.
Thought provoking and imagination stimulation. Will listen a few times. Easy to get caught in the individual stories/examples, and while thinking about them, I'd miss the detail of his overall point. A pleasure to listen to. I'm looking forward to Outliers next.
"Great book and really well read"
The only reason I am not giving it 5 stars is because I like his ideas but I don't see enough hard evidence backing them up. But it's a great book and I have recommended it to others.
Like an anthology of work, it's perhaps not one to re-listen to, start to finish. However I think I'd go back to a print version to re-read certain chapters or sections. Audiobooks, for me, don't lend themselves as easily to 'dipping in'.
I listened to and enjoyed The Tipping Point, where the central thread is relatively narrow, well-defined and gives the book as a whole a unity and flow. David and Goliath looks at big vs small interactions in some wildly differing contexts. Each episode is well observed, well presented and makes its own mark, but the common thread binding the whole book together does get a bit lost sometimes
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