Audie Award Winner, Non-Fiction, 2014
Malcolm Gladwell, the number-one best-selling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw, offers his most provocative - and dazzling - book yet.
Three thousand years ago, on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David's victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn't have won.
Or should he have?
In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.
Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland's Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms - all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.
In the tradition of Gladwell's previous best sellers, David and Goliath draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think about the world around us.
PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.
©2013 Malcolm Gladwell (P)2013 Hachette Audio
I understand that people who write books for a living have to keep generating ideas for new material. This must be very taxing, and I guess this is why there exists the concept of ‘writer’s block’. When Malcolm Gladwell sat down and starting scratching out this latest offering I think he was probably struggling a bit and scraping towards the bottom of the barrel.
He’s written some really good works that change the way his readers think about the world. In ‘the Tipping Point’ we learnt what factors combine to make something ‘go viral’, a la Gangnam Style. In ‘Blink’ we saw how adept humans are at making intuitive judgements in milliseconds with limited information, and in Outliers we realised that successful people are often winners because of arbitrary lucky factors rather than pure talent. In David and Goliath I’m not too sure what we learn, and if there is a core message in there, it’s a bit tenuous and foggy.
The basic idea of the book is that underdogs often prevail against the odds, and that this is the result of a number of factors such as: they break the rules; they aren’t afraid to do unpopular things; they are the products of difficult childhoods with ‘desirable difficulties’ such as dyslexia; their enemies underestimate them and misunderstand the use of power. These messages are intertwined with some quack pseudo-psychological theories, such as the notion that when the British Army were in Northern Ireland they didn’t realise they were on the ‘downside of the inverted u’.
There is some good stuff in this book. There are some insights that I could imagine being relevant to me in some future situation in my life, and the book was enjoyable because of the fascinating human interest stories that Gladwell tells so well, but there are too many generalisations and oversimplifications of complex issues which the author-narrator manipulates to fit his theory, whatever that may be.
I Like scifi-fantasy, non-fiction, historical fiction genres. Liked Wot, Got, Pillars of Earth, Century trilogy. Last read: Maritan. luvd it
Loved reading (or listening to) this book. Malcolm Gladwell does it again with his gladwellian style of juxtaposing things in a different light. Gladwell does a great job of putting the stories in a proper sequence and the book flows nicely. With such boring topics, Gladwell knows how to make things shiny.
I have read all his books and this and Outliers are one of his best. Go for it. And Gladwell narration is one of the best too.
I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell but it didn't feel as though his heart was totally in this one. He makes some interesting points about how perceived disadvantages can be misleading but one sense this subject is better handled as a longer essay than a book treatment. As always, he weaves in some interesting subjects but overall it feels a bit like Gladwelll lite.
Ive tried them all....this one was a dud. It had moments but fizzled into uninteresting and uncompelling conjecture.
not at all.
Ive listened to them all. I suppose if this was your first Gladwell book it would be better. I got the sense he wrote this as a desperate attempt to fulfill a contract obligation.
Shallow in all aspects.
This book feels more like a series of musings, rather than balanced discussion.
kind of, but I felt the author's style was over dramatized
I liked some of the basic thoughts, about the best strategies for underdogs.
It was fine, but at the end the 'research' felt stretched and too biased
after outliers this was dissapointing , it never seems to get to the level of the former
an abridged version with a decent narrator ... sure
he seems to run out of breath and the uneven rhythm is annoying, like someone learning to drive a stick shift
what ? no!
This is the first of Malcolm Gladwell's books that I haven't loved. I didn't think the arguments he made in this one were as well supported as those in previous books. And though some of the stories were interesting, the theme that tied them together felt forced in places. I'll still look forward to his next one, but when I feel like re-listening to one of his I'll go with Outliers.
For an interesting and thought provoking listen or read, I have always counted on Gladwell's books. I've enjoyed them all, especially Outliers, for their hypotheses and stories. The author usually has interesting stories, including his own, that helps illustrate and "prove" the points. For some reason, neither the story nor the hypotheses seemed very strong here. The writing and performance good as usual, but the story as illustrations seemed forced. I almost did not finish this one.
Love to read . Love to hear audio books .
The real life explanation of each
No i haven't heard Gladwell's performance earlier . I look forward to hear his other performances.
yes i listened it in a single sitting
A great book
As much as I think I understand the circumstances that lead up to any situation, Malcolm is always there to let me know I'm trippin'.
I love the way Gladwell tells stories and induces theories from the stories. I don't always agree with his theories - they sound convincing but they're just theories - but I love the way he communicates and makes me think.
I really good listen.
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