In classic Malcolm Gladwell prose and observation, the author of Outliers and Blink gives us David And Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
It’s a fascinating book. The basic idea is this: things that seem like disadvantages are not, and so-called advantages can actually be crippling and backfire on us. I broke it down below.
Part One: The Advantages of Disadvantages (and the Disadvantages of Advantages)
Gladwell first talks about David not as a little shepherd boy, but as a slinger. He shows that B.C. slingers were able to sling a stone equal to the power of a .45-gauge pistol. David’s size and lack of weaponry looked like an apparent disadvantage that was actually advantageous.
Then he writes about the giant Goliath, who seems to have no disadvantages. Gladwell writes that Goliath possibly had physical issues, including bad eyesight and poor agility, both apparently symptoms of acromegaly.
Thus, leading to the giant’s defeat.
Part Two: The Theory of Desirable Difficulty
Beginning this section with 2 Corinthians 12:7-10, Gladwell presents the ideas that “disabilities” like dyslexia, the loss of a parent at a young age, and mediocre universities are all good for you. Difficulty can lead to determination, success, and character that could change the world.
Part Three: The Limits of Power
Here, Gladwell basically says that too much power, too firm a fist, or too strict of laws can backfire and do the opposite of their purpose.
This book fits in the bookshelf beside his other works with ease, and with ease I read it. I recommend.