Book Review: David & Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell

By in Books, Business, Creative Life | 2 comments

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“No-one does insight porn quite as well as Malcolm Gladwell.”


I read this comment Good Reads and couldn’t get it out of my head…


david and goliath

It’s true:

Like a teenager reading (what used to be called) a ‘brown wrapper magazine,’ I couldn’t tear myself away from this book.

As another of Gladwell’s masterpiece “accessible psychology” books, David & Goliath makes you rethink what you know about something (underdogs) and take for granted (that they get beaten).

To introduce his big idea, Gladwell turns the biblical story of David and Goliath upside down and casts the thought that David wasn’t an underdog at all. He goes on to explain that David had a number of advantages that raised his odds of winning – ones that a seasoned warrior like Goliath, should have spotted.

So how, at times, do the David’s of the world overcome obstacles, and the Goliaths become vulnerable to the underdog?


The Big Idea:

The theme of this book is thought provoking. The title suggests it’s about how underdogs break the rules and defeat the privileged. But it isn’t really about that.

That is, it’s not about underdogs and giants in the conventional sense of those words. Instead, the book is about the curious nature of advantages and disadvantages, and how they can transform (under certain circumstances) to become their opposite.


Strategic Master Strokes:

Gladwell is a master of telling an accepted story (that is common knowledge), using a different narrative. He then uses supportive anecdotes and arguments from different spheres of life, to strengthen his story thread.

He has a knack for presenting (what could be) dry information, like statistics, in a compelling way and without doubt, the story threads he weaves are always riveting. Even if you’re not convinced by his theories, they’re always provoking and the conversations sparked will keep going on…


Tactical Coup d’états:

Reading the book gives you a different perspective on the things we assume are accepted knowledge, the certainties of life and its biggest challenges.

It champions those in our midst that are considered ‘underdogs’ and ‘unexpected achievers,’ and shows that strong characters and hidden strengths can emerge from the trials and tragedies they experience.


Read it and be inspired to turn every disadvantage in your life into your strongest asset.


Recommended For:


Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants

Get it from The Book Depository (non-affiliate) with FREE worldwide shipping


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  1. Di Mace

    April 27, 2014

    Post a Reply

    Yes, it’s also available on Amazon – also try your local library! I use Book Depository because they have free shipping, helps when you live Downunder 🙂

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