Book Review: David & Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell

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


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


It’s true:David & Goliath

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.


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 a 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, 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:

  • Anyone who likes to challenge their own thinking: about people, stereotypes and archetypes. Well after finishing it will still spark new thought patterns and alter your previous brain synapses pathways.
  • Marketers and writers looking to master the non-fiction storytelling style of writing.
  • If you’ve ever wanted to make what seems like a disadvantage into an advantage, this is your book.


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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Di 3I help people and businesses win, wow and woo with words.
As a brand journalist, story-based copywriter and marketer, I craft persuasive words and brand stories... that matter
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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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