Books and Me: David and Goliath

Book Title: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the art of battling giantsDavid-Goliath Book Cover

Author:Malcolm Gladwell

Somehow this book of Malcolm Gladwell did not keep me as gripped as the earlier ones. That does not mean the book is not good. This is the problem that an author creates for himself or herself: raising the bar / expectations by producing great work. I think the problem is that the book seems predictable very quickly – because it has the usual Gladwell style. It has interesting stories, interesting insights into older stories that we might already know and many new ones dug out from literature. The book also refers enough to scholarly research as much as to examples. Overall an interesting book.

It will help people who feel disadvantaged about how they can work themselves against difficulties. The stories are themselves so beautifully integrated with scholarly research supporting it. I wondered many times how Gladwell finds the right reference from such a large body of academic writing.

Some key observations from the book that one can take away:

  • We need to change the way we see advantages and disadvantages
  • More of something does not necessarily mean better (more money, smaller class size, more power and authority, etc)
  • Disadvantages can also drive people to success (Dyslexia, Trauma victims, underdog groups, etc)
  • And many such interesting stories

But somehow through the book we find ourselves moving across too many topics and trying to make connections that seem too difficult to make, even though Gladwell helps us. I enjoyed reading the book, but towards the second half of the book, lost interest. I felt that we were trying to make too many stretched connections to make points. It is good to see patterns, but patterns for the sake of patterns seem quite unpleasing even to our minds.

Though Gladwell has the capacity to bring together stories and research and help see connections that are contrarian to what we commonly believe, I think we have seen and heard that enough now. It is time to see some new and different writing from this interesting author. I am still a big fan of Gladwell’s writings and definitely look forward to seeing his next book.

I am also very sure if someone were to study entrepreneurs who have made it big, there will be interesting backgrounds that we will unearth. Would their disadvantages have made them successful entrepreneurs or would it have been their tragic childhood days that brought them unimaginable success? But while exceptions give us amazing stories and inspire us, can be for the majority of us to emulate – requires more thinking!

While all of us involved in entrepreneurship think about this, you can learn a lot about psychology from this book. I am sure it will lead you to interesting academic papers while also providing interesting anecdotes for you to talk about.

Happy Reading!


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