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

The story of David and Goliath in the Bible is only one of many stories that appear to have a forgone conclusion come to a surprise ending. Gladwell takes an interesting look not only through the eyes of David but those of Goliath as well. Beginning with this story he provides a number of examples of how those facing great challenges overcame adversity to make a difference. He also discusses a couple of people that made a big difference with unexpected and not always positive outcomes.

Using illustrations from war and sports he discusses the advantages you can take even when you’re the underdog and take advantage of your strengths and the opponent’s weakness. Interweaving stories to illustrate his points he helps you see that doing what seems the obvious best path is not always the case. One of the illustrations is of a young lady that made the choice to go to a more prestigious and demanding school than another excellent institution she had been accepted at because she thought it would be better for her career. In the end she left her field of study because of the level of competition at the school she choose. It is great food for thought for those making decisions about their future based on what we assume others will think.

Looking at common assumptions like more teachers and smaller classes mean a better education and longer tougher sentences always reduce crime Gladwell will make you think about many of your assumptions about things in life and question if common belief makes it correct thinking.

I found the book inspiring in that sometimes the challenges we face in life seem overwhelming and change comes from those that face adversity and don’t think of it as an impossibility but a challenge to be overcome.

While the David and Goliath story may only be the introduction you do begin to see the parallels and I found it encouraging to think that staying the course often takes courage to go on when other allow their fear to make them quit.