Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

illustration by Rickey Beckett

DAVID & GOLIATH is my second Malcolm Gladwell read after THE TIPPING POINT (eight years ago) and the author once again provided intriguing and inspiring simplification of seemingly complex ideas and stories rooted in the socio-cultural layer of our history.

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy killed a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling. David & Goliath were never part of a myth as David's story is more than a legend and more than a piece of inspiration. With support from history scholars and scientists, Gladwell was able to explain that things do not really mean what they seem---especially when you look down at the underdogs and misfits. And turning the table to the one who cast a look; the very thing that makes people so intimidating can be the source of their greatest weakness.

Additional to David and Goliath story, sample stories of the French Impressionists, the German bombing of London, the Northern Ireland conflict between Protestants and Catholics, the American Civil Rights Movement, even up to the modern day coaching of basketball prove that misfits can significantly overcome obstacles and disadvantages by using the "disadvantage" itself, among other rules (and breaking of some rules).

Gladwell made it clear that David is the complete antidote to Goliath no matter the size and the skill differential. You cannot fight fire with fire as David became water to Goliath's fire and we all know who emerged victorious and who is left lifeless on the ground with a hole in the head from that glorious day of battle in ancient Palestine.

Genre: Strategy, Psychology, Business
Rating: 4 big fishes in a small lake

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