David and Goliath

Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Non-Fiction - Audiobook
320 Pages
Reviewed on 01/01/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Mary DeKok Blowers for Readers' Favorite

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell is a business psychology book, dealing with behaviors that contribute to success, either understandably or conversely. The name refers to the account in the Christian Bible of David, a young shepherd boy who was destined to become King of Israel. The reason it relates to the principles in this book is that one episode in David’s life included battling Goliath, a Philistine giant who was challenging the Israelites. David was clearly an underdog, with no weapons, armor, or physical magnitude. What he did have was skill in killing wild beasts with a sling and stones, while protecting his sheep. He refused the current king’s offer of armor and weapons as being too heavy and unfamiliar to him. Gladwell states, “He shouldn’t have won — Or should he have?” What David also had was the favor of the omnipotent God. Gladwell’s rationale, however, states in details of the Biblical account, Goliath could not see well and was mentally defective, merely a brute force to flatten the enemy.

Whatever the factors, David did come through for the Israelites. Malcolm Gladwell goes on to give many examples of poor schools, handicapped people, and others, who maintain advantages that are unseen by others. Football teams that don’t have the best players but have a goal merely to try harder than anyone else may well win the game. Richard Branson, who has dyslexia, is profiled. He went above and beyond his expectations to found Virgin, the multifaceted corporation of great success. The point is that no matter your disadvantages, you can rise above and accomplish great things.

Alex Maynard

I deeply enjoyed reading this book. The structure was incredibly crafted with very smooth transitions from one idea to the next, always tying in ideas that had already been discussed previously, and explaining the connections clearly. This lead to a building effect where the points were even further driven-home as the book continued. The sentences flowed together seamlessly allowing for a quick, easy read.
The actual content matter of the book provoked lots of personal reflection and in-depth thinking trying to decipher the merit of what was being said. Each topic was controversial in its own right, but upon reading could be shown to be the truth of reality.
The themes were consistent throughout every section each posing a paradox that the author would spend the rest of the chapter proving correct. The proof was offered in the form of at least one anecdote, including quotes from the interview, conducted by the author, of the individuals involved in the scenario. The paradox was then further proven using scientific studies and factual research done on the topic, which adds in a increased level of credibility to the authors claims. Every claim came with a underlying truth; although the paradox can be true, the scenarios where the paradox is true are nearly always required more work and hardship from the individual affected.
Overall I deeply enjoyed reading this book and found it thought-provoking and intellectual, giving a clarity to the reality of the world.