Malcom Gladwell is a master storyteller who weaves his thesis proof points throughout the stories, leaving you nodding your head in agreement and mouth agape with amazement. I thoroughly enjoyed The Tipping Point, Blink and Outliers. I was less than impressed with David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants.
The point of the book is to acknowledge the limitations of your own advantages and shift your perspective to use your advantages to achieve the greatest success. Gladwll uses several stories to illustrate this point, including the classic David vs. Goliath tale. But he also uses examples from education, wealth, crime and war to demonstrate how a simple shift in perspective has the power to turn what may seem as a disadvantage into a winning approach.
Here are my favorite quotes from the book:
“Underdog strategies are hard.” -> “That’s why attitude plays such a big role in this, because you’re going to get tired.”
“To play by David’s rules you have to be desperate. You have to be so bad that you have no choice.”
“He who doesn’t have it, does it, and he who has it, misuses it. Wealth contains the seeds of its own destruction.”
“…in certain circumstances a virtue can be made of necessity.”
“…[do] we as a society need people who have emerged from some kind of trauma–and the answer is that we plainly do. This is not a pleasant fact to contemplate. For every remote miss who becomes stronger, there are countless near misses who are crushed by what they have been through. There are times and places, however, when all of us depend on people who have been hardened by their experiences.”
“…power has an important limitation. It has to be seen as legitimate, or else its use has the opposite of its intended effect.”
“…’more’ is not always better; there comes a point, in fact, when the extra resources that the powerful think of as their greatest advantage only serve to make things worse.”
“The powerful are not as powerful as they seem — nor the weak as weak.”
“The excessive use of force creates legitimacy problems, and force without legitimacy leads to defiance, not submission.”
In my opinion, thought I am glad that I read it, this is one Gladwell book you can skip.