David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants Paperback – 8 May 2014
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Intoxicating, powerful and morally engaged (Guardian)
Breath-taking and thought-provoking (New York Times)
Truly intriguing and inspiring (Los Angeles Times)
Gladwell's most enjoyable book so far. It is a feel-good extravaganza, nourishing both heart and mind. Each of its stories ... has an ending that is both happy and surprising. What ostensibly unites the stories are the twin ideas that an advantage can sometimes be a disadvantage and that a disadvantage can sometimes be an advantage. Yet there is something more powerful and more uplifting that also links them. It is that good beats bad - just when you least expected it (Financial Times)
When you read it, you feel like you can topple giants (Jon Ronson)
An energetic, counterintuitive exploration of why (and how) underdogs succeed (Guardian, Books of the Year)
Continuing to gently but persistently blow my mind (Lauren Laverne)
I devoured it in a single reading (Richard E. Grant)
The pre-eminent public intellectual of his age (The Times)
Bloody good (Gabby Logan)
About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What The Dog Saw and David and Goliath.
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Top Customer Reviews
There's a circle of scientific hell set aside for those who build their theses from anecdotes and artfully chosen evidence. However, people love anecdotes and when skilfully done it can bamboozle the critical faculties of the audience like a well rehearsed magic trick. The problem is, in David and Goliath, the patter seems a bit more forced, Gladwell fluffs the shuffle and we can, quite clearly, see a dove's head poking out of his sleeve and cooing insistently.
The anecdotes drag out a bit too long, to the extent that you start to wonder not only what the point is, but whether there's a point at all. Sometimes the point is separated so distantly from the anecdote that a quick flick back through the book is necessary. When that happens, the author has lost control and the effect falls to pieces. Gladwell relies so heavily on effect rather than a coherent argument that if we don't buy into it completely, we don't buy into it at all.
That's not to say that there's nothing in the book worth reading. There are some excellent paradoxical nuggets of insight and he still has a knack for taking something familiar - like the story of David and Goliath, which opens the book - and giving you a whole new way of looking at it. He also has a collection of stories about people that are fascinating in their own right.
So, yes, there are high points scattered through the book, but the whole seems half finished as if he didn't have the time to properly gather his thoughts together before committing them to the printer.
Overall, if you're looking for a fun read buy this book, but if you're looking to learn the "art of battling giants", this isn't going to do it. And since that's part of the title, this book only earns 2-stars.
However, in his latest book, David and Goliath, he demonstrates faulty reasoning, such as what Christopher Chabris characterizes as "the fallacy of the unexamined premise." He also has problems with causal relationships and this is not the first time that Gladwell confuses "because" with "despite." For example, consider his assertion that attorney David Boies's great success is largely explained by the fact that he is dyslexic. Overcoming learning disabilities may have been - for Boies as well as countless others -- what Warren Bennis and David Thomas characterize as a "crucible" that strengthens and enlightens those who emerge from it.
In this context, I am reminded of the fact that one of the world's most renowned authorities on ADHD, Edward ("Ned") Hallowell, is an author of countless books and articles on the subject, a child and adult psychiatrist, and a New York Times bestselling author.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was waiting for some extraordinary insights about how to use the power of the underdog from this book - they didn't materialise and I ended up having to wade through the book in... Read morePublished 10 days ago by Seeker
The book is poorly written.
Firstly, his writing style is ugly and condescending. It deploys repetitions, and unnecessary italicisings; he makes assumptions about the... Read more
The Los Angeles Times said Malcolm's book is "Truly Intriguing and inspiring" - a great description. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mr. N. A. McKee
Brilliant book, one of my favourites to date. No only did I learn about events in history I had no idea about it also left me feeling positive and great. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mis Allen
Can be repetitive. Gladwell makes far-reaching conclusions from slim evidencePublished 4 months ago by Mr. Moshe Elias