David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants Hardcover – 3 Oct 2013
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When you read it, you feel like you can topple giants (Jon Ronson)
I devoured it in a single reading, being a Gladwell addict for many years (Richard E. Grant)
His most accessible book ... A Scheherazade for our time, talking to keep us going and make us think (Gaby Wood Daily Telegraph)
His best yet ... intoxicating, powerful ... more socially and morally engaged than his previous work (Oliver Burkeman Guardian)
A pleasure (Tim Adams Observer)
Lovely ... as with most of Gladwell's books he had me at hello - the initial thesis is simply irresistible (Leah McLaren Globe and Mail)
Truly intriguing and inspiring ... unforgettable (Hector Tobar Los Angeles Times)
As always, Gladwell's sweep is breathtaking and thought-provoking ... I've long admired Gladwell's work (Joe Nocera The New York Times)
Fascinating ... Gladwell is a master of synthesis. This perennially bestselling author prides himself on radical re-thinking and urges the rest of us to follow suit (Heller McAlpin Washington Post)
David and Goliath readers will travel with colorful characters who overcame great difficulties and learn fascinating facts about the Battle of Britain, cancer medicine and the struggle for civil rights, to name just a few topics upon which Mr. Gladwell's wide-ranging narrative touches. This is an entertaining book (Christopher F. Chabris Wall Street Journal)
What propels the book, like all of Gladwell's writing, is his intoxicating brand of storytelling. He is the master of mixing familiar elements with surprise counter-intuitions, and then seasoning with a sprinkling of scientific evidence ... Gladwell is a master craftsman, an outlier amongst authors (Rob Brooks Huffington Post)
Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath, an energetic, counterintuitive exploration of why (and how) underdogs succeed, and how disabilities, traumatic childhoods, and other seeming lacks can sometimes trump power (Guardian, Books of the Year 2013)
About the Author
Malcolm Gladwell is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, and author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What The Dog Saw.
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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
This will now be a very special book as it was read at a special time in my life!
It is a great easy read and at the same time a fantastically wise set of stories analysed... Read more
Written in typical Gladwellian style, this book provides interesting material that makes the reader reconsider. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Val Mullally
Another gem from Malcolm Gladwell. Not as good as some of his others most of which I've read in one sitting. This one not so much though the content is good. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
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 1 month 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 2 months 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 2 months ago by Mis Allen
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