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on 1 November 2014
Another great book from Mr Gladwell. Not about trading but traders need to have it.
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on 3 August 2016
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. It's maybe a bit bittier than some of his other books. Still one of my favourite authors and if you haven't head of him don't strat with this one.Start with the Tipping Point.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 May 2014
I have been into the non-fiction books recently (the best being Flash Boys and Ouch!: Ignorance is Bliss, Except when It Hurts- What You Don't Know About Money and Why It Matters (More Than You Think)), and I picked up "David and Goliath" from my local library - I remember sometime ago this books created quite a hype and divided the readers into the ones who praised it and the ones who called it flawed. I am afraid I am with the latter group. And I am not even talking about [what I thought] was quite disrespectful tone Malcolm Gladwell uses when he writes about Martin Luther King or conflicts in Northern Ireland. Throughout the book the author is more interested in amusing himself with rhymes than providing some research (yes, there is a section at the end of the book with various reference provided, but yet again, the citations are jammed with Mr Gladwell's own comments and thoughts.

Just a couple of examples that come to mind:

It all starts right in the Introduction, where Malcolm Gladwell informs his readers that "what medical experts now believe, in fact, that Goliath had a serious medical condition". "Medical experts" - who? "Believe" - that comes from the well-researched book of the New Yorker journalist? "Goliath had a serious medical condition" - Goliath, that giant from the Bible, a fictional kight.

The chapter on basketball was simply boring. And how many times one can use the word "awesome" before the word processor stars to underline is as a questionable repetition?

Oh, and my "favourite" contradiction is about dyslexia. In one chapter Gladwell is all up for it and praises the condition, persuading us to wish our children had it. A few chapters into the book, he claims that "there are a remarkable number of dyslexics in prison" etc. Suddenly, dyspexia is not so desirable, and a few people who made it to the top despite the condition are happy exceptions, rather than rules of people suffering from dyslexia.

All in all, I thought the book was rather weak, appallingly researched, generalising, and ridiculous (if not hazardous) on account of its slapdash credibility. It jumps from one subject to the other and back and is quite ghastly. In the end, I did not feel his theory on underdogs was plausible at all. I did not like it and I am not planning to read more of Malcolm Gladwell in the future.
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on 10 November 2013
Who are the underdogs? What makes them underdogs? Are they weak or is it just another perception of people who cannot understand some things and therefore, love to label them to their convenience? Perhaps the concept of the underdog has been grossly misunderstood. Perhaps it needs to be relooked given how some of them have fought battles and won against giants, with may be limited resources. Is it always the case though? Do underdogs win all the time? Did David win against Goliath by mere chance or did he have some clear advantages, which the giant did not? With this premise in mind, Malcolm Gladwell's new book, "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" is all about this principle, presented with facts and approaches it with a range of examples of the number of Davids and their struggle to get ahead.

I had read one book written by Gladwell before reading his latest work. I was hesitant - also because I had heard that the book was not that great. However, I took my chance and read it, finished it in a span of a day and a half and thoroughly enjoyed it. The book hooks you on from Page 1 and then there is no letting go. I think to a large extent the book connects with you, because we all feel that we have been or are underdogs at one point or the other. So you not only end up reading the book for what it is, but also silently cheering for the misfit to make it big.

The book is divided into three sections - the first one is about how advantages are sometimes disadvantages and vice-versa. Things are never what they seem and one always has to look for different alternatives to rise above. From a novice basketball coach to the number of children in one classroom in the schools of America and across the world to the most interesting theory of "Big Fish in a Small Pond and Small Fish in a Big Pond", this section is my most favourite in the entire book. The second section is about weaknesses and how desirable they can be given how many people succeeded with them. Handicaps need not always be handicaps. The third and final section of the book is about the limits of power and how it does not always be everything, given any context or situation.

"David and Goliath" is not only an insightful read, but also at some level it does become a personal read, right from the first to the last section. You tend to relate to situations and anecdotes and I found myself nodding in affirmation to most of them. The book is a light read. The statistics do not flummox the reader, which is very good, given the nature of the book. "David & Goliath" is the kind of book that will make you contemplate situations around you and probably reassess them - mostly with respect to the so-called "misfits and underdogs".
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"Then David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone; and he slung it and struck the Philistine in his forehead, so that the stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him." -- 1 Samuel 17:49-50 (NKJV)

I enjoyed every single story in the book. Mr. Gladwell is a fine storyteller. My disappointment was that the book didn't provide more practical advice.

There are three parts: the advantages of disadvantages (and the disadvantages of advantages), the theory of desirable difficulty, and the limits of power.

In the first part, the title could just as easily be: misunderstandings about advantages and disadvantages. They key lesson actually comes from the first story about how an experienced basketball coach built a winning team around extreme defense ... because the team didn't have much else going for it: make the most out of whatever advantage you can gain. The most practical application came in the material about how it's better to go to a lesser college and be a star there than to not be a star at a more highly regarded college.

In the second part, the title could just as easily be: slow down and notice what's going on. The examples show how concentration ... despite difficulties in doing so ... yields great insights and results.

In the third part, the title could just as easily be: don't push people too far, they'll get stronger in resistance.

So if you thought this book was going to give you some huge new insight from academia, I doubt if that will be the case. If you hoped to find some bit of practical advice for what to do differently, there's little past some good principles. The college lesson, however, is worth the price of the book for any high school seniors who will soon be making such decisions.

Enjoy some fun reading!
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on 17 January 2014
I'm an great fan of Malcolm Gladwell . I have recommended all his previous books to my friends. His latest effort is a good read but doesn't match the quality of his early ones. The ten stories told in the book are interesting, some very much so, but the central theme of the book is stretched too much to be believable.
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on 18 May 2014
This is an interesting book with detailed stories to illustrate the arguments. However, when the story is presented with a level of checkable detail and turns out to be absurd, that undermines the argument and the credibility of what remains. Gary Cohn (now head of Goldman Sachs) tells the story of how he came into trading. He gets into a taxi in the Friday rush hour with a trader who is setting up an options trading division. Cohn pretends to be the expert and comes in on Monday morning to get the job. He spends the weekend reading The MacMillan 'Options as a strategic investment' book. Gladwell tells us that he works through it one word at a time, repeating sentences until he understands them. He then tells us that Cohn would take 6 hours to read the 22 page chapter we are reading. So, assume he went bought the book on the way home he will have had max 6 hours on the Friday. Assume he was in at 0900 on Monday. Plus the 48 hours for the weekend makes 63 hours. 63 divided by 6 makes 10.5 lots of 22 pages which is 231 pages. The trouble is that the current edition of the MacMillan is 1048 pages. So, with no knowledge he was able to choose the correct 22% of the book that he needed? And that required that he read continuously, which is extremely hard for dyslexics. As with all good arguments, the devil can be found in the detail and Gladwell skates over the surface, which is often a fascinating place to start, but we cannot trust that it won't unravel if we just knew a little more.
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on 28 November 2013
I'm a fairly big Gladwell fan and thought outliers was one of the best books I've ever read. This isn't quite up to standard but it's still a very worthwhile read. The ease with which Gladwell gets his points across along with so much background info will always make reading his stuff a worthwhile way to pass the time.
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on 5 January 2016
Amazing book. His best yet. Highly readable - informative, entertaining & inspiring. I have enjoyed all of Gladwell's books - this is superb. I gave several as Xmas presents & has gone well with friends & family.

Very readable - because of style of writing - content is rich. Can get through in no time.
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on 23 February 2015
A decent book about what happens when people go up against big odds. The historical elements are interesting and, as you'd expect from Mr. Gladwell, it's well written. It does not - however contribute much in terms of new theories of the world or new thoughts for that matter. Still well worth the read.
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