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on 8 September 2015
I loved this book & being a big fan of the author already, I am left not disappointed. Some great views of the underdog in all different scenarios of which all are very interesting. If you're a Malcolm Gladwell fan I'd recommend.
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on 28 August 2015
Typical Malcolm Gladwell, thought provoking, educational and inspirational all in one book. He is the master of the lateral view of the seemingly obvious, challenging perceptions with logic, research and analytical skill.
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on 2 January 2015
Malcolm Gladwell, journalist, best selling writer and TED speaker, takes the every day, the things in life we take for granted, the things we never question. He turns them up side down and inside out, looks at reasons why things happen, the bizarre phenomena of what goes on around us. He makes us think about stuff, all sorts of stuff. Much of his writings have not had good press or good reviews with researchers, academics: he misrepresents facts and figures, oversimplifying the research. But if you go into reading his books knowing that there are plenty of experts sceptical about what he writes, then you will probably enjoy them even more. In the times we live in where we are constantly being fed a diet of reality TV rubbish, political spin doctors, multinational spin doctors, the excitement of celebrity lives, we need to question the world around us. It is so refreshing to be able to read something that challenges the brain, and may even lead us to question further the society we live in. I have loved the author's other books - Outliers, The Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, and Blink. Easy to read and digest, interesting topics, loads of research, wonderfully engaging writing style - what is there not to like?

This is Mr Gladwell's latest offering, and is as entertaining and interesting as his other books. Opening with the story we have all grown up with, David and Goliath, he turns the story and the reason for its outcome inside out with some great revelations as to why a tiny undernourished shepherd boy was able to knock down and kill a giant of a man, a professional soldier, with a stone fired from a sling shot. Another chapter looks at how it may well be better for your child to go to a school or university which is not in the top ten highest achievers/prestigious etc. Your child could well do much better being a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond. Or that sometimes the rule book does need to be thrown out with the bath water, that peaceful resistance can work. He writes about some successful business people who have not let learning disabilities they were born with hold them back. Instead these people had to find other ways, less conventional and even slightly alarming ways, to over ride their disabilities and achieve. Many of the people in his book are ordinary, average, people next door type of people. But they have all become extraordinary in their lives for being able to think outside the square and trusting their own gut intuition.

It is inspiring to know that, if we just think a little bit around the problem, rather than looking at head on, then the odds may well not be stacked against us as much as we initially thought.
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on 18 November 2013
While I enjoyed this book, I was disappointed by how few memorable moments it has compared to, for example, Blink. It felt like a lightweight book, not as focused and rich as I expected, but I did like many bits that it's found motivating.
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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 8 January 2014
Malcolm rarely disappoints, some wonderful anecdotes, brilliant references to the bible. An absolutely first class read and instruction manual for anyone male or female, any team, any department, any nation who need to fight on principles against the "big".

I particularly loved the description of the David and Goliath story, it was told so vividly, I could see it in my minds eye, it made sense and created a series of paradigm shifts in my head regarding the way I have heard the story in the past.

I will read this again and again, just like watching a good film, to spot the subtle nuggets I may have missed on my first reading.
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on 8 November 2014
I read this book in less than a week, although I did not like the fact that the book was about a number of personalities which is not what I expected but most of the chapters were a joy to read especially the first one ...
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2014
Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath" is about perceived advantages and disadvantages, and how they may not be all that they seem. The points are brought to life using stories of real-life people.

For example the introduction discusses Goliath the giant and how he was felled by the tiny shepherd boy David. We assume Goliath, because he is big and dressed as a warrior, will win the battle but really the weapons used, plus other things, put him at a disadvantage, as evident from the outcome of the bout.

Then we get into the book proper with a chapter looking at a youth basketball coach doing things unconventionally to great effect despite the fact the team has not the best players.

Other chapters of the book look at:

* whether smaller class sizes are better
* whether being a small fish in a big pond, e.g. a great institution like a top university, is better than being a big fish in a smaller pond
* whether dyslexia is a disadvantage or a desirable difficulty
* how losing a parent at a young age, a traumatic experience, can lead to a different, possibly advantageous outlook in life later
* how when you have nothing to lose you can have unexpected power
* and so on.

All the while this is told through people's real stories, some of which are really touching like the way leukaemia used to mean certain death for the kids who had it, but thanks to pioneers is now a treatable cancer.

Overall then this is a readable book that gets you thinking about things differently, although the focus is on the positive attributes rather than the negative, e.g. dyslexia and how one third of entrepreneurs are dyslexic with only a brief mention how kids with dyslexia are more likely to end up in the juvenile system. Also at the end the same idea seems to be presented multiple times. But a good read nonetheless.
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on 6 October 2014
A fantastic book and worth the money. Some not so interesting chapters but at least they made sense.

This is typical MG work and a fan of his like I am won't be disappointed. This is real life and not fiction.
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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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