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David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Hardcover – Oct 1 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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  • David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
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  • The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
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  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First edition (Oct. 1 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316204366
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316204361
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 717 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Truly intriguing and inspiring, especially when Gladwell discusses 'desirable difficulties'....Gladwell's account of the journey of Dr. Emil 'Jay' Freireich is unforgettable." ---Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times

"Provocative....David and Goliath is a lean, consuming read....The book's most crafty, engaging chapter ties together the Impressionist movement and college choices to highlight the fact that gaining admission to elite institutions, which we typically perceive as an advantage, is no guarantee of success." ---John Wilwol, San Francisco Chronicle

"As always, Gladwell's sweep is breathtaking and thought-provoking....I've long admired Gladwell's work." ---Joe Nocera, New York Times

"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

"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

"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

"Gladwell sells books by the millions because he is masterful at explaining how the world works---the power of critical mass, the arbitrariness of success, etc.---packaging his ideas in fun, accessible, and poignant vignettes." ---Lionel Beehner, USA Today

"Gladwell's most provocative book yet. David and Goliath challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, drawing upon history, psychology, and powerful narrative talent to rethink how we view the world around us and how to deal with the challenges life throws at us." ---Susanne Jaffe, Columbus Dispatch

"The bestselling author behind the inventive Outliers, Blink, and The Tipping Point is back with another thought provoking theory that fascinates, entertains, and informs. He gives underdogs their due this time, challenging everything readers believe about facing-and conquering-life's stumbling blocks, using the 'real' story of David and Goliath and more to make his point." ---Celeste Williams, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Gladwell has made a career out of questioning conventional wisdom, and here he examines the allegedly unlikely triumph of the weak over the mighty and shows it's not so unlikely after all. 4 stars." ---Judith Newman, People Magazine

"The 50-year-old Canadian is a superstar, the most popular staff writer on The New Yorker and a hero in the frequent-flier lounge where journalism, social science, business management, and self-help hang out....It's a good story and he's got plenty more." ---Jeff Baker, The Oregonian

"Pop culture pundit Malcolm Gladwell is an idea blender, mixing concepts from vastly different sources (everything from business to science to the Bible) to produce new ways of seeing the world." ---Barbara O'Dair, Reader's Digest

"Engrossing.... Gladwell's singular gift is animating the experience of his subjects. He has an uncanny ability to simplify without being simplistic: clean and vivid Strunk and White prose in the service of peerless storytelling." ---David Takami, Seattle Times

"Contemporary society can't escape history when Malcolm Gladwell explains the world as he does with David and Goliath."---Jane Henderson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell explores the dynamics that inform and effect our everyday lives. By analyzing the Biblical account of the clash between David and Goliath, Gladwell presents a bold new interpretation of the lessons we should apply from it." ---Today Show

About the Author

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. He is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw. Prior to joining The New Yorker, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He now lives in New York.


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By CD from BC TOP 1000 REVIEWER on Sept. 8 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gladwell is an easy to read author, and very thoughtful about life in the book. It enables the reader to challenge the standard conceptions that dominate life in a very interesting way. As I found success in my life I knew that there was more to my attitude than just being curious and detail oriented. Gladwell educates uses stories to help the the reader to understand the basis of causality and suggest a new viewpoint on assessing situations. This is a great read!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
very interesting read...as a physician, i found the first portion of the book, absolutely fascinating! in this section,he provides details about
the actual David & Goliath & their "battle"....the rest of the book was a very interesting treatise on pointing out real life examples of
how, what is perceived to be a weakness, can actually be a strength and, alternatively, how a perceived strength, can be exploited to
unexpected victory!...this is a good book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
At first this book was pretty good as the author had good examples of people overcoming situations that were highly not in their favor. As I keep reading, I basically see that's all it is and it's pretty pointless overall. My reading has significantly slowed down because it's getting really boring and repetitive. If you read the sample text, that's all you need.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
An easy read, well written, but somehow vacant. As I read elsewhere, Gladwell probably underestimates the entrenched Goliaths of the world -- if you had a choice to be David or Goliath, most of us wouldn't pick the underdog.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book. I did feel that Gladwell might be stretching his analogy a bit too much in some areas to make his arguments fit his thesis. However, overall, I appreciate the different perspectives he offered on how to evaluate the world.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've always enjoyed reading Gladwell's books. This one, however, seems to be a compilation of published articles, a bit as if he thought he could grab some extra money by recycling them. They do fit together though, but the book somehow doesn't seem finished. I kept waiting for him to tie everything together at the end in typical Gladwell style, but somehow it never happened. I felt cheated a bit. I'll have to reread it and see if I missed something.
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By A. Volk #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Oct. 5 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book begins with the classic tale of David versus Goliath. Traditionally interpreted as courage triumphing over great odds, Gladwell shows that this actually wasn't the case. Instead, it was in all likelihood Goliath who was in trouble. As anyone who's played Total War games knows, archers beat infantry and David was an archer with his sling. If he missed, he could just outrun Goliath, turn around and shoot again. Rinse and repeat until Goliath is dead. The huge, mighty, fearsome fighter Goliath was deadly, but there as a limit to his power. Which is essentially the theme of this book. Power, and in particular negative power, has limitations.

In particular Gladwell dwells on the counter-intuitive "inverted U" that underlies a lot of relationships. For example, adding punishment decreases crime, but is there a point at which applying too much punishment increases crime? Or being bombed is bad, but being nearly bombed can actually bolster one's moral as you realize you can survive something awful. Having smaller classes is good, but at some point smaller classes become worse for education. Going to an Ivy league school is good for some, but many more would benefit from not going to a top-level school. Gladwell also discusses how difficulties and challenges generate opportunities for some individuals to flourish. The harsh reality of losing a parent makes a minority of children even stronger, or at least more successful, than if they had never lost a parent.

This counter-intuitive kind of thinking is classic Gladwell, and it makes for an interesting yet informative read. There are a couple of issues I have with the book. First, there's more anecdotes and less science than in his previous books.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating and insightful discourse on the misconceptions arising out of perceived advantage and how an apparent disadvantage can be turned into an advantage with determination and a bit of luck. The book is aptly titled after the most iconic example of a mismatch but Gladwell pillories the belief that David was at a disadvantage and how, in fact, poor old Goliath didn't have a chance. Gladwell, in his typical humorous and pithy fashion, give one example after another of unlikely people with severe handicaps turning those disadvantages into brilliant success. A delightful read which should give hope to the disadvantaged who may not be disadvantaged at all.
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