Stop what you are doing and read, “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” by Malcolm Gladwell. Your life will thank you.
Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a pebble and a sling-and ever since, the names of David and Goliath have stood for battles between underdogs and giants. David’s victory was improbable and miraculous. He shouldn’t have won.
Or should he?
In DAVID AND GOLIATH, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.
In the tradition of Gladwell’s previous bestsellers-The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and What the Dog Saw-DAVID AND GOLIATH draws upon history, psychology and powerful story-telling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.
It’s pretty easy to look at stack of unwashed dishes and think, “Holy crap…I’ll never get these all clean.” Little intimidations like this happen every day, and range from tiny first-world problems to real personal tragedy. The way we react to them however, is the same in many ways.
If you’re anything like me, when you see the dishes stacked so high you can’t see any way of having them not topple over on you like an avalanche, you put your plate on the counter and just walk away. Taking one look at the problem and making a snap decision that it’s bigger than you can handle, is a trap each of us fall into. But not David…
In his book, Malcolm Gladwell writes about what David saw when met with a titan of intimidation and seemingly overwhelming odds. David saw opportunity in himself, and when he looked at Goliath he didn’t see a mountain of muscle or an impossible task. When David looked at Goliath he saw the giant for what he was, too big to be strong and completely unaware of what was coming his way.
Sometimes being big is a disadvantage. Giants tend to have great power, but less dexterity to use that power effectively. Underdogs on the other hand, have the freedom to stay mobile and the ability to make choices fast and act on them however the please. In David’s case all it took was the right stone, at the right place, at the right speed to send the biggest bully in history to the ground.
Gladwell tells the David and Goliath story more than a dozen times in his book, from middle-school female basketball teams, to dyslexic captains of industry, to civil rights activists, to holocaust survivors. Each time the story is told, we get to see the strength in sticking it out, and the value of trying even when it looks you can’t win. All it takes is some determination, and a little cleverness to turn your apparent weaknesses into strength.
This book can change the way you see yourself in the midst of a struggle. It can give an insight into the real powers at work when life is rough. It can give you vision past the first-glance intimidation that might keep you from doing your best. This book will make you think twice when you are afraid, and the next time a giant shows up asking for you to bow down, all you will ask in return is “where is my sling?”