David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
After hearing Malcolm Gladwell speak at Belmont last month, I knew I would enjoy his latest book, David and Goliath!
In person and in print, Gladwell is a master storyteller, and a good story has been the way to connect, educate, and entertain since cave man days. The way you keep 900 folks in their seats for 45 minutes is to tell them a story. “Once upon a time” isn’t just the first sentence, it’s an invitation to lean into the campfire.
When our book club discussed David and Goliath last month, each of us was asked to share our favorite story from the book. No one had any trouble remembering one or more —vividly. Wyatt Walker and MLK in Birmingham, Jay Freireich, the fearful and fearless cancer expert, Joanne Jaffe and the Brownsville projects, Rosemary Lawlor and the “Troubles” in Ireland.
I can’t tell you what I had for lunch yesterday, but I can tell you everything about Vivek Ranadive and his “nerdy” girls basketball team.
Gladwell encourages us to challenge the way we think about advantages and disadvantages, opportunities and obstacles. Was David really an underdog? Was Goliath really so impregnable? Was David’s victory really so improbable?
Critics of Malcolm Gladwell claim that science doesn’t back up his stories. The samples are too small, no control group, whatever.
The critics miss the point. The point is to reconsider our beliefs. Not to assume that being small, dyslexic, or a minority dictates failure any more than being big, well educated, or powerful presumes success.
A provocative and entertaining read.