David and Goliath, by Malcolm Gladwell


This well researched masterpiece by Malcolm Gladwell challenges the common belief that David, as the underdog, is at a disadvantage compared to Goliath. Gladwell's argues the opposite in masterful story telling style. David, with his position as underdog, enjoys advantages not afforded Goliath. In fact, if David's strengths were examined in detail, Goliath actually stood no chance at all.

  1. Goliath-style benefits such as strength and size makes it vulnerable in some situations. Goliaths have to play by the rules. Underdogs have nothing to lose. This translates into a huge advantage in life and business.
  2. An example is a parent basketball coach who had never played basketball before coaching his all-girls team into repeated championships. He looked at his group of middle school girls, many of whom cannot shoot a basket and coached them to play the full court press.  It is an extremely tiring strategy but one does not require good shooters, just persistent blockers.  Rival teams complained that they did not play the way the industry intends the game to be played, that they "cheated."  But the fact is the team abided by all the rules.  It just did not win in the usual way by being good shooters.  The team won championships because they did not play the standard game and took their rivals by surprise.  
  3. Big fish in small pond is better off for your kids' development.  The confidence gained from being top of the peer group is important to success.  This has implications such as the fact that affirmative action ends up hurting more than helping because it sends people into a school that is above their ability. 
  4. Force without legitimacy leads to defiance.
  5. For when I am weak then I am strong. A higher percentage of entrepreneurs than average are dyslexic.  This is because of desirable difficulty.  Living with dyslexia usually puts people at a disadvantage.  Except those who manage to overcome this disadvantage come out with unusual skills that put them on the top.
Got 2h or so?  Totally worth a quick read and loved every minute.