David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants

by Malcolm Gladwell

“David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” is one of the many good books by one of my favorite authors.  Always entertaining and insightful, Malcolm Gladwell explains that a disadvantage can sometimes be an advantage in the form of a “desirable difficulty”.  Losing a parent and dyslexia are two of the examples of disadvantages that some people turn into advantages because they can build boldness, determination, and self-reliance.

The book is about underdogs battling giants; however, Gladwell doesn’t sugar coat the stories, making it plain that sometimes the underdogs win because they are bold enough to deceive others or are willing to disregard the feelings of others.  People with Asperger Syndrome, for example,  may benefit by being able to focus on a topic without being distracted.  While no parent would wish such things upon their child, success can come when you “use what you got.”

While the book is good and I agree with most of Gladwell’s conclusions, other conclusions are simplistic.   Gladwell uses case studies and examples rather than scientific data, so at the end of the day it comes down to whether you choose to agree with him.