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David and Goliath: Book summary and reviews of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath

Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

by Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell X
David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
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About this book

Book Summary

Malcolm Gladwell, the #1 bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw, offers his most provocative---and dazzling---book yet.

Three thousand years ago on a battlefield in ancient Palestine, a shepherd boy felled a mighty warrior with nothing more than a stone and a sling, and ever since then 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 have?

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, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.

Gladwell begins with the real story of what happened between the giant and the shepherd boy those many years ago. From there, David and Goliath examines Northern Ireland's Troubles, the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, murder and the high costs of revenge, and the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms---all to demonstrate how much of what is beautiful and important in the world arises from what looks like suffering and adversity.

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 storytelling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"The notion that a rule holds true except for when it doesn't runs through David and Goliath, and insulates its arguments from deep interrogation. Is it really advantageous to have severe dyslexia? Yes, and certainly not. Are children better off without their parents? Don't be silly, but it could be so. These non-answers rub the dazzle from Gladwell's clever thesis statements, until they all begin to look like dullish intuition." - Slate

"One thing David and Goliath shows is that Mr. Gladwell has not changed his own strategy, despite serious criticism of his prior work. What he presents are mostly just intriguing possibilities and musings about human behavior, but what his publisher sells them as, and what his readers may incorrectly take them for, are lawful, causal rules that explain how the world really works. Mr. Gladwell should acknowledge when he is speculating or working with thin evidentiary soup. Yet far from abandoning his hand or even standing pat, Mr. Gladwell has doubled down. This will surely bring more success to a Goliath of nonfiction writing, but not to his readers." - Wall Street Journal

"Malcolm Gladwell has long traded in paradox. The paradoxes of his two previous bestselling theses – Blink and Outliers – included the fact that they almost exactly contradicted each other: one was a hymn to the power of instinctive thought; the other a paean to the overwhelming importance of long and dedicated study. What they shared was the author's lucrative obsession with the counterintuitive. Gladwell is most attracted to stories in which individual insight (either from a painstaking outlier, or a eureka-moment blinker) overturns received wisdom – stories which generally have the useful subtext of burnishing his own reputation for intellectual surprise, for pulling the zeitgeist out of the hat.... [the ideas are not], if you stop and think, so surprising. The great pleasure of it is having Gladwell do the stopping and thinking for you." - The Guardian

This information about David and Goliath was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Holly Steck

I love it
This book is based off the true story about them and very well detailed and edgy twist kind of I love this book so much you don't want to stop reading it!

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Author Information

Malcolm Gladwell Author Biography

Malcolm Gladwell is the author of five New York Times bestsellers — The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw, and David and Goliath. He is also the co-founder of Pushkin Industries, an audio content company that produces the podcasts Revisionist History, which reconsiders things both overlooked and misunderstood, and Broken Record, where he, Rick Rubin, and Bruce Headlam interview musicians across a wide range of genres. Gladwell has been included in the TIME 100 Most Influential People list and touted as one of Foreign Policy's Top Global Thinkers.

Author Interview
Link to Malcolm Gladwell's Website

Other books by Malcolm Gladwell at BookBrowse
  • The Tipping Point jacket

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