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Malcolm Gladwell: David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
When Disadvantages Become Advantages
I was lucky enough to see an interview with Malcolm Gladwell on his newest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart." Jon Stewart has a guest on almost every single episode, with many of them being authors of new books.
I became aware of Malcolm Gladwell in 2000, when he came out with The Tipping Point, which examined the idea of when some small spark can turn the tide in a given situation. The Tipping Point was and is one of the best business books that has ever come out, and really was a fascinating study on tipping points.
Since 2000, Gladwell has published Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures, Outliers: The Story of Success, and now his newest book which just came out October 1, 2013, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
What Gladwell does in his books is raise questions more than provide us with answers. His books make us look at things in a new way, and consider our world, especially the business world with new eyes.
I was fascinated by his interview, because he talked a bit about how he comes up with an idea, and then researches it. This newest book examines our assumptions about what we call disadvantages and advantages.
This is a different interview (use the link above to see the Jon Stewart interview)
Anyone who was raised in the Western World is familiar with the story of David and Goliath--how a simple shepherd could defeat a giant warrior. Gladwell looks at this situation in the business world today with an eye towards how often people with perceived disadvantages achieve success against the odds. In the David and Goliath story, David comes to battle with his slingshot against a trained warrior and beats him. David has many disadvantages in the tale including his size, his lack of training, and his weapon.
In the interview, Gladwell talked about often people who grow up with disadvantages such as dyslexia are successful in a much higher percentage in business than they exist in society as a whole. The statistics bear out with his research which you can read in the book. The question is why?
Which of Gladwell's books is your favorite?
Choose your favorite Malcolm Gladwell book
Malcolm Gladwell chases the question of what is really a disadvantage in becoming successful. That our notion of advantage and disadvantage may be skewed.
He talked about people with dyslexia on the Jon Stewart Show as an example. For instance, children with dyslexia struggle with many everyday tasks like schoolwork that the average person takes for granted. This means that they are often miserable during their youth, disadvantaged.
However, in adulthood, the percentage of people who are dyslexics and become successful, is significantly higher than the percentage of dyslexics in the general population. One of the key factors that Gladwell looks at in David and Goliath is that due to their disadvantage, dyslexia, these people have to learn strategies to overcome their obstacles in unusual ways and that the need to do this ends up turning a perceived disadvantage into an advantage in adulthood.
The book is not just about dyslexics; this is just an example of a perceived disadvantage. It is similar to the question of why two people that are raised in the same household, even twins, can turn out completely different. I highly recommend that you pick up this book, available currently in hardcover and on Kindle, and follow the journey that Malcolm Gladwell opens up for us in his new book.
Previous Books by Malcolm Gladwell
© 2014 Paula Atwell