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David and Goliath: Malcolm Gladwell's tour de force

Updated on October 3, 2013

David & Goliath will change the way you see the world

Malcolm Gladwell, the brilliant author of The Tipping Point and Outliers, is out with a new book on October 3rd.

Is there a better title for a business book? When I heard what he was up to, I was immediately, insanely jealous. I can think of a hundred authors who could have easily written a book with this title, and done a very good job indeed.

That's not what Malcolm delivered. He veers off the expected course early on, and never returns. This isn't a book about trying extra hard and defeating the big guys. No, it's a book about culture, about heroism, and about the choices that each of us make.

Malcolm is targeting the systems we've built, the truths we hold so dear and the possibility that maybe, just maybe, we can produce some more heroes.

The cover is brilliant, of course, but the cover hides what the book is actually about. Starting with a tried and true Bible parable (and of course, it's a parable, not a sportscast), Malcolm sets out to make us think deeply about what it is to foster heroism.

More important, by far, is this question: What are we doing to prevent heroism from happening?

It's easy to misunderstand the thesis of Outliers as well as the much-quoted 10,000 hours maxim. The point is that we are ALL capable of doing great work, ALL capable of doing work that matters, ALL capable of heroism. Why then, do some succeed and others never even try?

POVERTY: Again and again we see that poverty is the soul killer. People growing up in poverty are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to things like willpower, cultural awareness and most of all, the confidence to stand up and make a ruckus. Sure, some do. David was a poor goatsherd, after all. But sociologists have no debate about this--a culture that exposes its people to poverty is stealing its future.

STUPIDITY: Yes, stupidity. When you limit the pool, when the only people who get extra hockey coaching are the kids born in three months of the year, you've chosen to waste huge amounts of human potential.

And most of all, CULTURE. Silicon Valley works for the very reason that a broken inner-city fails. Because of cultural expectations. People become heroes when they're surrounded by a culture that allows them to dream it's possible.

The book ends with a poignant story about the power of forgiveness and how it informs so many other elements of our culture.


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    • Miracle Magnolia profile image

      Miracle Magnolia 3 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      You make some excellent points in your review, Seth, as I am sure Malcolm Gladwell does in his book. My take on the notion of heroism is that it's all around us, all the time, but most often is not apparent because it's a courageous response to an intensely personal battle. I can't wait to read this!

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      Sandy Mertens 4 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      I have not read his material yet.

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      astevn816 lm 4 years ago

      I'll add this book to my reading list

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      Sage_Canton 4 years ago

      He's one of my favourite authors :) Thanks for this review - I'm adding this book to my "to read" list.

    • frayne profile image

      frayne 4 years ago

      I assume many great great lesson can be learn from that book.

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      Tricia Deed 4 years ago from Orlando, Florida

      This format looks very clean and crisp.

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      Sherry Venegas 4 years ago from La Verne, CA

      I am the biggest skeptic in the world. I steer clear of anything that refers to a book as old as the bible. I can not relate, but then maybe his point is there is no new age hero.

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      Tanya Jones 4 years ago from Texas USA

      Added to my TBR list. Great review.

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      Rick King 4 years ago from Charleston, SC

      Moving from my 'must read' list to my 'reading now' list.

    • lawrence01 profile image

      Lawrence Hebb 4 years ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

      So much truth here. Sounds like a great book.

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      pdubay 4 years ago

      Wow! Great review!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      Every human deserves to know that he or she is capable of being a hero--of living up to full potential. It seems obvious that a culture would want to thrive, bringing out the best in everyone. Can't wait to read this book! Great review!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      @motivation4u: This is such a beautiful response!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      @marilynharding: I love the quote from the T.V. show, Criminal Minds, that goes: "Fairy tales do not teach children there are dragons, children already know there are dragons. Fairy tales teach children that dragons can be slain."

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      @homeschoolkids: Blessings to you RitaAnn. You are so beautiful!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      @sierradawn lm: And still I have not read them yet! So they are at the top of my New Year's Resolution Reading List.

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      @aaroncollegeman: "Ditto!"

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      Your review deeply touched my heart. Its words resonate with the vibrations of my being. I have just also been hearing about "Blink". Your review lets me know this is a book I must have. Thank you for it!

    • ikeephouse profile image

      ikeephouse 4 years ago

      I haven't read this one yet. I'll have to get the kindle version.

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      Jethro 4 years ago from Philippines

      I always see this book in some of the bookstores nationwide here in the country I live in. Since I got a chance to read your review, I should better grab my own copy. Thanks Seth for your honest review! :)

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      SubashCV 4 years ago

      Just picked up kindle version. Loved Outliers, looking forward to it.

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      Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I am almost finished reading this book and it is inspiring some development insights.

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      jackieleesharp 4 years ago

      The preacher said to this there is no end to the making of many books

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      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      I'm reading this book right now. It's excellent.

    • Joan Haines profile image

      Joan Haines 4 years ago

      Malcolm Gladwell is a brilliant, original thinker. I'm just finishing "Blink," about decision making. You've paved the skids for me to roll right into "David and Goliath."

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      ToyTrainsGScale 4 years ago

      Seth ,

      It on my wish list.

      Thank You !

    • Joebeducci profile image

      Joebeducci 4 years ago

      I think you're one of the best writers here on Squidoo. Again a very interesting lens with great background information, thanks for sharing! Greets, Joebeducci

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      writerkath 4 years ago

      Seth, I never thought of myself as any kind of "hero" potential. However, I can personally relate to some of the points you make, particularly about exposure to poverty - or at least a poverty mindset. And also the point about "Stupidity."

      I was brought up in a fairly typical, ho-hum suburb of New Jersey, within commuting distance of NY City and the surrounding metro area. Families were all hard-working, and living in the suburbs was a better place to raise families. So, there wasn't a lot of visual poverty in my neighborhood - we always had food on the table and the neighborhood, by anyone's standards, was (and still is) considered a pleasant and safe one.

      Nonetheless, I don't think I EVER heard either of my parents talk about success, greatness, or any topic that would encourage me to stretch my wings and go for something beyond the sphere I was brought up in. All I heard was talk about lack, limitation, and really... never anything very hopeful. Never, ever to "make a ruckus" - on the contrary, there was always an atmosphere of "don't rock the boat."

      My Mom's idea of success for me was very likely to find someone who could support me - anyone who expressed the slightest interest in me would probably do. While she encouraged my musical gift (I can sing), realistically, she saw me as a secretary. Probably out of panic since I don't believe that she, herself, knew how to dream.

      Also, as regards to the idea of "Stupidity" that you mention. That stung a bit, because it brought back a memory of my high school guidance counselor, who, when I was getting ready to think about college, took one look at me and my pathetic SAT scores and handed me an application for a nearby state college that would "probably" accept me. No discussion about my dreams or goals - or abilities or talents. I was one of the kids who would fall between the cracks. In that school, at that time, there were kids who came from highly successful and wealthy families in the district that warranted more time and effort than someone like me. Whether this was just my own perception or not makes no difference. It is how I saw it, so it was very real to me.

      My Dad always encouraged me to dream and to blossom - but only very, very cautiously! His support was primarily extended in a way to more-or-less comfort me and help me make it through the throes of my adolescent miseries, rather than to reach for the stars. To this day, I know he would breathe a sigh of relief if only I could find a steady job with benefits. (I don't hold that against him. :) )

      Still, the burning desire to succeed was somehow kindled and smoldered within me regardless of the atmosphere of my youth, and it's a raging flame now. My determination has grown as the years have passed, especially once I had the strength to break away from the mold and leave the familiarity of my hometown.

      Oh, yes... and once I learned and applied the wonderful art of forgiveness. That helped a lot, too.

      Well, it looks like I just wrote an entire essay here. Funny how something like a book review can get someone all fired up. Looks like an interesting book.

      And, if it talks about the power of forgiveness, it's definitely one I'd like to look at further.

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      Stanley Green 4 years ago from Czech Republic

      Well... I want to be like a David... trust my God and defeat the Goliath

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      RitaAnn 4 years ago

      @vincegreen: Vince,

      I've taken in many youth from the poverty stricken area in our city over the past 9 yrs.

      Several of my youth had the book and due to lack of education couldn't read it. I had previously purchased the audio as well and we were able to listen in route to our destinations.

      I feel had the youth been able to hear it on a more consistent basis then things might be different for them. Our biological children were home educated as opposed to 'institutionalization' and Think and Grow Rich was part of the required reading. My biological kids seemed to 'get it' but the others for the exception of 'possibly' one that was in the home the longest. For the most part I don't know that he even took in enough to reverse the damage. I suppose I'll never really know. I can only hope that the spark will ignite and the youth that did get the information will fan into flames the information they unknowingly took in.

      It was nice to see what you had to say. Many times the heart is ugly during certain discussions, yours was inspiring to me as it has been a hope for the youth I love so dearly.


      RitaAnn~ of many not my own.

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      RitaAnn 4 years ago

      @Aladdins Cave: You have a point. lol Seth is a wonder genius marketer from way back. His words always inspire.


    • homeschoolkids profile image

      RitaAnn 4 years ago


      I have some understanding of the "poverty" you speak of. I am "mom of many not my own." I see the hopeless stares of 'my kids', now over 75; most all back on the streets. My heart is heavy with the thoughts of their futures. Many are really wonderful kids (now young adults) and I love them as if I raised them myself. They love me too and that love is what generates the will in me to do what I can for them. My burden 'looks' big, but is light. We have always seemed to have extra to bring in another youth that had no place to go or needed for safety reasons to remove themselves from the harm that lie at home. I love the review, it reminded me of Why I do What I do.

      Thanks for your "wonderful way of words"


      ...who has been a fan of yours for as long as I can remember. Because you remind me of who I am.

      Meet some of the 'kids' (I'm the little white haired lady)

    • Boyd Carter profile image

      Boyd Carter 4 years ago


      This is a beautifully written review. "Boldfacing" the three reasons for failure immediately drew my attention to that paragraph and seduced me into reading it carefully. Thanks for the demonstration on how to write a great book review.

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      bikerministry 4 years ago

      Makes me want to read it, ordering now!

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      sufined 4 years ago

      thank you for the awesome review, can't wait to read now :)

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      Kristen Lawrence 4 years ago from Orange County, California, USA

      I have the other books and look forward to reading this one, too. Great review.

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      aaroncollegeman 4 years ago

      Can't wait to read this one Seth! Great review. :)

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      mikebuckamneer 4 years ago

      Thank you for this helpful review.

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      John R Wilsdon 4 years ago from Superior, Arizona USA

      Not sure I know what the book will end up teaching me, but your review has raised my curiosity to good heights and I intend to read it. Thank you.

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      Ruthi 4 years ago

      Born unto poverty, growing up I always THOUGHT I could beat it with age and determination. All the while I always KNEW the stupidity of my thinking. Yes, because of impoverishment, the very breath of my spirit had been stolen. And, though I have not given up the fight, I now fear time is against me. I look forward to the reading of David and Goliath and appreciate your shared impressions of Gladwell's book.

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      scott-mccarty-167 4 years ago

      @davemanreynolds: Agreed, though it is anecdotal, every time I meet someone who reads Gladwyne or Godin, I find they are successful in the way that I want to be successful. Conversely, every time I meet someone who I feel, just doesn't get it, they have never heard of or do not appreciate either. Though, I am a staunch advocate of science, there is something insightful about both!

    • sierradawn lm profile image

      sierradawn lm 4 years ago

      I have read many of your books, Seth, but I have not read Malcolm's books yet but I loved your review and I am looking forward to seeing his tour de force.

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      Aladdins Cave 4 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Beautiful use of words. No wonder my main lens is not going anywhere. Thank you and cheers from DOWNUNDER

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      TeresaFunke1 4 years ago

      I've read every book Gladwell has written and am eager to read this book too! His books are not only memorable but they challenge our long-held beliefs and do so in a way that inspires us all to seek change. We're lucky to have him!

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      velango 4 years ago

      @rshoffmann: Poverty is the worst form of violence - Gandhi. From what you've written it's obvious that you don't know what poverty is or how it affects a human being. It's okay if you want to be indifferent to human suffering. However, to say that it should even discussed shows that you have been thoroughly brainwashed by the 30 year relentless campaign of Milton Friedman's disciples that we have to change our basic human nature.... so that his neat mathematical models would work much better :)

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      vincegreen 4 years ago

      Seth, a few years ago Napoleon Hill extended the thoughts of some when he shared "What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve". It could apply to economic poverty, in some cases, as it would other endeavours that involve choice and focus. True that people look to others for this prodding but not all. So it is important that we share the challenge towards & belief in others for those that will take up their work. Economic incentive might spark conception but its belief that roots action. I look forward to Malcolm Gladwell's next work. There may be some sparks that others can validate, to others or for themselves. Go David! Go Goliath! (we may need them both for some time yet ...)

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      Mary 4 years ago from Chicago area

      Well said, well done. Agree 100% about poverty. Innovation is low on the food chain when you're worrying about, well, food. Not that there haven't been exceptional innovators from materially poor backgrounds; of course there have. But when everyone has access to the basics--safe shelter, clean water, enough to eat, a decent education & at least minimal health care-- we'll have many more leaders, and heroes, from all walks of life .... to all of our benefit.

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      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      This sounds like a book I should read. I would like to know how to help raise people out of poverty high enough for them to be confident in reaching for the stars.

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      kjhesdi 4 years ago

      @jeffcerny: Thanks for that response Jeff, you put into words what was rolling around in my head.

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      motivation4u 4 years ago

      @ScotchJameson: I believe you are a hero anytime you reject mediocrity and purpose to act with excellence and integrity. You are a hero when you pour out the real contents of your heart and soul for the betterment of another heart and soul and actually have the guts to hit the publish button. You are a hero when you support the unsupported, breath new life into a forsaken dream, and heal someone's moment with a smile.

      You are a hero my friend. .so be about what hero's do.

    • azmirismail profile image

      azmirismail 4 years ago

      The way Seth reviews this book is a unique of making the reader wanting to read the book more to actually know what the details in the book. To an extent, a majority of us prefer the Wiki or Cliff Notes review so that we know what the book is all about and form a judgement on the material without actually reading/watching it first to decide what it is for us.

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      jeffcerny 4 years ago

      Great review Seth. I think Malcolm made some excellent points in Outliers, so I'm looking forward to seeing his latest tour de force.

      It's always intriguing to see the ancillary free-prize-insides thrown in for color in your diatribes. Like "the parable." (As in "the legend of Abraham Lincoln.") These are almost always punctuated by "of course." I think you are right to expect they are mostly accepted without question by your tribe.

      As for societies "exposing people to poverty," as opposed to exposing them to wealth, I'm not so sure. Sort of like exposing people to failure. Or life. Which we are right in the thick of avoiding via bigger better government. We don't really know why some rich people or people already receiving tons of government aid blow things up. Or fail. Or commit suicide. But I digress.

      I would beg to differ with you on fast food joints. Quality and customer service are not unimportant. You don't get a cloth napkin, but you do get a napkin. No fresh vegetables for you because we're in a hurry? Efficiency at the expense of everything else? No, that wouldn't be built to last very long, would it? The invisible hand is still at work.

      The big one you missed is this, and I'm guessing Malcolm may have as well: David and Goliath (the original) is not just the triumph of the little guy. It is a description of God working through an ordinary man to do extraordinary things. "...that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all in this in this assembly may know that the Lord does not deliver by sword or by spear; for the battle is the Lord's and he will He will give you into our hands." Now that's a story with a free prize inside.

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      mommysue lm 4 years ago

      This sounds like an astounding book. The story of David and Goliath is one of my favorites in the Bible. How a young boy was pushed by His love and faithfulness to God to become a great warrior and king. He was a true hero. Someone who would not let the fact that he was small interfere in his decision because he knew that the Living God was actually the one in control. That is what truly makes a hero, when God is the one they are relying on, and not themselves. It causes one to think bigger because the human limitations cease to exist when God is holding the reins.

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      marilynharding 4 years ago

      The first giant we have to slay is the one within - self-doubt that we can make a difference and the second one is the giant of distraction - getting lost in the debate of what might or might not matter rather than thanking the visionaries and stepping out onto the path of the hero's journey. Heroes are focussed on greatness not smallness. Thanks Seth and Malcolm for shining the light.

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      ScotchJameson 4 years ago

      Hi, Seth, I'm a big fan of Malcom Gladwell . . . and you! I loved outliers, but it left me with a desperate feeling of being forever stuck to my meaningless job and a sense that maybe I've already missed the boat to freedom and living my dreams. I just attended a seminar on disproportionality and disparities in health and it tied education, wealth, criminal justice (incarceration) and health all together as the soil we need to change as a community to better ourselves. Is that the point your making here? I see a lot of similarities in this holistic approach with the concepts of web 2.0. But what would be your advice for me right now? I believe I know what I want. What should I do right now to change the direction of my life and be a hero?

      Thank you. You are a hero to me.

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      tradingmedia 4 years ago

      @seth godin: For a brief moment in history The Hellenic miracle produced more geniuses and a form of democracy that inspired its citizens to great acts of heroism. They valued their freedom above all but it was limited by their own desire to serve the state and drove them to exceptional heroic acts of self sacrifice in order to protect it. A society in order to survive and flourish must be made up of individuals who are willing to give more than they take. "Do not ask what your country can do for you but ask what you can do for your country" was the essence of that original democratic ideal. A society is as strong as its weakest links. If those links are allowed to flourish by indifference or by callousness from the rest of society they will grow stronger. It is not a matter of charity or hand outs it is a matter of attitude adjustment.

      For our societies to adjust to a more viable form of social, political and business interactions within a more dynamic and direct representational democratic system may be beyond our abilities as a whole due to the enormous forces at work to stop it from happening, but I see a great deal of change in companies, small groups, and individuals willing to look ahead a few decades and envision the type of planet we will be living in and make small changes to try to improve it. These individuals are the heroes of today. Who can predict how influential they may eventually become? They do not fight on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan or Syria they fight for the minds and hearts of the individuals who yearn for a better future while reaching out to those who think they have none. (paraphrasing Marshal McLuhan's phrase: âIn the future the battles will not be fought on the battlefields they will be fought in the minds and hearts of the peopleâ) Looking forward to reading the book Seth, Thanks

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      davemanreynolds 4 years ago

      @anonymous: something to consider. in 2013 we don't all speak latin. my dad was a latin teacher and i studied philosophy at university, so i get the jarogn, but jargon-free has further reach. the thing about the PHEPH fallacy is that for science/causality to really apply, all causes of a certain type must necessarily lead to events of a certain type. in the world of humanities, we cannot truly hold anyone to scientific rigour - not jung, freud, marx or gladwell. no one can say, if steve jobs was born into poverty, such-and-such would have happened which would prove gladwell wrong. outliers is mostly about individuals, but even paul revere and hush puppies (tipping point) are based on commentary that's as poetic and intuitive as it is scientific. for a journo in the humanitites i find gladwell as scientific as he needs to be.

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      hoodasaurabh 4 years ago

      Gladwell's work is interesting for sure. He has panache to cross thin line between fiction and non-fiction. Let's see what he is up to this time.

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      natonoel 4 years ago

      Ordered 2 weeks ago & can't wait!

      First on my Rocktober Reading


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      BillDenyer 4 years ago

      Looking forward to another Godin-like read! Love it!

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      anonymous 4 years ago

      I loved 'The Blink'. And, undoubtedly, Tipping Point and Outliers were interesting too.

      But, despite trying my best to shake it off repeatedly, one thought kept intruding itself while I was reading these books: Was Mr.Gladwell committing the Post hoc, ergo propter hoc? Or worse, The Confirmation Bias? I still can't shake off that feeling.

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      Tonie Cook 4 years ago from USA

      Thank you for sharing your review of Malcolm Gladwell's "David and Goliath." Based on this information, I look forward to reading this book.

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      holmespi2 4 years ago

      My two favorite authors. Glad to see you get a sneak peek.

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      choosinghappiness 4 years ago

      Thanks for the review, Seth. I love Malcolm's work and look forward to reading this one too!

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      beta5998 4 years ago


      In Gladwell's treatment of culture, does he go into how culture is institutionalized in organizations and systems? I look forward to reading his latest. Thanks for the review.

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      mermaidsbite 4 years ago

      @seth godin: I waited for almost 20 years, but Harvard courses are now available for free online via edX. I'm taking one in order to experience it and demonstrate how it works to myself and people I encounter. We can change the world with wifi, not more government student loans. Solutions are free if we make access to them free.

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      seth godin 4 years ago

      @TopExecutiveCoach: To thinking people, to caring people and to those curious enough to want to read between the lines.

      It's of no use at all to those that are browsing, clicking, looking for the tldr and the bullet lists that help them race a little faster.

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      DavidMeermanScott 4 years ago

      Seth, Lucky you to get an early copy. I had already had it on pre-order but now will dig into it as soon as it hits my Kindle.

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      mstmorris 4 years ago

      OMG! Sounds brilliant. I can't wait to get the book! Thanks for the review Seth.

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      TopExecutiveCoach 4 years ago

      I missing one thing, Seth. Is it a good book? That is, to what people do you recommend it and why?

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      Keepingscore 4 years ago

      @CampingmanNW: I think your definition of poverty is to narrow. There is material poverty and there is spiritual poverty.

      In the case of material poverty we have needs and wants. One of the purposes of society since the days of hunter gather bands has been to provide some level of food, water, shelter, and security for members. Lacking any of those elements is destructive to individuals and the society they reside in. When your every drink of water has the potential to result in a medical emergency or your children's lives are in danger- your world is a very different place.

      The poverty of wants can be both destructive and constructive. There are significant differences between wanting a home in a nice neighborhood (healthy) and wanting the fourth home in Honolulu (perhaps unhealthy). An obsession with material things is no more healthy for individuals and society than a diet of Twinkies.

      Spiritual poverty is the real killer though. As humans we all have a desire to contribute something of value and to belong. Whether it's the Untouchables in India or the residents of Appalachia the artificial barriers society has created are identical to the social clicks that establish in junior high.

      Society can either lower barriers or raise them. Should a Stanford quality education only be available to those who can pay the tuition? Is the barrier of tuition or the perfect SAT score the best measures of who can make the best use of a Standford education? By allowing all elements of society equal opportunities we increase the chances of producing the exceptional.

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      danjohnsonreal 4 years ago

      To Seth's comment about poverty being a soul killer: Just this week another study came out linking higher levels of stress to stunted brain development in children in low socioeconomic backgrounds. Another comment mentioned it. Those who say such studies are "junk science" are usually commenting via smart phone or computer, on a blog that middle to upper income people read. In other words, we are talking to ourselves. Do you think a kid who is about to shoot someone in Chicago is doing the mental calculations necessary to evaluate such a horrific action? Or that a suicide bomber is about to make the ultimate sacrifice b/c life is just too good to go on? Of course not. Their thinking is wrong. They believe the wrong stories. And they are under more duress mentally and physically over long periods. Now-obviously-poverty doesn't necessarily produce criminal behavior. We get it. We all know about the frugality and common sense that grew out of Great Depression experiences. But that was a very different time and set of experiences. Back to the point: There is no question life experiences create neuron connections. Neuron connections ("thoughts") affect identity, and sense of place in the world. People who fear for their daily survival experience the negative effect of higher levels of chemicals like cortisol. People who are poor have limited healthcare (higher death rates) and limited exposure to opportunities to climb the economic ladder. Can it still be done? Yes. Is it harder? Yes. Linchpin as a book was fantastic. Making it available as a life philosophy to those who are outside the conversation: Game changer. Thanks.

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      mermaidsbite 4 years ago

      It's exciting to have the opportunity to wrap my brain around yet another perception-challenging read. The Dip, coupled with your recent blog posts, have helped me to shift my business in a direction that will not only scale, but become the best in the world. No one but my best biz buddies get what I'm doing yet and everyone else is a little fearful because I'm facing painful truths about our industry regarding progress and change.

      It's time for our heroes to rise, sure. I'm weary of hearing how awful it all is while my own child is coding his way to a whiz-bang present, not to mention future. He can see a world with endless possibilities for everyone, and he knows he's going to have to help lead it. What is wrong with the rest of us?

      Pre-ordering David and Goliath now. Thanks! - Christiane

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      austinnewsstand 4 years ago

      Thank you for the heads up. Malcolm's insightful writing is worth reading.

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      mrattner 4 years ago

      @CampingmanNW: I actually agree with you that government programs are very often misguided and inefficient. However, the fact remains that the biggest indicator of college success is if both parents went to college. This trumps race, gender, socioeconomic group and pretty much every other metric you can possibly think of. We see the same thing repeated over and over again in other areas - earning potential is correlated with parents and immediate peer group. I'd even bet that divorce rates amongst circles of close friends trend together (although I just made that one up, but it seems likely.) The point is that we tend to live life as we expect to and that's based upon peers and parents, and probably portrayals in popular culture as well.

      So the fundamental question about poverty is not money (once basic needs are met,) but rather how can we change our expectations for those in poverty and have them change their own expectations. Some of that involves a stick - New York's broken windows policy is an example of that - where it's not ok to urinate in public in Times Square or to litter on the train. Some of it involves carrots - say subsidies toward education. But a lot of it is desegregation - not by race, but by class.

      I talked to a teacher on a reservation. Her children are wonderful - amazing even. And when I want to tear up, I read her description of them. But she told me that the best thing outsiders can do is let them know there's an outside. And then be there when they have questions. Available professional mentors are her number 1 priority in terms of giving these kids a future outside of poverty.

      The desire to get out of poverty is the first step to learning how to get out of poverty and that is our responsibility as a society - and yes, it's something that's very difficult for the government to do alone without an engaged populace.

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      broshow 4 years ago

      @CampingmanNW: It's not just about poverty but the cultural context. That makes it a much more complex issue than the self serving and naively simplistic position you have found it convenient to take.

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      jjvors 4 years ago

      @seth godin: Thanks Seth for taking time to clarify what you meant. You are entirely correct: not every culture works to alleviate poverty; some just accept it as "the way it is". On the other hand "-a culture that exposes its people to poverty is stealing its future" doesn't say that. Being a literalist, and reading everything with an approach to seeing truth or error made me jump the rails on your article at this point. I should re-read it now.

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      brookhill 4 years ago

      Looking forward to the book! Interesting that you mention the disadvantages of poverty as I read an article just this morning about how poverty also lowers IQ. Emily Badger (The Atlantic Cities) says that "In a series of experiments run by researchers at Princeton, Harvard, and the University of Warwick, low-income people who were primed to think about financial problems performed poorly on a series of cognition tests, saddled with a mental load that was the equivalent of losing an entire nightâs sleep. Put another way, the condition of poverty imposed a mental burden akin to losing 13 IQ points, or comparable to the cognitive difference thatâs been observed between chronic alcoholics and normal adults."

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      linxcoach 4 years ago

      @massivemessage: That's the truth! Just refreshed Tribes for a great start to the end of the year, cannot wait for the next Gladwell to move forward into the last quarter!

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      pamela-mccoll-9 4 years ago

      Thanks Seth - I was hoping Gladwell's next book would be on the topic of his Penn U lecture - on alcohol and his favorite read ( sorry Seth ) of the past five years - Drunken Compartments. Maybe next time. Can't wait to get a copy as I have been hearing "David" and "Goliath" on the winds lately.

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      Liturgist 4 years ago

      @seth godin: Working to alleviate poverty would be great. The policies of the US government only entrap the poor to a life of subsistence while keeping the ruling class in power.

    • seth godin profile image

      seth godin 4 years ago

      @CampingmanNW: This rant has nothing to do with Malcolm's books, of course. It puts words into my mouth and then goes on from there. Sigh.

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      @seth godin: Sorry Seth, but I learned a long time ago that throwing money at poverty doesn't work. Look at Ted Kennedy who made a 40 year career of throwing in excess of 30 billion dollars at poverty. Guess what? It's a bigger problem today than it was then. After the Watts riots in Los Angeles, the city rebuilt and built new housing for the housing burned and ruined by looting and rioters. This housing was then given to the people who applied because of lost homes and apartments. Rents and house payments were subsidized at a discounted rate under the Housing Act. Within a year, playgrounds were stripped, garage doors missing, windows and anything of value that could be stripped and sold from the new homes and apartments was gone. Graffiti appeared everywhere. Lawns disappeared from cars being driven over and parked on them. Crime and drug dealing were rampant. You cannot 'give' something to someone who has never had anything and expect them to understand and/or appreciate it if they have not earned it for themselves, it has no value. It's not societies fault people are in poverty. If people want to get out of poverty, they will. But...they must WANT to get themselves out. You or I or society handing them something does nothing to increase their self esteem, awareness or understanding of society. THAT, like all things, must be learned.

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      markwguay2 4 years ago

      Thanks for the heads up. I'm excited to see how he veers off course. I just got off the road to Hana and looking forward to the road to Gladwell.

    • seth godin profile image

      seth godin 4 years ago

      @rshoffmann: Dick, this is just wrong, and one reason that I hope many people will read his book. The data is unequivocal here: cultures that don't work to alleviate poverty (and it takes many forms, not just a lack of cash) hurt themselves in the long run, because they produce fewer heroes.

      Reading Linchpin and other books of mine to endorse an Ayn Rand selfish view of the universe couldn't be further from what I intended or actually wrote.

      The simple (and non-emotional) example of hockey players in Outliers is precisely the sort of point I'm talking about. Go read it and understand that Malcolm is making a very broad point about the choices we make as a society, not just as individuals.

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      rshoffmann 4 years ago

      @jjvors: I love you, Seth, but I have to agree with this comment. Your culture and poverty comment wasn't thought through very well. Poverty, stupidity and culture (good and bad) are things we're all "exposed" to. What matters is what we each do in response. As you've said in so many ways in so many of your books ... It's up to us to determine how high we fly ... That's not the culture's or the state's job.

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      kymdakin 4 years ago

      Hey Seth

      Timely review for me as I am finishing MG's Outliers on audio. As an audiobook producer and narrator, I can attest to the brilliance of that book AND to Gladwell's narrating skills...he's terrific to listen to, as are YOU by the way...

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      socialkristy 4 years ago

      I have read all of Gladwell's books so I can't see skipping this one. I didn't even know he had a new one so thanks for the heads up.

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      timothyames 4 years ago

      Greetings, appreciate the review and the thoughtful posting that make me and my day better. I use your insights to reflect, revise and renew. Thanks for being you and making a measurable difference daily.

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      dan-miller-1829405 4 years ago

      Seth - thanks so much for the heads up on this. It took me about a nanosecond to click through and order Malcolm's book. Loved every one up to now - I expect this to deliver the same quality content.

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      massivemessage 4 years ago

      Lets just get Seth & Malcolm to run the world....a much better place!

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      coachdavepage 4 years ago

      Hey Seth - Love your writing ... one thing though ... Jesus told parables but the story of David & Goliath is not a parable it's actually a true story and historical narrative.

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      jjvors 4 years ago

      "-a culture that exposes its people to poverty is stealing its future." - strikes me as a stupid statement Seth. Every culture exposes its people to poverty--some more than others. I really don't know what you mean here.

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      marvintowler 4 years ago

      Yep! Gonna pick up a copy ASAP! Thanks for the recco Seth!

    • Starlight31 profile image

      Starlight31 4 years ago

      Love the new format!

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      creativelyindie 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tasty preview. I am inspired by the forward leaning of this book. It makes me hopeful! Now, it's time for me to get back to slingshot practice. ;)

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      drutrader 4 years ago

      Sounds like a book I wish I had written. Should be required reading for all members of Congress. Perhaps all Americans. Make that the world. I want to read this book!

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      rickysteele 4 years ago

      Having read most of Malcolm Gladwell's work and having heard him speak at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum in Columbus, Georgia I am sure I would buy this book and read at some point. Having Seth Godin recommend this so strongly and having heard Seth speak just this week at the Jim Blanchard Leadership Forum, I am all in. I will order 5 copies today! Excited about learning from this brilliant sharer of thought and sharing these books with my Triiibe.

    • Joanna14 profile image

      Christine Hulme 4 years ago from SE Kent, England

      Clear, uncluttered and to the point. Just what readers are looking for in a day when every ad is squeezed through the door to distract them from what they really want to see.

    • CampingmanNW profile image

      CampingmanNW 4 years ago

      Nice. I look fortward to utilizing this new format.


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