Thursday, September 25, 2014

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

My #bookreview of "David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants" on

Every now and then comes a book that holds a mirror to us and the society we live in. David and Goliath, is one such book with perspectives that are sure to stick in mind for a while.

The book starts with an analysis of how the underdog shepherd David really beat the giant Goliath. The story of Vivek Ranadive's team of underdog "little blond girls" from silicon valley who beat the giants in basketball to end up in Nationals is heartwarming. With Caroline Sacks' story, Gladwell highlights "relative deprivation" and the blessing of being a big fish in a small pond versus the other way around. The next chapter focuses on Dyslexia's blessing in disguise. At least for the lucky few who are able to nurture other talents like a photographic memory.

In the last section, the author builds a contrast between the stories of Mike Reynolds and Derksens which makes one reflect on the "limits of power." The contrast in the attitudes, especially at times of crisis really hit home for me. Although Gladwell paints shades of black and white while describing attitudes of Mike Reynolds and Derksens, in reality most of us end up philosophizing like Derksens with shades of gray in our minds. The author builds on this contrast with the story of Andre Trocme, just to emphasize the point!

Gladwell skillfully holds together myriad stories with his beautiful narrative and storytelling abilities.

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