Malcolm Gladwell Surprises Again
Ever since I read Malcolm Gladwell’s breakthrough book, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, I’ve been unable to resist any new book from this most devilishly clever of nonfiction writers. Gladwell’s mind doesn’t seem to work the way mine does, and, unless you’re remarkably eccentric, I suspect the same could be said of you.
David and Goliath is an excellent case in point. You might assume, as I so naturally did, that the Biblical tale of David and Goliath illustrates how the weak can overcome the strong. Certainly, that was how I was taught it as a child, and nothing I’ve learned since has led me to think otherwise. Leave it to Malcolm Gladwell to demonstrate that in reality this oft-told story demonstrates precisely the opposite. According to Gladwell (and to the numerous academic researchers whose work he cites), Goliath was massively vulnerable — in large part precisely because he was truly a giant — and David possessed an enormous advantage in his own right from the moment he walked onto the field of battle. The outcome of the battle was foreordained. Goliath’s great strength was in fact no advantage at all.
David and Goliath is endlessly fascinating. It’s fully worthy of Malcolm Gladwell’s outstanding talent to illuminate our world in surprising ways.