David and Goliath - Malcolm Gladwell

David and Goliath

By Malcolm Gladwell

  • Release Date: 2013-10-01
  • Genre: Psychology
Score: 4
From 1,549 Ratings


Explore the power of the underdog in Malcolm Gladwell's dazzling examination of success, motivation, and the role of adversity in shaping our lives, from the bestselling author of The Bomber Mafia.

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 Gladwellchallenges 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 SawDavid and Goliath draws upon history, psychology, and powerful storytelling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.


  • Strengths and Weaknesses

    By Richard Bakare
    Gladwell possesses a beautiful writing style that can pull you into any topic in a way, such that you never want to pull away. He applies that skill masterfully here in assessing the true nature of Strengths and Weaknesses. Navigating through different periods of history he dissects Paper Champions (Goliaths) who lost to or at least could not dissuade the Davids on the other side of the valley. Using the narratives of the overlooked stories of the voices history often forgets, Gladwell demonstrates three key phenomena that demonstrate how we often over estimate strengths and focus in too greatly on apparent weaknesses. Without giving away spoilers, the three concepts I found most fascinating in this book were most importantly, our inability to see past advantageous and disadvantages on the surface. The tale of David and Goliath being the most prominent allegory of this dilema. The second key concept is the problem of the Inverted U-Shaped Curve. This problem illustrates how more is not often better and after a certain point does more harm than good; i.e. you cannot always just throw money and resources at the problem. Lastly, Gladwell does a great job detailing how Power / Leadership cannot succeed without Legitimacy. Moreover, that it cannot be won through brute force but must happen at the ground level, eye-to-eye. Every time I read Gladwell, I feel like I am getting a MasterClass in history. Talking to Strangers remains my favorite of his books but they are all amazing in their own way. This one in particular is especially meaningful right now in 2020. The stories and perspectives in it may be the best guide on how to persevere and resist in the face of seemingly overwhelming circumstances.
  • まはま や

    By Guido219
    っまみさはららのでまさ かな(^-^)/やなラにはな(^-^)/まなやかかなわやになもやかささたやわは
  • insightful analysis

    By BaseballG
    I found this book well written and logically sound. I am so glad I picked and I will read it more than once.
  • Great Book on Underdogs!

    By Joheezmc
    In life, we sometimes face adversaries and situations as the precarious underdog. This book illustrates the greatest underdog victories in history, and emphasizes how being the underdog is, more times than not, a good thing. This book goes on to teach how to remain extremely humble and to remain intelligent and laser focused during the most intense challenges. In many cases, the calm underdog prevails against the favorite that is arrogant and makes their power and reputation their weakness. Great read for all walks of life.

    By TAJMusic
    Your outlook on life in general will change when your finished this book and by default your going to brush up on world history..lol Need I Say More?
  • David and Goliath

    By Wiley Wheeler
    Loved it! Embrace difficulties and grow!
  • A unique perspective...

    By NewMomTwo
    This book makes me think about things in a new way, simple as that. Mr. Gladwell is such a talented communicator and he has, again, chosen to present information about interesting people. Truly, any curious and open-minded person will find this book fascinating.
  • David And Goliath

    By APro
    Every chapter shines an inspires.
  • David and Goliath

    By azbuckshot
    Excellent book. Used the concepts both professionally and personally. So often people use their stories as a crutch or an excuse other than an opportunity and gift that shapes who we are.
  • Only partially readable

    By Nordexpress
    Enjoyed his other books, but this one fails to deliver. Ended up skimming some chapters, while others were very interesting. Not quite what I expected in terms of content on the subject.