I recently took the opportunity to re-read “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants” by Malcolm Gladwell. It was compelling the first time reading it and even more so the second.
This is a great book for anyone considering limitations such as size, intelligence, strength or social status as a hindrance for achieving success. What we think are limitations can actually become a competitive advantage. Gladwell start with the biblical story of David and Goliath – why the outcome was actually very predictable. It is no surprise when one considers that artillery dominates infantry when viewed in modern warfare. David was artillery and Goliath was infantry.
In typical Gladwell style, we are presented with logical and engaging stories of the underdog, the misfit overcoming and triumphantly succeeding what to a casual observer seems insurmountable. One of many examples is David Boies becoming one of the most successful litigator of our time because of the adaptations he made to cope with his dyslexia. And his story of overcoming dyslexia is one of many including Charles Schwab, Richard Branson and Gary Cohn.
“David and Goliath” is a natural follow up companion to Gladwell’s earlier book, “Outliers” – describing why Mozart, or a Bill Gates achieve what appears to be genius. And that is Gladwell’s amazing talent – helping to explain the unusual in an engaging storytelling fashion.