Full disclosure: Author Malcolm Gladwell is a gifted storyteller, so I’m going to like the journey with him no matter how far-fetched his destination.
Gladwell delivers again in “David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” In this, his latest book making social science interesting, he argues that disadvantages (like being a small shepherd with a wicked slingshot up against a giant with a reputation for violence) can be advantages.
Besides the Bible story of the title, the author of “Blink” and “Outliers” (other recommended reads) uses Bible verses at the beginning of each of the three parts of the book, which I found interesting, but this is not a religious book, it’s a science book. Some readers have taken issue with his conclusions and they may have a point, but he makes his arguments in such an insightful, well-articulated way, I enjoyed the book anyway.
One of his points was especially interesting to me: Twelve of the 44 U.S. presidents lost their fathers while they were young.
On the face of it, losing a parent sounds like a very bad thing, but if a boy gains enough courage and self-confidence from his premature loss to become leader of the free world, perhaps it was a good thing. It’s this kind of supposition turning a common belief on its head that makes the book worth a look.
My Beloved lost his father suddenly at age 21, and I now wonder if that horrible loss contributed to his fearless, go-big-or-go-home philosophy that makes him such a good salesman (and companion).
To see “bad” things as “good” things is one way to cope with setbacks, disappointments and loss. Gaining that insight made the book worth my time.