6. David and Goliath (Malcolm Gladwell)

screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-8-48-41-pmIt has been a while since I listened to Outliers and The Tipping Point by Canadian author and journalist, Malcolm Gladwell.  As part of my Non-Fiction Resolution Reads Challenge, I enjoyed David and Goliath during my commutes.  This is a thoughtful, well-researched commentary on how underdogs can win in the shadow of the Goliath’s of the world.

Gladwell is a great narrator and his books lends well to an audio format.  He connects ideas with research and helps readers to consider a new way of thinking about challenging situations.  He began by telling and analyzing the biblical story of David and Goliath.  He shared examples of trickery that helped in the civil rights leadership and how having nothing to lose aided the fight against childhood leukaemia.  He studied the events that formed these leaders and enabled them to be strong enough to successfully fight for their convictions.

He discussed his investigation into successful individuals who had been diagnosed with dyslexia in childhood and considered the impacts (both good and bad) on these individuals who struggled with learning to read.  He assessed many studies on classroom size and talked about the push for school boards to reduce classroom sizes despite the data that discounts the benefits of small classes.  Anyone sending their teens off to college or university should consider his big fish in a small pond vs. little fish in a big pond discussion relating to picking the right school to meet your student’s needs and lead them to a successful learning opportunity.

Once again Gladwell, makes the reader (or listener in my case) reflect on his stories as he connects ideas, research and real life scenarios.  Gladwell grew up in the small town of Elmira, Ontario and now lives in New York.  He has written 5 books and many articles including his work for the New Yorker and is a recipient of the prestigious Order of Canada (2011).  I have enjoyed listening to him and thinking of things from a different perspective and would recommend his books.

No time to read or listen to the book?  Check out Gladwell’s Ted Talk which has had almost 3 million views.

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