The biblical story of David and Goliath is a story of courage but also of overestimating strengths and misunderstanding the power of playing a different game to make the person who seems weakest be victorious. In the face improbable odds, finding themselves inferior in scale, ability or resources is what pushes certain people to try things out of the ordinary, re-think the rules and play a different strategy – which is a formula for winning. This book makes the point in the story of Bedouins, David and Goliath and the underdog basketball team that goes undefeated. Malcolm invites us to challenge the assumption that bigger is better. One of his key points is that when you are too big , too good, too strong – you advantage starts becoming a disadvantage. He challenges us to re-think our assumptions of what is good, what is bad, what is a strength, and what is an advantage. He points out that disadvantages can be advantages and that difficulties can produce resiliency and courage. The central line is about the power of being different, becoming the big fish in a small pond that you create rather than being a small fish in a large pond – like the impressionists, who created their own pond, went against the current, and converted their weakness into strength. Adversity has the potential to make us much stronger, more resilient and courageous – when it does not crush us. People who have gone through difficult times tend to think different, challenge the status quo, and take the bold chances that people who have had it easy have not had the need or the guts to do. Those who re-think the rules and take a new road are the people who change the world. The second part of the book is about the idea that if you are Goliath, if you are in a position of strength, trying to dominate the Davids by force can be counterproductive. Authority requires legitimacy. The book talks about stories from MLK to religious clashes in Ireland to make the point. As you expect from Malcom, the stories are very interesting, enjoyable and even captivating. Yet, at the end of the day the book does not leave you with a set of powerful ideas that you have not heard before. The story of David and Goliath is thousands of years old and has been told many times. I did not find this book as intellectually stimulating as some of his previous books that have left me with a new way of thinking and have provided a foundation for more ideas to be built upon, like the Tipping Point or Blink. I can recommend this as an enjoyable read but not a breakthrough.
- Would you recommend this to a friend? Yes