FDL Reads: David and Goliath

Cover image for David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

Reviewed by: Carey Gibbons, Reference Specialist

Genre: Non-fiction, Social Science

Suggested Age: Adults, Teens

What is the book about?: Malcolm Gladwell has written a lot of social science oriented books that take human behavior and attempt to look at them from different angles. He does the same in David and Goliath, and specifically looks at situations where an individual appears to have a clear disadvantage when facing adversity and ends up triumphing despite, or perhaps because of, their supposed disadvantage. Gladwell looks at multiple cases, from mega-rich entrepreneurs who grew up with dyslexia to the phenomenon of super successful and powerful adults who suffered the hardship of losing one or both parents. Gladwell also looks at how too much of a good thing can become detrimental.

My Review: A patron once asked me for this book and referred to it as a “thinking book.” I really like that description. This is a book that isn’t a very long or difficult read, but will make you rethink the way you perceive certain aspects of life. I very much enjoyed reading about the people in this book as individuals. But I think that Gladwell misses the mark in lumping them all together in a single book claiming that disadvantages can be beneficial. It’s true that they can – in some circumstances. But I didn’t feel that there was enough of a holistic approach to telling the stories of the people in this book. Gladwell only looked at their disadvantages. It’s not necessarily correct to say that x leads directly to y without examining all of the letters before and after. So, while this is an interesting and perhaps inspiring book, it’s important to read it with a grain of salt.

Three Words That Describe This Book: Thoughtful, Inspiring, Emotional

Give This a Try if You Like… Freakonomics, Penn and Teller: Bullsh*t!, underdog sports movies

Rating: 3.5/5

Find it at the library!

About FDL Reads

FDL ReadsWelcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library.  Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available.  If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently.  We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!


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imagine, inform, inspire