Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Book Review: David and Goliath

David and GoliathDavid and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The thing about Malcolm Gladwell's books is that they are so easy to read. For someone as cranial as his books are, it's nothing to pick up a book and read a chapter here, and a chapter there. This book is no exception, and it's refreshing to read his style of writing, marrying a scientific proposal of idea's and notions mixed with an easy going prose that doesn't bore you with large words and exotic themes. For anyone who has read any other of Gladwell's books, you'll find this one ranks among the rest of them.

All that being said, I felt like this book took off like a rocketship, and ended in a sputter. The opening chapter dissects the historical notion of David and Goliath, and even offers some suggestions on "how" and "why" David was victorious. The next several chapters all had the common, winning Gladwell theme, present an idea, mix in some stories and some science, and end the chapter convinced you learned something.

The last 3 chapters in particular kind of felt out of place, forced, or just didn't resonate with me as well as the others did. Each other chapter in the book had a unifying theme, and correlated well to there overall theme of the book. But the last 3 chapters were these somewhat loosely related, but seemed to be missing that "scientific" part.. which I feel are critical to Gladwell's writing style. He offers opinions and suggestions, and you tend to buy in (at least I did), but the science part where he says "look at these historical figures", was a little lacking. Trust me, the chapters are built well, I just didn't feel "wowed" like I did with the earlier parts of the book. In the end, the final chapters are meant to offer some insight into resiliency, which it did, but each chapter ended with me checking if any pages were missing in the book.

Overall, I still enjoyed this book (4/5 stars after all). Some say that Gladwell merely tells us what we already know (I've heard countless arguments that his "10,000 hours rule" in Outliers is a fancy way of saying "Practice Makes Perfect"), but I disagree with most on those points. Gladwell does a fine job offering insight into supporting his theories, presenting theories most of us have seldom heard of, and at the very least helps us continue to think outside the box and realize that what we observe is not always as it seems. David and Goliath did just that for me as well.

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