Top Shelf: Malcom Gladwell's David and Goliath
Last week I spent a few days on the road and decided to borrow an audiobook through the Libby app. I was in a nonfiction mood so I did a quick search and a page or two into the results, I saw Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. I love Gladwell's books. They are interesting and educational so I decided to give it a go.
It did not disappoint. Although the book is nine years old, the topic is relevant today. Gladwell's writing and research challenge the audience on how we think about advantages and disadvantages. It provides readers with a way to understand how life's biggest setbacks, such as losing a parent, discrimination based on race and religion, and other obstacles can affect one's ability to be successful and resilient. He examines the underdog and how disadvantages are viewed by the majority of people. He asks, can a disadvantage become an advantage?
I think Ukraine is a very good example of an underdog. By most accounts, this young nation and young President were predicted to fall to Russian forces weeks into the invasion. To the world's surprise, the Ukrainians have fought hard and have a strong will to defend their country. They have exhibited grit and determination against one of the world's most dangerous and powerful regimes -- a Goliath.
Gladwell's research and examination would suggest that the Ukrainians have been able to continue the fight because of their history. Although they are the underdogs, the are not new to struggle. Ukrianians are proud to live in an independent, democratic country after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. Their recent history and youth are advantages although seen as disadvantages. President Zelensky lost family in the Holocaust so he personally understands suffering and death. He is aware of what is on the line for Ukraine. Gladwell's research would describe this is an advantage for a leader defending a country against an unprovoked invasion and genocide.
I highly recommend David and Goliath. It's well-written and researched. It's full of stories and lessons. And most importantly, it's relevant.
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