David and GoliathI don’t read books in any kind of order; I grab whatever piques my interest at the moment, though I do generally keep a fiction, non-fiction, and self-help/educational rolling at any given time. I don’t know where my copy of David and Goliath came from, but I read The Tipping Point when it came out – a gift from my father – and I enjoyed it, so I figured Gladwell’s most recent endeavor would be edifying.

As the title indicates, Gladwell opens with the biblical recounting of David and Goliath. In so doing, he illustrates the key paradigm for the book: how strengths and weaknesses are actually more dependent upon situational circumstances than the innate qualities of the actual strength or weakness. Goliath’s powers were highlighted, and overpoweringly successful, in close arm combat. David was slight of build and lacked any apparent fighting skills. Side by side, Goliath would destroy David every time.

But David wasn’t interested in arm to arm combat. He changed the dynamics of the situation, thereby changing the odds. As a shepherd, he was a crack shot with a slingshot, a necessary skill to keep predators away from his herds. His small frame and lack of weaponry were considered weaknesses. In fact, distance and speed were his allies-Goliath didn’t have a chance. But that’s not how the story’s ever told. The rest of the book illustrates how a disadvantage can be turned into an asset when a person, or persons, is presented with the right circumstances. In other words, things are often not as they appear.

If you need a pep talk, or want to start thinking outside the box, David and Goliath will provide the jump start you need.