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305 pages, Hardcover
First published October 1, 2013
"...false facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for everyone takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness; and when this is done, one path toward errors is closed and the road to truth is often at the same time opened."
[W]e consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong. We misread them. We misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.David and Goliath explores these ideas in a wide array of areas. As is usual in Mr. Gladwell’s books, there are discussions of psychological and social science research into various issues surrounding schools and parenting, learning disabilities and the differences between capitalization learning and compensation learning. There’s also a surprising amount of history here, ranging from the story of David and Goliath, to the impressionist masters of late-19th century France, to the Blitz and Vichy France, to the 1960s American Civil Rights movement. Indeed, the discussion of Londoners’ reaction to the Blitz, and how those who did not suffer direct hits or near misses soon began to feel a sense of invincibility from their remote misses, felt very prescient about how too many people reacted to the pandemic.
"...if you want to see the positive effects of elite schools on self-concept, you are measuring the wrong person. You should be measuring the parents."
Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you've been through the tough times and you discover they aren't so tough after all.He shows how the Germans thought that the bombing would traumatize the city. Instead, it made the British more courageous than ever before.
“There is a set of advantages that have to do with material resources, and there is a set that have to do with the absence of material resources – and the reason underdogs win as often as they do is that the latter is sometimes every bit the equal of the former.” (pp. 24-25)
"The idea that difficulty is good when it helps you and bad when it doesn't is no great insight."
"The notion that a rule holds true except for when it doesn’t runs through David and Goliath, and insulates its arguments from deep interrogation. Is it really advantageous to have severe dyslexia? Yes, and certainly not. Are children better off without their parents? Don’t be silly, but it could be so. These non-answers rub the dazzle from Gladwell’s clever thesis statements, until they all begin to look like dullish intuition. We don’t need another book to tell us that adversity can lead to greatness (see: memoirs by CEOs, episodes of The Moth, every college essay ever written), just as we don’t need another book to say that adversity really, really sucks (see: the world outside your window). But couched in the golden armor of anecdote, Gladwell’s overgrown ideas seem powerful and new."