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David and Goliath Malcolm Gladwell Summary

I recently read this book called David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. I thought the title of the book was David versus Goliath, but when I realized it was actually David and Goliath, it put a lot of things in perspective. It's not about the fight or the battle, it's about how we all have our strengths and weaknesses and how we can use them to our advantage to get our way through this world. Now let me start by first telling you the David and Goliath’s story.

This is the ancient battle between Palestinians and Israelites. They decide to settle the battle by sending their best warriors for a one on one battle. Philistines send Goliath, a mighty warrior who is a six feet nine giant covered in armor and has all sorts of weapons you can imagine. Now, Israelites don't have anyone who can match the giant, they are struggling to find someone, and no one has the guts to face Goliath except for David, a young shepherd boy. David stands up and says, I'll go fight Goliath. King Saul at the time realizes that there is no other option. So he says, OK, well go fight and offers the young boy armor and weapons, just so that he could have a fighting chance. But David, the shepherd, declines them all. He says that those weapons are of no use to me. I am a shepherd. I don't need the armor. All he has is his slingshot. Here is what he does. He runs into the valley where Goliath is eagerly waiting for him. As he is running toward Goliath, the overconfident Goliath calls out saying, “Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?” As David runs into the valley, he spins the sling faster and faster and the slingshot is loaded with a stone the size of a small orange. This is what David is good at. He slings the stone at Goliath, and the stone hits the giant in his head at 80 miles per hour. The giant falls unconscious. Then David cuts his head off and wins the battle.

So what are the key lessons to learn from the battle of David and Goliath? Well, there are three key lessons.

The first lesson is there is disadvantage in advantage.

Everyone against Goliath might look like they are at a disadvantage. Body covered with armor and all sorts of weapons, all could have looked like an advantage, but in reality, those were the reasons behind the Goliath’s defeat. Because he's covered in all that armor, he can't move quickly. Also, he had some sort of a growth hormone problem that made him a giant but has caused problems with his eyesight, so he can't really see the long distance. Making him a good target for a slingshot. This shows giants are not as strong and as powerful as they seem. Here is another example. Even the brightest students feel like they're not good enough after joining a prestigious institution. Being around the best students, and having access to the best resources should have played to their advantage. Instead, in most cases, it hits their confidence and makes them question their intellect. That's how a high school genius ends up being a college dropout.

The second key lesson is that there is advantage in disadvantage.

David is just a shepherd, not a warrior. This was his disadvantage, but he turned it into an advantage. How? Because. As a shepherd, he is really good with his sling, that's what he uses to kill wild animals and that is what he uses to kill Goliath. This shows how a potential weakness can give us strength.

For example, many people are at a disadvantage by having dyslexia. This affects their learning and reading abilities and has a negative impact on their self-esteem and confidence. However, others turn dyslexia into an advantage. An extraordinary number of entrepreneurs are dyslexic. Famous examples are Richard Branson and Steve Jobs. They succeeded in part because of their disadvantage. Having dyslexia can make people comfortable with failure and willing to take more risks and that can be a great asset as an entrepreneur.

And the third key lesson is that we should play our game using our advantages.

David played his game of Slingshot. He did not go for a close combat with Goliath. He did not play the Goliath’s game of swords and armor. He knew what he was good at and he played his own game by his own rules and won the battle. The world is filled with David’s and Goliath’s, neither weak nor strong. When you face a situation, don't limit yourself. Look at your options. Look beyond conventional wisdom. By putting out advantages, we hide our disadvantages.

So, in summary, just remember this, Giants are not as strong and powerful as they seem and sometimes a shepherd boy has a sling in his pocket.

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