David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell

david and goliath malcolm gladwell

David beat Goliath because he had the advantage of disadvantage.

An expensive middle school, Hotchkiss, failed because it had fallen into the trap that wealthy people and wealthy institutions and wealthy countries—all Goliaths—too often fall into. The school assumes that the kinds of things that wealth can buy always translate into real-world advantages.

The lesson of the Impressionists is that there are times and places where it is better being a Big Fish in a Little Pond than a Little Fish in a Big Pond, where the apparent disadvantage of being an outsider in a marginal world is not a disadvantage at all.

Relative deprivation – comparing yourself to someone in your exact same situation. Big fish in a small pond or small fish in a big pond. The more elite an educational institution is, the worse students feel about their own academic abilities. This feeling can have a serious effect on students feeling about tackling challenging problems.

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

Dyslexia is a desirable disadvantage. The lack of ability to read makes one compensate and strengthen other parts of your mind. (think: Richard Branson)

Having remotely missed something or been afraid of death or catastrophe, when one survives the experience, it gives the survivor psychological strength and courage for the future. Losing a parent early in life and remotely missed being bombed can give one courage.

Freedom of having nothing to lose. Because he has nothing to lose, he can thumb his nose at the rules.

Power is only worthy if it is legitimate.