#Catalyst :: Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of “The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference,” (2000) , “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” (2005), and “Outliers: The Story of Success” (2008) all of which were number one New York Times bestsellers. His book “What the Dog Saw” (2009) is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker and his new book¬†David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants¬†will be published in October.

From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper’s New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City.


David and Goliath

  • My newest book is called David and Goliath. I want to talk about that story.
  • This is a story of someone who doesn’t know his own strength.
  • We don’t know our own strength.
  • We call David in that story the underdog.
  • Why do we call him an underdog. Because he’s a kid. Because Goliath is huge. But mostly it’s because of their weapons.
  • Goliath has a sword and armor.
  • All David has is a sling.
  • A slinger was someone who had a leather pouch and he would swing it around and an object would fly out.
  • Slingers were capable of killing birds in flight.
  • There’s no question that David has the means to strike Goliath dead.
  • In ancient warfare slingers were routinely devastating.
  • Goliath’s whole strategy is based on hand-to-hand combat.
  • But David wasn’t going to abide by that standard. Goliath doesn’t stand a chance.
  • Goliath is operating under a false assumption. And David has superior technology and filled with the spirit of the Lord.
  • 1 Samuel 16
  • For the Lord does not see us as mortals see, but the Lord looks at the heart.
  • So David is not an underdog.
  • We radically underestimate the power of the heart.
  • There are simply people who have an accurate assessment of where power truly lies. They knew themselves.
  • We underestimate the power of our own faith, and that has real world consequences.
  • We live in a world full of Goliaths. It’s easy to become overwhelmed.
  • Giants are not always what they seem.
  • Someone armed with nimble feet and superior technology and the spirit of the Lord is not an underdog.
  • Be forced to get out of the normal way of doing things, and innovate.
  • Our obstacles and our weaknesses are the opportunities for the greatest amount of learning.
  • David is marked by his refusal to be passive.
  • We should be marked by our refusal to be passive.
  • David is the only one who correctly understands the strength that his faith gives him.
  • The David position is a high-risk position.
  • Be forgiving of those who have failed. Understand that part of what it means to try new experiments, is the knowledge that if it doesn’t work, they’ll be given another shot.
  • Courage is possible by a forgiving community.

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