David and Goliath
When a client mentions he or she has read a book lately that has been thought-provoking in running their company or organization, I usually add it to my reading list. One such book is Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. Gladwell challenges conventional wisdom about advantages and disadvantages. Things we think are disadvantages can become advantages; and advantages we think we see in others may not be such. Among his examples is trial lawyer David Bois, who overcame his dyslexia and reading problems by becoming an excellent listener with a strong memory. Another of Gladwell’s examples is a now famous small group of underdogs in 19th century France–the Impressionists—who took on the powerful art establishment of the French Salon, started their own show, and changed the direction of art history.
David’s expertise as a slinger of rocks was, as it turned out, a real advantage over the Philistine’s heavily armored Big Dude, as graphically shown in this 1636 oil painting by Italian painter Bernado Stozzi at the Cincinnati Art Museum: