10 Quotes from David and Goliath book by Malcolm Gladwell

Hello friends. This post is a collection of quotes from the book - David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell.

David and Goliath has been described as a book that challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, or cope with a disability, or lose a parent, or attend a mediocre school, or suffer from any number of other apparent setbacks.


Much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of these kinds of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty. - David and Goliath, Introduction

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. - David and Goliath, Chapter 1

We spend a lot of time thinking about the ways that prestige and resources and belonging to elite institutions make us better off. We don't spend enough time thinking about the ways in which those kinds of material advantages limit our options. - David and Goliath, Chapter 1

On the question of class size, we have become obsessed with what is good about small classrooms and oblivious of what can also be good about large classes. It is a strange thing, isn't it, to have an educational philosophy that thinks of the other students in the classroom with your child as competitors for the attention of the teacher and not allies in the adventure of learning? - David and Goliath, Chapter 2

There are times and places where it is better to be 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 turns out not to be a disadvantage at all. - David and Goliath, Chapter 3

We form our impressions not globally, by placing ourselves in the broadest possible context, but locally - by comparing ourselves to people "in the same boat as ourselves." Our sense of how deprived we are is relative. This is one of those observations that is both obvious and deeply profound, and it explains all kinds of otherwise puzzling observations. - David and Goliath, Chapter 3

We have a definition in our heads of what an advantage is - and the definition isn't right. And what happens as a result? It means that we make mistakes. It means that we misread battles between underdogs and giants. It means that we underestimate how much freedom there can be in what looks like a disadvantage. - David and Goliath, Chapter 3

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. - David and Goliath, Chapter 5

Legitimacy is based on three things. First of all, the people who are asked to obey authority have to feel like they have a voice - that if they speak up, they will be heard. Second, the law has to be predictable. There has to be a reasonable expectation that the rules tomorrow are going to be roughly the same as the rules today. And third, the authority has to be fair. It can't treat one group differently from another. - David and Goliath, Chapter 7

When the law is applied in the absence of legitimacy, it does not produce obedience. It produces the opposite. It leads to backlash. - David and Goliath, Chapter 7

Cited Quotes

David fought Goliath not with inferior but (on the contrary) with superior weaponry; and his greatness consisted not in his being willing to go out into battle against someone far stronger than he was. But in his knowing how to exploit a weapon by which a feeble person could seize the advantage and become stronger. - Moshe Dayan, Israeli minister of defense, as quoted in David vs Goliath, Introduction

Gifted children and child prodigies seem most likely to emerge in highly supportive family conditions. In contrast, geniuses have a perverse tendency of growing up in more adverse conditions. - Dean Simonton, as quoted in David and Goliath, Chapter 5

I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. - Ecclesiastes 9:11, as quoted in David and Goliath, Part 3

It has been said that most revolutions are not caused by revolutionaries in the first place, but by the stupidity and brutality of governments. - Seán MacStiofáin, as quoted in David and Goliath, Chapter 7

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