Malcolm Gladwell, journalist, best selling writer and TED speaker, takes the every day, the things in life we take for granted, the things we never question. He turns them up side down and inside out, looks at reasons why things happen, the bizarre phenomena of what goes on around us. He makes us think about stuff, all sorts of stuff. Much of his writings have not had good press or good reviews with researchers, academics: he misrepresents facts and figures, oversimplifying the research. But if you go into reading his books knowing that there are plenty of experts sceptical about what he writes, then you will probably enjoy them even more. In the times we live in where we are constantly being fed a diet of reality TV rubbish, political spin doctors, multinational spin doctors, the excitement of celebrity lives, we need to question the world around us. It is so refreshing to be able to read something that challenges the brain, and may even lead us to question further the society we live in. I have loved the author's other books - Outliers, The Tipping Point, What the Dog Saw, and Blink. Easy to read and digest, interesting topics, loads of research, wonderfully engaging writing style - what is there not to like?
This is Mr Gladwell's latest offering, and is as entertaining and interesting as his other books. Opening with the story we have all grown up with, David and Goliath, he turns the story and the reason for its outcome inside out with some great revelations as to why a tiny undernourished shepherd boy was able to knock down and kill a giant of a man, a professional soldier, with a stone fired from a sling shot. Another chapter looks at how it may well be better for your child to go to a school or university which is not in the top ten highest achievers/prestigious etc. Your child could well do much better being a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond. Or that sometimes the rule book does need to be thrown out with the bath water, that peaceful resistance can work. He writes about some successful business people who have not let learning disabilities they were born with hold them back. Instead these people had to find other ways, less conventional and even slightly alarming ways, to over ride their disabilities and achieve. Many of the people in his book are ordinary, average, people next door type of people. But they have all become extraordinary in their lives for being able to think outside the square and trusting their own gut intuition.
It is inspiring to know that, if we just think a little bit around the problem, rather than looking at head on, then the odds may well not be stacked against us as much as we initially thought.