David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

Summary
  1. Power, wealth and health are not exclusive harbingers of success. Beyond a certain point, many assumed advantages, like increased wealth and education, start to become disadvantages. On the other hand, assumed disadvantages, such as learning difficulties or childhood trauma, can spur people to great achievement. Underdogs often overcome their vastly favored opponents through indirect, unusual or deceptive means. Only when authorities are deemed legitimate will the underdogs and marginalized in society flourish
Key Takeaways
  1. Comparing self to anyone but especially high-flying peers damages self-confidence and prevents you from reaching your full potential. Instead, aim to carve out a niche for yourself where you love what you do and are great at it
  2. Growing up in a privileged environment can hinder a child’s chance of learning valuable life lessons – lack of independence, don’t learn the importance of hard work or thinking for oneself
  3. People’s weaknesses can often be turned to strengths in order to compensate
  4. Traumatic experiences can spur people to achieve great things through increased courage and resilience and provide the deep motivation to succeed
  5. Underdogs can overturn the odds and succeed by employing unconventional tactics. Must focus on own unique qualities, maximizing own strengths while avoiding situations more suited to opponents’ strengths
  6. Tricks and deception are often very effective weapons in an underdog’s arsenal
  7. Society owes a lot to people who flout social norms and don’t care what people think of them. We must be prepared to take risks and upset those around us in order to attain our goals. By not caring about reputation, you gain the single-mindedness necessary for success
  8. Excessive and harsh punishments often encourages more of the bad behavior instead of stopping it (sending more people to jail has actually shown to increase crime because it breaks up families and creates an environment of desperation)
  9. People disobey authorities they perceive as enemies but obey those whom they perceive as fair and humane
What I got out of it
  1. Good read on diminishing returns of wealth and education and how underdogs can use manipulation or deceptive means to overcome their stronger foes

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