Malcom Gladwell has made a career out debunking commonly held assumptions on a wide range of phenomena, exposing the logical flaws that lead us to misunderstand where the real heart of an issue truly lies. His earlier works The Tipping Point and Blink were international bestsellers. Gladwell has become a formidable voice in modern cultural discourse, though he is not without his fair share of critics.
His newest book is David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, And the Art Of Battling Giants. In it, Gladwell takes on conventional wisdom concerning conflicts between underdogs and frontrunners. Gladwell writes:
Through these stories, I want to explore two ideas. The first is that 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. And second, that we consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong. We misread them. We misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that give them strength are often the sources of great weakness
We’ll talk with Gladwell about his new book, as well as his recent New Yorker feature that takes umbrage with the notion that the use of performance enhancing drugs in sports constitutes an unfair advantage.
Have you read David and Goliath or Gladwell’s other books? What do you think about the use of performance enchancing drugs in professional sports?