Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gladwell on David versus Goliath

It's now pretty much a tradition on this blog to link to all Gladwell's recent articles, and I see no reason to stop. In his latest piece, "How David Beats Goliath: When underdogs break the rules", Gladwell argues that when underdogs beat champions it is (usually? often?) the triumph of effort over ability and unconventional tactics over conventional ones. An excerpt:
We tell ourselves that skill is the precious resource and effort is the commodity. It’s the other way around. Effort can trump ability—legs, in Saxe’s formulation, can overpower arms—because relentless effort is in fact something rarer than the ability to engage in some finely tuned act of motor coordination.
See also: Gladwell's response on his blog to criticism of this piece.

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