David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell – Review and Noteworthy Quotes

Most of us are familiar with the Bible’s chronicle of the epic battle between David and Goliath. Malcolm Gladwell puts this title story to good use in his New York Times best-selling book David and Goliath, Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants. In example after example, he illustrates how disadvantages in life can strengthen us and oddly become advantages in the long run. He touches on stories like David and Goliath showing how an underdog often uses unexpected and unpredictable techniques and skills to overcome difficulties and launch themselves into unique greatness.

Gladwell masterfully lines up a hall of “giant underdogs” as he details stories of a doctor, a teacher, artists, a dyslexic, and many more. david and goliath For example, he said that “conventional wisdom holds that a disadvantage is something that ought to be avoided – that it is a setback or a difficulty that leaves you worse off than you would be otherwise.” He continues, “but that is not always the case…..I want to explore the idea that there are such things as desirable difficulties.”

 He notes that people with difficulties are forced to be creative and innovative. There are more opportunities to think outside the box than what a more average, normal life might bring.

I enjoyed this book immensely and David and Goliath -2fundamentally agree with the foundation of his thought process and research. If a disadvantaged person has the motivation and ability to push for resources to implement overcoming strategies with new, creative and innovative ideas – success skyrockets. For some, I believe a disadvantage is simply a disadvantage. Some do not and/or cannot capitalize on their disadvantages.

What differentiates those who do and those who don’t?

That question is not addressed in the book or in this research that is quoted. However, it does not take away from the delightful journey as Gladwell describes example after example of people who took their difficulty and turned it into something great.

On a small scale, I can relate to this book personally as I know my own experience facing physical disability changed me for the better in many ways and affords me unique opportunities I would not encounter otherwise.  The book reminded me to honor the blessing of the unique gift that dichotomously exists in my limitations.

Incidentally, I have read other Gladwell New York Times bestsellers (The Tipping Point, Blink) and did not notice the Judeo-Christian influence evident in David and Goliath.  Apparently, Gladwell returned to his Christian faith while writing David and Goliath.

Noteworthy Quotes from David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

There’s no possibility of being pessimistic when people are dependent on you for their only optimism.

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.

The right question is whether we as a society need people who have emerged from some kind of trauma— and the answer is that we plainly do. This is not a pleasant fact to contemplate. For every remote miss who becomes stronger, there are countless near misses who are crushed by what they have been through.

Unexpected freedom comes from having nothing to lose.

When people in authority want the rest of us to behave, it matters— first and foremost— how they behave. This is called the “principle of legitimacy,” and 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.

The powerful are not as powerful as they seem— nor the weak as weak.

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.

Some pretend to be rich, yet have nothing; others pretend to be poor, yet have great wealth. Proverbs 13: 7

Did you read the book?  If so, what did you think about it?  If not, I hope you pick up a copy. -Madge

Seven Days in Utopia – More Noteworthy Quotes

In my previous post about Seven Days in Utopia, I  briefly shared some noteworthy quotes from the book. The film surprised me by how well the movie depicted the book. It is appropriate for all audiences and had a solid quality message about life, not just golf.

Seven Days at the Links in UtopiaThe stage is set as it opens with a quote from Isaiah, “And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21

Here are some other noteworthy quotes, but take heed, they may require a spoiler alert for the progression of the movie, but I’m not giving away too much and certainly not the ending!

You don’t choose the game, it chooses you.

Day 1 Driving Range
The first step in finding your game is getting some conviction. If you don’t have conviction your confidence can be corroded.

Day 2 Fly Fishing
Rhythm, balance, and patience is what you need.
You must have a calm mindset – and focus on feel rather than outcome. To stay in balance you have to control emotion.

Day 3 Fairway
Don’t be late in life. Time is too precious to waste.
Paint the shot with the eyes first so our bodies can produce it accurately.

Day 4 Washer Throwing Game
Have respect for tradition and passion for the truth.

Day 5 Flying an Airplane
You can’t play in a tournament unless you’re ready for the unexpected.
When a firefly knows it is trapped it won’t light. Freedom is a powerful force.

Day 6 Play Golf
See it, feel it, trust it. (SFT)
You can’t spend your life trying to validate yourself on the golf course.

Day 7 Cemetery
What will your epitaph say? What do you want people to say about you when you are gone?
See God’s face. Feel His presence. Trust His love.
Gifts aren’t meant to be paid for, they are meant to be passed along.

I’ll leave you with a thoughtful prayer that Johnny (Robert Duvall) prayed before a family meal in the movie. My husband and I have used it recently ourselves.

…Food in a world where many walk in hunger,

…Faith in a world where many walk in fear,
…Friends in a world where many walk alone,
We give you thanks, Oh Lord.

Plugged In did a nice job on their review of this movie.  Great book. Great movie.  Read the  book or rent the movie my friends; it surely will provoke some contemplation on life lessons.  – Madge

Scripture Memory #8 – A Sweet Relief!

I’ve been planning to get this post done all day, and now that I’ve filled up on strawberries with cream cheese frosting** for dessert – I am really ready!  I have had my fill of sweet strawberries and that decadent dip of creaminess on the bottom.  We made the frosting fresh this morning!  Come on my sweet friends, I know you want to join us on this amazing journey.

Below are a few handy sweet scriptures I like for the end of April.

How sweet are your words to my taste,  sweeter than honey to my mouth!  Ps. 119:103

When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Prov. 3:24

Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.  Prov. 16:24

I’ve been laboring a bit with verses in the second chapter of Colossians for the past week or two and I’m happy to share these two verses because I love thankfulness:

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him,  rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness. Col. 2:6-7

In the book One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp says, “Thanksgiving creates abundance; and the miracle of multiplying happens when I give thanks – take the just one loaf, say it is enough, and give thanks – and He miraculously makes it more than enough.”


My prayer is that we overflow with thankfulness through the circumstances…today and every day, and He will make it more than enough. —-Madge

**Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe
-8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
-8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
-3 cups confectioners’ sugar
-1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Place cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl to soften. Beat until smooth and well blended. Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and continue beating until smooth. Store in container in refrigerator.  Yummy and gluten-free.

Words for the Roller Coaster of Life

Almost fifteen years ago Brent and I went to Six Flags for the first time together.  It was a big date early in our relationship. We spent the day loving every roller coaster and got soaked in water rides!

Six Flags is a blast for me because my wheelchair gives us a pass to the front of every line.   Then we are usually encouraged to stay for a second ride to avoid the hassle and slight delay of lifting me in and out of the seat!  Let me know if you want me to go with you on your next visit.

Toward the end of the afternoon we headed to the amphitheater for featured speakers and a concert with Point of Grace and several other artists.  We relaxed and were thankful that Brent’s back survived lifting me all day and my bottom survived the bumpy rides without my cushy seat.  The speaker, Andy Stanley, began to share.  It was the first time I had heard him, and I couldn’t believe it then, and I still can’t believe it now – the verse he used in his talk was etched in my memory.

The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.  Proverbs 22:3

The fact that I walked (I mean rolled) away from a fifteen minute talk with a take away biblical principle and a verse that I have quoted over the years, and shared with others, is a hallmark of why I consider Andy Stanley one of the best communicators.  He has a gift, yet I’m sure he works hard to leave a listener with truth to remember, apply in their own lives, and use to help others in the future.  I’ve experienced other pastors and speakers who do this, just not quite like he does.  His one liners pack a powerful punch and resonate with me long after their delivery.

Here are a couple of my favorite quotes/principles from Andy Stanley:

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

“Direction, not intention, determines your destination.”

We have an amazing church home – it’s ‘family’ – and we learn and serve there each week.  Even if you have a local church where you lock in, grow and serve in Christ, I hope you seek additional valuable resources.   Be encouraged by the great technology available to us today and check out some wisdom from outside your church’s walls.  You could start now by tuning in to a message at North Point’s service online ‘live’ at 9:00 or 11:00 on Sundays or during one of four rebroadcasts.  Additionally, the podcast is available later.  This week they launch a series called, ‘Be Rich: Do More. Give More.’   Interestingly,  I just read an article featured in this month’s Consumer Reports magazine, written by a neurologist, titled ‘Surprising health benefits of giving.’  We have some other terrific ‘giving’ resources…ah…sounds like a post on ‘Giving’ is on my horizon.

Be Rich: Do More. Give More”  just might be a new favorite quote after this series.