David and Goliath

David and Goliath – Bible Story Verses

February 15, 2021 by Essay Writer

The introduction to Malcolm Gladwell’s book is aptly titled “Goliath”. That is to say, the author retells the famous legend in his own way here, mixing the biblical facts with nuggets of historically accurate facts to show that the moral of the story is not as it appears to be at the first glance. The “extended” version supplied by Gladwell includes references to the types of warriors both David and Goliath belonged to; the author insists that what really happened there was a hopeless stand-off between a “projectile” warrior and an infantryman. David saw this, recognized the possible advantage he could have if he broke the rules of the fair close combat and seized the opportunity, thus beating the enemy on his own terms. Gladwell uses this as an example of how a man can defeat a “giant” if that said man refuses to be blinded into stupidity by fear. The central thesis of the introduction is that “defeating a giant” (completing a task that seems impossible) can be done if a person analyzes the task first, disregarding its enormity to keep cool head, and then rejects obvious solutions that make the task look so difficult.

Gladwell starts off with retelling of the original legend in a way which suggests some sort of criticism. The author conveys the world-wide known plot in a dry, almost journalist-like manner. He then proceeds to make several witty remarks about the customs described in the Bible and how these customs were challenged when David faced Goliath with a sling. Important note to make here is that the smoothness of the transition between dry facts and the author’s opinionated conclusions render the whole piece surprisingly credible. That is, Gladwell makes several rather far-fetched suggestions which would probably make a critic frown in disbelief (or, rather, in concern for the author’s mental health), but these suggestions are predeceased by certain arguments which make the following claims look logical within the metaphorical significance of the relayed story.

Gladwell bases his “They Say” component on three pillars or, rather, sources of information. Firstly, the author, obviously, uses the original story and even cites certain passages. Secondly, Gladwell utilizes the knowledge of the ancient warfare, albeit in an overly simplified and abridged manner. Finally, the author uses the opinions of certain “experts” who put some muscle on the skeleton of the biblical story (namely, the author reveals some facts about usage of ancient slings, their power and utilization on battlefield): “Eitan Hirsch, a ballistics expert with the Israel Defense Force, recently did a series of calculations”. An important note to make here is that Gladwell does not add unnecessary complicity into background information: for example, the author tells that ancient warfare was, basically a bloody version of the modern “rock-paper-scissors” game with only three types of units for a general to choose from.

Overall simplicity of Gladwell’s factoids that he bases his reasoning upon can be justified if one is not entitled to view them in direct practical terms. That is, the author wants to convey the message related to the cunning approach of David versus bulky and ponderous simple-mindedness of Goliath. In order to do it, Gladwell constructs an argument that can only be the fruit of the author’s imagination – the author says that, in accordance with the rules of ancient warfare and universally acknowledged prowess of a slinger, Goliath was supposed to be “terrified” with the approaching David rather than feel insulted and assured in his victory. Moreover, Gladwell continues this line of reasoning, stating that, since Goliath was professed to be the mightiest (the most experienced) warrior, he was expected to assess the situation much faster than he did; in Gladwell’s views it implies that Goliath suffered from some kind of disease that involved brain tumors, vision impairment and near-senility. It is up to discussion whether such matters even bothered the people who wrote the original story down, but, put this way it suits the author’s intent well enough. That is, the whole point of the author’s chain of thought is to prove that even the scariest task at hand can be approached differently because it is not as scary and impregnable as it might seem at first glance.

The introduction to Gladwell’s book retells the old story in a new and slightly ridiculous way. Despite certain logical flaws in “They Say” part and unobvious conclusions made in “I Say” section, Gladwell manages to fuse these parts together to create a persuasive argument with enough attention-getters to prove the point. “Giants”, apparently, are not always ultimate undisputable challenges – that is, not when one attempts to seek ways around their advantages toward victory. In other words, the obvious solution to a difficult problem is not always the best one, similarly to the fact that a person trying to “beat a Giant” on their terms is less likely to succeed that a person thinking creatively.

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The Americans vs the British: an Unlikely Victory

February 15, 2021 by Essay Writer

An Unlikely Victory

The biblical story of David and Goliath is an excellent example of how an underdog can defeat a giant. In this tale, the Philistine giant named Goliath challenged the Israelites to fight him. Although the majority of Israelites were afraid of the the enormous Philistine, David volunteered to fight. The likelihood of David winning the battle against Goliath was slim, however against the odds, David defeated his foe. In the same way, the Revolutionary War saw the colonists face their own seemingly impossible struggle; the Americans akin to David against the British Goliath. In his fight, David had the disadvantage of his small size, however he was able to make up for this with his agility. Similarly, the Americans had disadvantages: Lack of supplies, soldiers, and training as well as the problematic loyalists. However, they overcame this with their own advantages: Favorable use of the terrain, stellar leaders, and powerful allies.

The American colonists were able to defeat the well disciplined British with the leadership of many famous generals, most notably George Washington. His greatest exploits included the Battles of Trenton and Yorktown. At Trenton, Washington navigated his troops across the Delaware River despite the inclement weather; this allowed them to bring an element of surprise that led them to victory against the Hessians. During the Battle of Yorktown, Washington’s command of his army and a French fleet allowed the troops to surround the British and prevent them from escaping. In addition to Washington, America had other capable leaders that helped the country gain independence such as Horatio Gates and Henry Knox. Horatio Gates is famous for his victory in Saratoga where he forced the British general Burgoyne to surrender after defeating his troops twice. Knox commanded the American artillery and was responsible for forcing the British out of Boston under threat of bombardment. The above generals were a crucial part of America’s battle to win freedom.

Utilizing terrain of the battlefield was a key advantage in the revolutionary war for the colonists. The American colonists had a good understanding of the land allowing them to quickly locate shortcuts and where to hide. The colonists also chose strategic locations for the battles to take place such as Bunker Hill. The Americans made best use of their knowledge of the terrain through guerilla warfare. At Lexington and Concord, through the use of this tactic, a small American militia was able to fight off the larger British army. The use of guerilla warfare was especially crucial to wearing down Cornwallis’s forces prior to their confrontation with the main continental army at Yorktown.

The American colonists did not gain independence by themselves. France, Britain’s historical enemy, contributed to America’s victory providing arms, ammunitions, supplies and uniforms. French troops and ships were also sent to America to support the Continental Army. The Yorktown Campaign could not have been won without the French contribution; under the command of Rochambeau, French forces landed in Rhode Island in which they fortified before combining with Washington’s army. Later that year, the Franco-American army traveled 700 miles to surround the British army at Yorktown while the French navy blocked the British from desperately needed supplies. Spain was another important ally for America, albeit on a smaller scale. Spain gave the colonists loans and started a military campaign located in Florida and Louisiana against the British. Despite Great Britain’s attempts to keep their control over the American colonies, the colonists partnership with their allies allowed them to gain freedom.

Although America had many advantages, the colonial troops faced many hardships. America wasn’t able to fully supply its troops due to the lack of money available. There were few factories in the colonies at the time, making it difficult to produce weapons, ships, and ammunition. The patriot cause was so underfunded that the continental soldiers often times had to purchase their uniforms themselves. While the Americans certainly had the willingness to fight, they were often short on the tools needed.

Not everyone believed in the Patriot’s cause; the Loyalists were another disadvantage the Americans had to deal with. Approximately 1/3 of colonists were Loyalists during the Revolutionary War. Loyalists, faithful to the British Monarchy, gave little assistance to the rebel cause. On the contrary, the Loyalists formed groups to fight against the Patriots such as the Royal American Regiment. They also acted as spies and gave the British soldiers shelter during the war. Even though the Patriots did not have full support, those who did believe in the cause were able to overcome this obstacle.

As mentioned earlier, America was an underdog. Their army in relation to Great Britain’s was not nearly as experienced or as big. The soldiers enrolled in the army had little training or discipline; they were volunteer farmers and craftsmen who could not compare to the trained British soldiers. They were also small in numbers; after November 1779 there were never more than 26,000 men serving in battle. On the other hand, Great Britain’s army was very powerful with a total of 56,000 soldiers . In addition, America didn’t organize a naval force until months after the revolution began, while on the other hand, Great Britain had the largest navy in the world at the time.

Before the war began, it would of been crazy to think the American colonies could be triumphant against Great Britain. America was weakened by many disadvantages such as a lack of supplies and number of soldiers. The group of Loyalists settled in America harmed the country’s support too. However, America’s leadership, clever use of terrain and guerilla warfare, and allies all propelled them to an unthinkable victory. Regardless of the hardships, the Continental Army were able to defeat the British and attain independence.

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A Critique of David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

February 15, 2021 by Essay Writer

Thank you for reading my paper. My paper is a critique of Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath, it is not simply attempting to analyze his piece but attempting to extract what he has said about difficulty and disability and compare it with what others have found regarding the topic in order to develop a greater understanding of the connection. My thesis is that Gladwell develops his argument but the evidence he uses is weak and he ignores the scientific characteristics of dyslexia as well as the societal issues involved with being a gifted dyslexic.

I start out by showing Gladwell’s idea of ‘desirable difficulty’ is based on overgeneralization of a scientific hypothesis. He examines a study that finds the very specific conclusion that changes in font can improve testing performance. He overgeneralizes this to difficulty as whole and attempts to show how it could cause similar performance in the case of dyslexia being the difficulty. This would be fine had he proved it with experiments and data, not a examining few instances which would prove his point. I show that overgeneralizing the results even slightly can result in incorrectness by citing a study that did just that and found their hypothesis to be incorrect.

I then show that his examples of people who prove dyslexia are a desirable difficulty actually are not examples of that at all. I show that he has ignored a subset of people known as gifted dyslexics who are incredibly intelligent but also have dyslexia. One of the main issues is recognizing these people and understanding how their disability holds them back. Gladwell not recognizing acts as a perfect example of this. My paper also somewhat serves to bring light to this issue.

Finally, I show that despite Gladwell misusing the idea of desirable difficulty and him not recognizing the genius of his examinees, he somehow arrived at a correct conclusion, but largely by chance, as his reasoning is thoroughly flawed. I cite a study showing that dyslexia can improve visual-spatial ability which can help people succeed in many of today’s most difficult tasks. This works to explain the fact that there are so many genius dyslexics and the fact that so many dyslexics are successful. Which Gladwell fails at doing.

My paper’s biggest strength is my integration of sources and connection of ideas. I think that I connected and supported my ideas very well and little is said without substantial evidence to support it. I also attempted to work on not beating around the bush with my words, and to be much more direct in this piece and I hope that worked. My biggest flaw is that it seems hard for me to provide something of my own to this as well as integrate to ‘genius’ into it. I hope the connections I am making are strong enough to make this more than a simple argument or paper. I also hope that my thesis is not too specific as well. I attempted to be more direct here instead of using superfluous wording, which is a habit of mine, and I fear I may have made it too convoluted in the process. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Best,

Manbir

Manbir Gulati

Professor Amelia Worsley

WRI 125

27 November 2013

The is on dat in the hose. Did you get that? No? Try again…still no? You’re not very bright are you…an IQ of 125? I suppose you’re just not really trying then. The[re] is [no] [b]at in the ho[u]se. It’s simple.

To many, it is an amazingly foreign concept to imagine a person who could be gifted, a genius even, yet be unable to complete what most would see as an incredibly basic task. Unfortunately, millions of people who struggle with living in the paradox of being a gifted dyslexic also struggle with others not understanding that it is possible to be one. Despite these hurdles, is it still possible to succeed? Even more counterintuitively, could it be possible that these “hurdles” could make someone more likely to succeed?

This extremely counterintuitive notion is precisely the one addressed in Malcolm Gladwell’s book David and Goliath. Gladwell makes the assertion that difficulty, and lack of opportunity can actually help one’s chances of success, not hurt them (12). He presents an interesting and persuasive argument stating that, in the case of dyslexia, the effects of the learning disability can actually cause one to develop skills more beneficial than the skill they lost. For example, he asserted about a dyslexic he examined, “the things he was forced to do because he could not read well turned out to be even more valuable. ” (128). Though Gladwell’s conclusion that disability can result in a greater likelihood of success may be correct, his overgeneralization of data, failure to discuss the inherent neurological benefits of dyslexia, and ignorance of the gifted dyslexic greatly problematizes his claim of causation.

Gladwell sets up his case for dyslexia engendering excellence by first outlining the idea of “Desirable Difficulty”(115). He explains that introducing difficulty into a situation can actually increase one’s ability to perform, rather than decrease it. In other words, some difficulty can be “desirable” due to more unobvious benefits. His main piece of evidence is a research paper done by two psychologists who administered a short IQ test to many students at top universities. They repeated the test for one of the highest scoring groups, the Princeton group, except this time they changed the font from a typical font to a small, grey, illegible one. This change actually greatly boosted student performance (Gladwell 122).

These results do show that a road block can help to improve performance rather than hurt it, but Gladwell greatly overgeneralizes these results. He attempts to use this study to prove that dyslexia could have the same effect (123). The study demonstrates how one particular interference in our ability to take in information while reading a question can increase our performance. Dyslexia also results in difficulty while gathering textual information. Using the logic of Gladwell’s extrapolations, one could easily say that perhaps this difficulty would cause greater performance involving reading, this, however, is not the case. The study cannot even be generalized to something along the lines of ‘difficulty in absorbing test content can improve results’. A study Divided attention: An undesirable difficulty in memory retention, done by Nicholas Gaspelin et al., directly attempts to tackle the desirable difficulty hypothesis as it was presented in the original research paper Gladwell used as the foundation for his book. They found:

“Although many studies have demonstrated that memory retrieval difficulty introduced during learning leads to memory benefits during later retrieval (R. A. Bjork & Bjork, 1992). On the basis of this empirical generalization from a diverse set of manipulations and contexts, it seemed plausible that divided attention might also provide such a benefit. However, all three of our experiments produced no divided-attention benefit” (981).

Desirable difficulty is a real scientific hypothesis, and one Gladwell uses to an extent it should not be used. Gaspelin and his colleagues – scientists in the field – used the evidence presented for the desirable difficulty hypothesis to make a much more limited extrapolation than the one Gladwell makes, and they found their extrapolations to be false. Gladwell is unjustified in making the extrapolations he does. Not only does Gladwell use this term and idea incorrectly when he says “Can dyslexia turn out to be a desirable difficulty?”, but he doesn’t even use data to show the ways in which the idea of desirable difficulty could apply to dyslexia, simply a few extraordinary cases. (123) He is using the idea of difficulty while encoding memory, to prove that the act of overcoming difficulty in a dyslexic’s life can lead to advantages later on, which is not a valid way of using the evidence from these studies.

Gladwell doesn’t even consider a scientific perspective. Contradictions between scientific studies regarding dyslexia and what Gladwell is doing prove further that he is extrapolating incorrectly. Gladwell points out that a figure named David Boies became an outstanding corporate lawyer and was dyslexic. He contends this was because of his outstanding memory which developed because, as a child, Boies’ inability to read encouraged him to memorize words instead of read them. “His memory by that point was a formidable instrument. He had been exercising it, after all” (128). Were we to generalize this specific case to prove Gladwell’s point, we would be implying that most dyslexics develop above average memory skills, but instead we find the exact opposite. A study examining dyslexia in relation to extraordinary ability, Dyslexia linked to talent done by Catya von Károlyi et al., very clearly accepts that “Problems with working memory are common among those with dyslexia (Swanson & Siegel 7)” (129). If Gladwell had attempted to find any sort of substantial evidence to prove a correlation between memory and dyslexia he would find his extrapolations unsupported. While this does discredit Gladwell’s case, it does not change the fact that both Boies and another figure Gladwell used, Gary Cohn, both had excellent memories, nor the huge number of immensely successful people who are dyslexic. (143, 124).

First, let’s look at the correlation between dyslexia and success that Gladwell cites. It is that many successful entrepreneurs have dyslexia, not that many dyslexics are successful entrepreneurs. Unlike in the desirable difficulty studies which showed that a desirable difficulty was not a difficulty which was only desirable to some, not all. The divided attention study did not show that as long as you overcame the divided attention difficulty you benefitted, nor was the study done on Princeton undergraduates a condition based on one overcoming the difficulty presented. That is why Gladwell’s interpretation of desirable difficulty is so flawed, he is using it to mean essentially that overcoming an obstacle will help you in life. The notion that overcoming adversity can be beneficial doesn’t seem like a very novel conclusion, nor does it prove or even fully relate to the correlation of success and dyslexia which he examined. Gladwell essentially concedes this argument later saying “Many people with dyslexia don’t manage to compensate for their disability, there are a remarkable number of dyslexics in prison, for example.”(157). It seems as though dyslexia, as Gladwell presents it, is more a gamble for success than a desirable difficulty as presented in the studies examined.

The correlation of success and dyslexia is still valid evidence though. So is the exceptional memory of Cohn and Boies. Gladwell stumbles upon this correlation by overgeneralizing and incorrectly uses it to support his hypothesis, but why did it exist for him to stumble upon it in the first place? In this case, two wrongs make a right, Gladwell does not seem to be aware of the subpopulation known as gifted dyslexics. These are incredibly brilliant individuals who happen to have a learning disability. Their learning disability and incredible intellect can interact in three main ways, outlined in Overlooked and Unchallenged: Gifted Students with Learning Disabilities by Carol Mills and Linda Brody. The first being students who can be seen as gifted, their intellect is acknowledged by themselves and by those around them, but they are thought of as slackers. They are thought to be simply wasting their intellect until “the academic difficulties of these students may increase to the point that they are so far behind their peers that someone finally suspects a disability” (Mills, Brody 36). The second class, which Boies and Cohn fall under, are people who are recognized as learning disabled but have their intellect masked due to the tasks they face. Finally, the last class has their intellect and disability perfectly mask each other so they get no special attention in either direction, they are simply perceived as average, and just accept that themselves (36). So with what frequency do these cases occur? They seem like they would be incredibly rare. Either one of these phenomena occurring in an individual is rare, but both together seems highly improbable. Surprisingly, “Many more students may be learning disabled and gifted than anyone realizes. In spite of their high intellectual ability, many of these students remain unchallenged, suffer silently, and do not achieve their potential because their educational needs are not recognized and addressed. ” (Mills 40). Gladwell ignorance is perfect proof of the amount this population is underserved. Instead of detailing how Cohn or Boies were geniuses who were held back by their disability, or talk about how they were clearly brilliant and unrecognized, he instead misused a scientific idea to attempt to show how these people overcame their disability and how they wouldn’t have gotten to where they were had they not been dyslexic. He refuses to acknowledge these men as geniuses and instead simply chalks it up to them be able to overcome what others could not, without even giving a second thought to what it was that allowed Cohn and Boies to overcome the obstacle while others couldn’t. Gladwell simply dismisses the other dyslexics as not being adequate enough. This ignorance on his part further proves how dyslexia is not in fact desirable as he continually claims. This ignorance, which he is not solely guilty of, is just another thing working against them, making their plight undesirable.

Gladwell interviews these men asking them “Would they wish dyslexia on their own children?” (183). They said no, despite Gladwell propounding the idea that dyslexia was in fact the seed behind their success. Cohn and Boies didn’t wish dyslexia upon their children because “they also knew firsthand what the price of that success was”(183). Now, this was with the idea that they would not be nearly as successful had they not struggled through their disability. They still thought that the pain of just being dyslexic alone was too much of a price to be successful. Imagine if these men instead saw themselves as geniuses with disabilities, and did not see their plight as the source of their power. Imagine how much that would hurt. Clearly this is not at all a desirable difficulty.

I have not yet offered proof that their giftedness and disability were not, in fact, correlated with each other. I have only shown that Malcolm’s idea of how they were correlated is flawed. The truth is that when Gladwell says “they succeeded…because of their disorder” (124), in all likelihood, he’s right…just not in the way he thinks he is.

In a previously cited source, Dyslexia linked to talent, Károlyi et al. performed a series of tests which proved increased performance tied to “visual-spatial ability” (427) in dyslexics. This is the reason, if there is any, that there is an overwhelmingly high number successful dyslexics. The authors of the paper says “ Global visual-spatial processing (what we refer to as “holistic inspection”) may underlie important real-world activities such as mechanical skill, carpentry, invention, visual artistry, surgery, and interpreting X-rays or magnetic resonance images (MRI).” (431). These characteristics and professions are ones largely associated with those cited by Gladwell. Invention and creativity are incredibly important in the careers he mentioned. Construction was a profession of Boies’s (115). One of Gladwell’s figures was even a surgeon (134). This finding both explains the population of genius dyslexics as well as the incredible number of extremely successful dyslexics.

So as it turns out, success and dyslexia are linked. Dyslexia can bring you benefit in the long run. But, Gladwell’s original proof for this conjecture is entirely flawed, and his ignorance of the subpopulation his figures reside in only serves to further undermine this group’s stature and propagate the largest problem they face: ignorance. Dyslexia causing growth is not at all the reason for the correlation nor is dyslexia a desirable difficulty. Dyslexia is a difficulty which may improve your visual-spatial cognition. These people are not successful because they are dyslexic, as Gladwell would like, they are instead gifted, perhaps because of their disability, and are successful because they are gifted.

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David And Goliath By Malcolm Gladwell: The Idea Of “The Beaten Dog In A Fight”

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

How many time do we try to dress up just to put ourselves become someone we are not familiar? People would like to hear stories about the underdog, but rather than that, everyone loves to be a top dog! But it is unrealistic because not everyone is the same. The story “David and Goliath,” written by Malcolm Gladwell, introducing a new idea of being an underdog by a true story from history. Each chapter I have read so far reflected a lot of specific examples of how things do not happen in the way people want to be. And also, this book challenges the readers to look at things in another perspective ways that we rarely thought of before.

The story “David and Goliath” itself is an example, which reflects the idea behind “the beaten dog in a fight” (The Shorter Oxford Dictionary, Third Edition, 1983). The book begins with a story between David and Goliath, the outsider against the insider. It is where the new word underdog brings out its metaphor. So what is exactly the meaning of an underdog? In short, an underdog is a person in the society, who popularly expected to lose. Whereas, the individual expected to win is called a top dog. The story digs into the ideas which are entered the reader’s languages for a metaphor as a victory by a weak party over the strong one. From the beginning, no one put the fate into David, a shepherd boy who volunteered to beat the Giant Goliath, even King Saul and the Israelites make the same mistakes. They don’t realize the real power can come from the invisible forms of all kinds. The giant makes fun, criticizes and even threatens, but it does not stop David from moving up and killing Goliath. Facing the difficulty odds help us empower the greatness in our inner strength. ” David refused to engage Goliath in close quarters, where he would surely lose” (Gladwell 28).

The willingness to try hard, to go through difficulty has defined the loser and winner. It’s happened the same to David when he uses the unconventional method to defeat the Giant. He refuses to come closer to Goliath, ignores to fight in the way the stronger wants, and win the battle in another wiser way. David is a shepherd boy, who always work in the dirty, dangerous place. But it taught him many skills the deal with the world through being a shepherd. When King Saul wants to dress David with full body armor, he refused to do so. Instead, he only uses his leather to be the weapon. That is because he has enough self-knowledge and self-confident to assure he does right. I have been an underdog numerous times in my life. It used to have some negative influences on me, which leads to low self-esteem, inferiority complex and loss of motivation. Gladwell’s idea of using the biggest weakness to identify one’s strength has affected my life a lot. I was born and lived as an underdog in a corrupt country. I spent my school years to absorb a bad and communist-influenced education, which prevent me from reaching my goal. In my earlier memory when I was a child, money was the only measure that people judged each other. Everything swings around cash. Unfortunately, I was naturally born to be poor. Nevertheless, facing the difficulty odds produce the greatness, and being an underdog produces changes on me. Being poor has shaped me into the person I am now. It teaches me to manage to live with a little amount of money.

Moreover, I have a home, a family with parents and an older brother, supporting me not only financial but also in mental, give me many changes to success in life. The misunderstanding of our disadvantages makes us easily give up or follow our challenges. Gladwell brings the idea of exploring our limitation as well as our opponent’s. Who could take such a courageous action in the fearful circumstances? The fight between David and Goliath has guided us the way to face the challenges: As long as we know our advantages and disadvantages, we can do whatever we want. For example, I am an immigrant from Vietnam two years ago. At that moment, I could not speak or understand English. I lost my self-confidence whenever I try to communicate with people.

However, I have a family who always believes in me, encourage me to face these difficulties. I use my biggest disadvantage to push me to learn and practice English frequency; and since I registered Mission College, my English has improved a lot. The perseverance to adapt difficulty makes me identify my strength. Being underdogs has changed the perspectives that we rarely appreciate the disadvantages and advantages. As long as we can be ourselves, we can face through difficulties and achieve success. If people judge you, that is their problem, not yours! We owe no one an explanation. Just do the best in life and stop overwhelm yourself. It is very tough to meet other people’s expectations, and we should not strive to do that. A starting from bottom gives us a unique perspective about how it takes to move our platforms to the next level. And the ability to be humble, empathetic are skills that make us stand out from the crowd!

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Analysis of How the Weaker Dominates the Stronger in “David and Goliath”

January 12, 2021 by Essay Writer

In the Elah valley, a massive warrior Goliath was slain by a shepherd David in a battle. Many see the battle to be one of sheer luck and wit, but this fable could uncover a more broad and common perspective. Gladwell argues that the weaker person, or underdog, will not always lose or be at fault. He believes that “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem” and that power has a limit, citing various events and people who have overcome each of their own obstacles. These various references to past events and people along with the use of common rhetorical strategies make Gladwell’s argument that “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem” a plausible one.

Gladwell’s most remarkable way of helping to argue his point is through his use of various allusions to events. Whether he references a conflict between the Irish people, the moment cancer becomes cured by a doctor, or the invention of a new anti-criminal law in California; Gladwell always uses them well to strengthen his argument. For example, Gladwell uses the story of a woman that he refers to as “Caroline Sacks”. She chose to go to a very prestigious university, Brown University, instead of the University of Maryland. The competition that she had in her classes caused her to flunk out. He uses the story to argue that at a less prestigious college, she may have completed her degree, since she would’ve had the same opportunities out of college and she would’ve had less competition in her classes. (However, the argument is more fully developed through the use of statistics, which will be discussed later.) Another allusion that Gladwell makes is a reference to the success of a Junior High basketball team led by Vivek Ranadivé. A majority of the players have little experience with basketball, so Ranadivé uses a full court press, where all players cover the field to play defense. This technique used little skill and didn’t require tricky, long-distance shots, so the players were successful. The result was that the basketball team beat more skilled competitors and reached the national championships for junior high basketball. Gladwell’s skillful use of allusions is strengthened furthermore when he connects this story of Ranadivé with the victory of Arabs under the Lawrence of Arabia, when he beat the skilled Turks using unconventional welfare. These allusions account for a large reason why Gladwell’s argument is so successful.

Gladwell’s argument is successful because of his use of ethos, logos, and pathos, as well. Gladwell connects to the audience by appealing to the emotions (pathos), as he questions the reader several times. For example, Gladwell asks the question, “You wouldn’t wish dyslexia on your child. Or would you?” after thoroughly discussing the problems that a dyslexic suffers through. Another use of pathos would be when Gladwell commands the reader to imagine he or she is a doctor and whether they would slack off more if they had fewer clients compared to working harder if they had more clients. This argument would be used to push the idea that fewer students in a classroom is not always a benefit to the students or teachers. Gladwell strengthens his argument through the use of information from knowledgeable people, referred to as ethos. He uses the knowledge of these people from the very beginning, even being used to explain how David may have been more advantaged in the battle than one may think. He cites that Goliath had a medical condition that professionals coined acromegaly, which made him not only gigantic but also impaired his vision. The point that David was advantaged in the battle is further explained using the knowledge of Eitan Hirsch, a ballistics expert with the Israeli Defense Forces, who said that a shot from an expert slinger at a distance of thirty-five meters would be enough to penetrate Goliath’s skull and to kill him. This leads to an analogy that this simple slingshot is similar to a simple, modern handgun, which is quite the powerful weapon.

Another reference to a knowledgeable person occurs in the discussion about Caroline Sacks. Sacks felt that she had a problem competing with the intelligent students at Brown University, so she dropped out. However, she would’ve been at the top of the class at a less prestigious college, like the University of Maryland (her second choice). Gladwell references psychologist Herbert Marsh’s idea of the “Big Fish-Little Pond theory” to further prove the point that Sacks may have still succeeded if she went to a less prestigious college. Marsh’s idea was that the more elite a college or university is, the less proud a student feels about his or her accomplishments. The idea becomes even more powerful when it gets connected to another competition—the contest to get into the Salon in France. Thousands of artists would try every year to get a spot in this Salon, but only a select few would get accepted. A group of impressionist painters who decide to not worry about the Salon and want to become a “big fish in a little pond”, leading them to become highly-regarded artists, which includes Renoir and Degas, just to name a few.

The most remarkable technique that Gladwell uses in his book to argue that “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem” is the use of statistics and facts, or logos. The chapter discussing Caroline Sacks uses statistics to argue that a person who is top of the class at a less prestigious institution may have the same success in being published after getting a PhD compared to one who is top of the class at a college like Princeton or Harvard. Gladwell compares the average amount of papers published after graduating with the percentile at which they graduated. The data shows that a person who has an easier chance of being top of the class at a less prestigious college will still have a great chance of succeeding after college. The use of statistics is so prevalent that even one chapter is devoted to a graph. The chapter discussed whether a small class size was truly the best relied fully on a graph. Gladwell dubbed the graph an “inverted U-curve”, stating that there is always a maximum value. After the maximum value, the success would begin to decrease, arguing that there is a limit to success. The U-curve is solidified once Gladwell asks teachers about their ideal class size. The teachers state that a size around twenty would be best. Anything higher would add too much work to the teacher’s work load and anything lower may allow for limited points of view in a discussion or a small amount of work that may cause the teacher to slack off. The idea of the U-curve continues up until a later chapter, in which Gladwell discusses why the police putting too many people in jail may be a problem. Gladwell finds out from criminologist Todd Clear that “if more than two percent of the neighborhood goes to prison, the effect on crime starts to reverse.” This information cemented the idea that there must be a limit to power and that law enforcement, like many other issues, follow an inverted U-curve.

The world presents many with obstacles and challenges. Some challenges are lifelong and unchangeable, such as dyslexia, while others are able to be circumvented, such as getting into the Salon. The real premise behind David and Goliath is that these traits are commonly misunderstood and that power does have a limit. Gladwell’s constant use of allusions, statistics, and references to knowledgeable figures give credibility to his claim and prove that, after all, a giant isn’t as giant as he may seem.

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The Weaker Dominating the Stronger: Rhetorical Strategies in Gladwell’s “David and Goliath”

February 15, 2019 by Essay Writer

In the Elah valley, a massive warrior Goliath was slain by a shepherd David in a battle. Many see the battle to be one of sheer luck and wit, but this fable could uncover a more broad and common perspective. Gladwell argues that the weaker person, or underdog, will not always lose or be at fault. He believes that “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem” and that power has a limit, citing various events and people who have overcome each of their own obstacles. These various references to past events and people along with the use of common rhetorical strategies make Gladwell’s argument that “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem” a plausible one.

Gladwell’s most remarkable way of helping to argue his point is through his use of various allusions to events. Whether he references a conflict between the Irish people, the moment cancer becomes cured by a doctor, or the invention of a new anti-criminal law in California; Gladwell always uses them well to strengthen his argument. For example, Gladwell uses the story of a woman that he refers to as “Caroline Sacks”. She chose to go to a very prestigious university, Brown University, instead of the University of Maryland. The competition that she had in her classes caused her to flunk out. He uses the story to argue that at a less prestigious college, she may have completed her degree, since she would’ve had the same opportunities out of college and she would’ve had less competition in her classes. (However, the argument is more fully developed through the use of statistics, which will be discussed later.) Another allusion that Gladwell makes is a reference to the success of a Junior High basketball team led by Vivek Ranadivé. A majority of the players have little experience with basketball, so Ranadivé uses a full court press, where all players cover the field to play defense. This technique used little skill and didn’t require tricky, long-distance shots, so the players were successful. The result was that the basketball team beat more skilled competitors and reached the national championships for junior high basketball. Gladwell’s skillful use of allusions is strengthened furthermore when he connects this story of Ranadivé with the victory of Arabs under the Lawrence of Arabia, when he beat the skilled Turks using unconventional welfare. These allusions account for a large reason why Gladwell’s argument is so successful.

Gladwell’s argument is successful because of his use of ethos, logos, and pathos, as well. Gladwell connects to the audience by appealing to the emotions (pathos), as he questions the reader several times. For example, Gladwell asks the question, “You wouldn’t wish dyslexia on your child. Or would you?” after thoroughly discussing the problems that a dyslexic suffers through. Another use of pathos would be when Gladwell commands the reader to imagine he or she is a doctor and whether they would slack off more if they had fewer clients compared to working harder if they had more clients. This argument would be used to push the idea that fewer students in a classroom is not always a benefit to the students or teachers. Gladwell strengthens his argument through the use of information from knowledgeable people, referred to as ethos. He uses the knowledge of these people from the very beginning, even being used to explain how David may have been more advantaged in the battle than one may think. He cites that Goliath had a medical condition that professionals coined acromegaly, which made him not only gigantic but also impaired his vision. The point that David was advantaged in the battle is further explained using the knowledge of Eitan Hirsch, a ballistics expert with the Israeli Defense Forces, who said that a shot from an expert slinger at a distance of thirty-five meters would be enough to penetrate Goliath’s skull and to kill him. This leads to an analogy that this simple slingshot is similar to a simple, modern handgun, which is quite the powerful weapon.

Another reference to a knowledgeable person occurs in the discussion about Caroline Sacks. Sacks felt that she had a problem competing with the intelligent students at Brown University, so she dropped out. However, she would’ve been at the top of the class at a less prestigious college, like the University of Maryland (her second choice). Gladwell references psychologist Herbert Marsh’s idea of the “Big Fish-Little Pond theory” to further prove the point that Sacks may have still succeeded if she went to a less prestigious college. Marsh’s idea was that the more elite a college or university is, the less proud a student feels about his or her accomplishments. The idea becomes even more powerful when it gets connected to another competition—the contest to get into the Salon in France. Thousands of artists would try every year to get a spot in this Salon, but only a select few would get accepted. A group of impressionist painters who decide to not worry about the Salon and want to become a “big fish in a little pond”, leading them to become highly-regarded artists, which includes Renoir and Degas, just to name a few.

The most remarkable technique that Gladwell uses in his book to argue that “the powerful and strong are not always what they seem” is the use of statistics and facts, or logos. The chapter discussing Caroline Sacks uses statistics to argue that a person who is top of the class at a less prestigious institution may have the same success in being published after getting a PhD compared to one who is top of the class at a college like Princeton or Harvard. Gladwell compares the average amount of papers published after graduating with the percentile at which they graduated. The data shows that a person who has an easier chance of being top of the class at a less prestigious college will still have a great chance of succeeding after college. The use of statistics is so prevalent that even one chapter is devoted to a graph. The chapter discussed whether a small class size was truly the best relied fully on a graph. Gladwell dubbed the graph an “inverted U-curve”, stating that there is always a maximum value. After the maximum value, the success would begin to decrease, arguing that there is a limit to success. The U-curve is solidified once Gladwell asks teachers about their ideal class size. The teachers state that a size around twenty would be best. Anything higher would add too much work to the teacher’s work load and anything lower may allow for limited points of view in a discussion or a small amount of work that may cause the teacher to slack off. The idea of the U-curve continues up until a later chapter, in which Gladwell discusses why the police putting too many people in jail may be a problem. Gladwell finds out from criminologist Todd Clear that “if more than two percent of the neighborhood goes to prison, the effect on crime starts to reverse.” This information cemented the idea that there must be a limit to power and that law enforcement, like many other issues, follow an inverted U-curve.

The world presents many with obstacles and challenges. Some challenges are lifelong and unchangeable, such as dyslexia, while others are able to be circumvented, such as getting into the Salon. The real premise behind David and Goliath is that these traits are commonly misunderstood and that power does have a limit. Gladwell’s constant use of allusions, statistics, and references to knowledgeable figures give credibility to his claim and prove that, after all, a giant isn’t as giant as he may seem.

Read more
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