Bryan Appleyard

Playing the Advantage

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants

By

Allen Lane/The Penguin Press 352pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Before considering the content of a Malcolm Gladwell book, it is first necessary to consider it as a marketing exercise and a genre. My proof copy comes with a cover proclaiming ‘The new Malcolm Gladwell is here’ and, inside, there is an advert for ‘The David and Goliath Tour’, a series of live shows taking place in London, Liverpool and Dublin. Furthermore, a significant number of the hundreds of books I am sent annually are implicitly – and sometimes explicitly – written in imitation of Gladwell. This is understandable. David and Goliath is his fifth book; the previous four have sold millions and so will this one. Death and taxes have been joined by huge Gladwell sales as the only certainties in life. 

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • With our February issue about to go to press, enjoy a slice of LR history - Hilary Mantel on Joan Haslip's biograph… ,
    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,