*David and Goliath*

Quite possibly it is Gladwell’s best book.  His writing is better yet and also more consistently philosophical.  For all the talk of “cherry picking,” the main thesis is that many qualities which usually appear positive are in fact non-monotonic in value and can sometimes turn negative.  If you consider Gladwell’s specific citations of non-monotonicities to be cherry-picking, you’re not understanding the hypothesis being tested.  Take the book’s central message to be “here’s how to think more deeply about what you are seeing.”  To be sure, this is not a book for econometricians, but it so unambiguously improves the quality of the usual public debates, in addition to entertaining and inspiring and informing us, I am very happy to recommend it to anyone who might be tempted.  It also shows Gladwell’s side as a regional thinker like never before.  And the moral lesson of the work — don’t write people off — is very important indeed and we are far from having fully absorbed it.  The same can be said for the second moral lesson of the book which is don’t overrate your power.


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