Finished this book today. (Is there an unworthy read by Gladwell?)
If nothing else, I like the orderliness of his books. In this one, the nine chapters are divided into three parts driving home this theory: The powerful are not as powerful as they seem-nor the weak as weak. Each chapter is entitled by the person’s name, the “David,” whose story Gladwell unfolds supporting his theory. These people include students, doctors, activists, coaches, educators, lawyers, pastors, Irish Catholics, and parents of murdered daughters. (Saw some glimpses of myself in Wyatt Walker, chapter 6. You’ll have to read to decide if you agree or to see in which person you see your own glimpse.)
The final chapter tells the story of Andre Trocme, a Huguenot pastor that lived in the French town Le Chambon-sur-Lignon during World War II. He led the town to become a haven for Jews, despite being imprisoned for it. Gladwell argues that one reason why Trocme and his town could stand up for the Jews was because of their own history of persecution. They didn’t view protecting Jews as a dangerous thing like the rest of France. Trocme’s wife Magda said this about her thoughts when the first refugee appeared at their door: “I did not know that it would be dangerous. Nobody thought of that….There was no decision to make. The issue was, Do you think we are all brothers or not? Do you think it is unjust to turn in Jews or not? Then let us try to help!”
Magda did what few of us do. She dug beneath the surface question to answer the deeper question. And the question she answered is critical to all our foundations. After reading these nine stories, I’d say one of the most clear differences between Davids and Goliaths is their foundations. Most likely, we’d all like to think our foundations are David-ish. If you’d like to test yours, you should read this book.