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How underdogs win

posted by Jason Kottke   May 14, 2009

You’ve probably already seen this, but I just finished it so I’m posting: How David Beats Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell. The main thesis is that through hard work and unconventional tactics, seemingly overmatched teams/people/armies can prevail against more powerful opponents.

It is easier to retreat and compose yourself after every score than swarm about, arms flailing. We tell ourselves that skill is the precious resource and effort is the commodity. It’s the other way around. Effort can trump ability — legs, in Saxe’s formulation, can overpower arms — because relentless effort is in fact something rarer than the ability to engage in some finely tuned act of motor coördination.

A post on Gladwell’s blog addresses some of the criticisms people had with the piece.

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