David And Goliath: A Short Story Analysis

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Essay 6 Underdog stories are almost like folklore; they provide inspiration for all people, saying that even if you are not advantaged you should be able to succeed. However, are successful underdogs really disadvantaged and are the “favorites” really advantaged? Malcolm Gladwell in David and Goliath argues that the underdogs may be the advantaged ones and the favorites may be the disadvantaged ones by analyzing several case studies which contain either hidden advantages for the Davids or the unknown disadvantages for the Goliaths. Two particular case studies of interest were the story of Vivek Ranadive and the story of Emil “Jay” Freireich. Vinik Ranadive is a software engineer that coached his daughter’s basketball team to the championship…show more content…
His story begins as a Hungarian immigrant to the United States; his parents were not doing well and his father committed suicide when Freireich was a young child. This alone is a horrible story which creates a significant disadvantage. Now instead of growing up as a Hungarian immigrant with two poor parents, he is a Hungarian immigrant growing up with one poor parent. The story began to change as he went through school – he was able to go to college. Once in college he chose to become a doctor since at the time this was the most esteemed profession. Freireich went on to establish the use of a drug cocktail for the treatment of cancer patients which revolutionized chemotherapy, as well as dramitcally improving the life expectancy of cancer patients. While the story is an incredible “rags to riches” tale, Gladwell does not thoroughly make his point. He attempts to use research by Marvin Eisenstadt to explain the idea that losing a parent becomes a remote miss as well, as other anecdotes that demonstrate how remote misses build the courage that is required for success. The main problem is he never clarifies an argument for why Freireich experienced a remote miss. Part of Gladwell’s argument was that Freireich pushed the horrible childhood to the back of his mind, and by ignoring the past his situation became a remote miss, thus…show more content…
Even though only two case studies were presented here, the other case studies presented were certainly less convincing than Ranadive’s story. The story of Caroline Sacks cannot hold up to the concept of hindsight bias as described by Duncan Watts. The story of David Boies loses validity when you compare the number of successful dyslexics to the number of unsuccessful ones. Even Ranadive’s story could be unconvincing if you consider the financial resources he was able to devote to the team by having a former NFL player as an assistant coach means they were not underdogs in the first place. Overall, Gladwell’s argument may be valid for the few cases presented but it cannot be widely

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