From The New Yorker:
David’s victory over Goliath, in the Biblical account, is held to be an anomaly. It was not. Davids win all the time. The political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft recently looked at every war fought in the past two hundred years between strong and weak combatants. The Goliaths, he found, won in 71.5 per cent of the cases. That is a remarkable fact. Arreguín-Toft was analyzing conflicts in which one side was at least ten times as powerful—in terms of armed might and population—as its opponent, and even in those lopsided contests the underdog won almost a third of the time.
The British-Canadian journalist who has made a career out of the counter-intuitive has a new book coming out later this year in which he will be investigating the relationship between the weak and the strong – between the Davids and Goliaths of our world.
His new book is partly inspired by an article he wrote for The New Yorker in May 2009 about an amateur group of 12-year basket-ball players who attracted a lot of attention after ending up at the national championships. By changing their strategy and playing in an unconventional way, this team severely increased their odds to win. What is it that makes the weak beat the strong time and time again? Click here to read more
Gladwell will be looking at why we are so often surprised when underdogs win, how often they win and why.
Malcom Gladwell has written four books. All four were listed on The New York Times Best Seller List. David and Goliath is expected to release in October 2013.