Against the Odds: Succeeding as an Underdog

Against the Odds: Succeeding as an Underdog
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Scott Lachut, PSFK Labs
  • 15 may 2009

Malcolm Gladwell examines the plight of the underdog in his latest piece for the New Yorker titled “How David Beats Goliath.”  Using a number of examples that support his claims, Gladwell determines that when faced with a disadvantage in terms of ability – this can be anything from talent and physical prowess to money and infrastructure – the best chance an outmatched opponent has of succeeding is by changing the rules of engagement and trying that much harder. And while his central thesis may seem like common sense, Gladwell finds numerous instances throughout history, the most illustrative come from the fields of battle – from foreign shores to the competition’s home floor – where more often than not, the opposite has been the case. And because of this, the side with greater advantage almost always wins. So then why doesn’t the underdog adopt this strategy more often?

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