Friday, October 11, 2013

Gladwell: David and Goliath and returning to faith

TED Talk on his David and Goliath book:

And this interview

Interview: Malcolm Gladwell on his return to faith while writing “David and Goliath”
...Are you part of a church or group?A: Not at the moment. I was when I lived in DC. I would go to Washington Community Fellowship. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is trying to join a community. I would probably be drawn toward the Mennonite world and the Anabaptist tradition. It’s my family’s tradition now, and their values and interpretations are most consistent with what I have come to feel is important.
Q: Has the evolution of your faith informed your writing?A: I feel that I have been asking different kinds of questions. This book differs from past books because it’s less about looking at things at a high, theoretical level — what are the principles that govern the way we behave or the way success happens. This book is much more concerned with individuals and the choices they make. Going in that direction makes sense if you’re taking religious perspectives much more seriously.
Q: This seems like the most religious of  all of your books.A: You’re right. That’s why I titled it after one of the most famous of all Bible stories. The choice of how to end the book is really important because it frames the whole experience. The theme of the book is that much of what is beautiful and powerful in the world comes from adversity and struggle. The other theme is that people who appear to have no material advantage are much more powerful than they appear.
Q: David and Goliath is quite famous, yes. What about Jesus? Where might he fit in in your narrative?A: He does fit. Here is one of the most revolutionary figures in history. He comes from the humblest of beginnings. He never held elected office. He never had an army at his disposal. He never got rich; he had nothing that we would associate with power and advantage. Nonetheless, what does he accomplish? An unfathomable amount. He is almost the perfect illustration of this idea that you have to look in the heart to know what someone’s capable of.
Q: Many Christians point to some kind of personal conversion experience? Did you have one?A: I realized what I had missed. It wasn’t an “I woke up one morning” kind of thing. It was a slow realization something incredibly powerful and beautiful in the faith that I grew up with that I was missing. Here I was writing about people of extraordinary circumstances and it slowly dawned on me that I can have that too.
      Full interview here 

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