“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw
A few months ago, he was carried away to the prison by Delhi Police. In two days he will be Delhi’s Chief Minister.
I always find it instructive to pick up a good topical book which helps me understand what’s going on right now. And so, to understand the Kejriwal Phenomenon, I picked up David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcom Gladwell.
A few passages I highlighted in reveal that Kejriwal The Underdog, represents a pattern.
“He was an underdog and a misfit, and that gave him the freedom to try things no one else even dreamt of.”
“Much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of these kinds of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty… We consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong. We misread them. We misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the sources of great weakness.”
“Suppose you were to total up all the wars over the past two hundred years that occurred between very large and very small countries. Let’s say that one side has to be at least ten times larger in population and armed might than the other. How often do you think the bigger side wins? Most of us, I think, would put that number at close to 100 percent. A tenfold difference is a lot. But the actual answer may surprise you. When the political scientist Ivan Arreguín-Toft did the calculation a few years ago, what he came up with was 71.5 percent. Just under a third of the time, the weaker country wins.”
“T. E. Lawrence could triumph because he was the farthest thing from a proper British Army officer. He did not graduate with honors from the top English military academy. He was an archaeologist by trade who wrote dreamy prose. He wore sandals and full Bedouin dress when he went to see his military superiors. He spoke Arabic like a native, and handled a camel as if he had been riding one all his life. He didn’t care what people in the military establishment thought about his “untrained rabble” because he had little invested in the military establishment. And then there’s David. He must have known that duels with Philistines were supposed to proceed formally, with the crossing of swords. But he was a shepherd, which in ancient times was one of the lowliest of all professions. He had no stake in the finer points of military ritual. We spend a lot of time thinking about the ways that prestige and resources and belonging to elite institutions make us better off. We don’t spend enough time thinking about the ways in which those kinds of material advantages limit our options.”
“Why has there been so much misunderstanding around that day in the Valley of Elah On one level, the duel reveals the folly of our assumptions about power. The reason King Saul is skeptical of David’s chances is that David is small and Goliath is large. Saul thinks of power in terms of physical might. He doesn’t appreciate that power can come in other forms as well—in breaking rules, in substituting speed and surprise for strength. Saul is not alone in making this mistake. In the pages that follow, I’m going to argue that we continue to make that error today…”
“For some reason, this is a very difficult lesson for us to learn. We have, I think, a very rigid and limited definition of what an advantage is. We think of things as helpful that actually aren’t and think of other things as unhelpful that in reality leave us stronger and wiser. Part One of David and Goliath is an attempt to explore the consequences of that error. When we see the giant, why do we automatically assume the battle is his for the winning?”
“What the Israelites saw, from high on the ridge, was an intimidating giant. In reality, the very thing that gave the giant his size was also the source of his greatest weakness. There is an important lesson in that for battles with all kinds of giants. The powerful and the strong are not always what they seem.”
“Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”