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I had just finished ordering Malcom Gladwell’s new book, David & Goliath from Chapters on-line (taking advantage of a 40% discount) when I decided to check out Geoff Smith’s blog. Geoff is the President & CEO of my former alma mater, EllisDon Corporation and his blogs are always insightful and inspiring. Both Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell and Geoff Smith have addressed a subject about which I have very strong feelings – that we are each masters of our own destiny and personal happiness and very often the Davids succeed while the Goliaths fail. I also referenced this in my review of Jeannette Walls’ book, The Glass Castle in an earlier blog posting.

Several months ago I watched a documentary on TV about half-a-dozen billionaires from around the world – how they made their fortunes and what made them different. In every case the individuals came from very humble beginnings. They had neither financial nor educational advantages. None were university-educated and they all came from poor families yet they built successful businesses.

What makes such people rise above difficulties while others do not is a subject that is endlessly fascinating to me and I am convinced that in order to succeed one has to have been hungry, metaphorically speaking. Getting ahead and succeeding in life by today’s societal standards requires a certain kind of innate intelligence not necessarily associated with education, as well as a large dose of good old-fashioned grit and determination. Each of us alone is responsible for our own success. And once we have achieved this there is no room for complacency. Just ask Blackberry.

I can’t wait to read David & Goliath. By the way, did you know that Malcolm Gladwell grew up here in Ontario, Canada (check him out on Wikipedia) and coincidently we share the same birthdate  – albeit 16 years apart. No wonder he’s so clever.

Update: Catch him being interviewed on CBC’s The Current

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Only the strong survive – or do they?

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