How Pitino Beats Lawrence of Arabia

Malcolm Gladwell’s article on underdogs from last week’s New Yorker was interesting and full of anecdotes, though the fawning over Rick Pitino gave me great pause because Rick Pitino did a little destruction of the Celtics that lasted until the middle of this decade. Along with Pitino, you’ll read about David and Goliath, Lawrence of Arabia, a girls basketball team from CA, and wargames. The single paragraph that attempts to explain antisemitism was weird and unnecessary in the scheme of the article, but there’s a couple nuggets like the one below that belong on a motivation poster.

We tell ourselves that skill is the precious resource and effort is the commodity. It’s the other way around. Effort can trump ability—legs, in Saxe’s formulation, can overpower arms—because relentless effort is in fact something rarer than the ability to engage in some finely tuned act of motor coordination.

Update: Gladwell has posted a response to some criticisms of his description of the press and calling Rick Pitino’s 1996 Kentucky team an underdog.

How Pitino Beats Lawrence of Arabia

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