Tag: Punishments

Malcolm Gladwell – David & Goliath | Review

Title: David & Goliath

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 308

Rating: 3/5

I usually enjoy reading Malcolm Gladwell’s stuff, but this one was a little bit of a disappointment. I think the problem was that it was just far too basic – it basically shares a simple idea in a couple of pages and then spends the remaining 300 pages to give a bunch of examples. By about halfway through, I was thinking about DNFing it, but I stuck with it. I’m not sure whether I’m glad or not.

Basically, the idea is that it’s often the underdog who comes out on top, because they’re able to be more nimble and to use that to give them a competitive advantage. We see this in the story of David vs Goliath, although Gladwell argues that David was always the likely winner because he had a sling and Goliath was wearing heavy, cumbersome armour. He had no chance of getting close to David in the first place.

Then he talks at length about all sorts of different organisations, from the classic examples like Apple and Google to more obscure examples, such as the guy who campaigned for the three strikes law in California. It turns out that while the idea of harsher punishments might be a smart one, it just doesn’t really work in practice.

Overall, would I recommend this? Nah, I would not. It’s not that it’s terrible, it’s just pretty boring and not Gladwell’s best by a long shot. I’d recommend something like Blink instead. I still intend to read all of his books at some point, but it might take me a little longer to get to them now. He’s gone down a lot in my esteem and that’s a bit of a bummer. But it is what it is.

Learn more about David & Goliath.


Charles Bukowski – Ham On Rye | Review

Title: Ham On Rye

Author: Charles Bukowski

Type: Fiction/Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 318

Rating: 9/10


Charles Bukowski - Ham On Rye

Charles Bukowski – Ham On Rye


This is Bukowski’s fourth novel, and it’s been described as his most autobiographical – nevertheless, like the work of Jack Kerouac, it’s difficult to categorise because of the pseudonyms that are used. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Hank Chinaski, crazy writer with a penchant for alcohol and horses.

At least, meet the young Hank Chinaski – Ham On Rye focuses largely on Bukowski’s childhood, and it’s a moving tale that delves deep in to his troubled relationship with his bastard of a father, a man who used to beat him with his belt and subject him to a range of ‘punishments‘ which would amount to child abuse in our modern society.

That’s not to say that alcohol isn’t mentioned, though – in fact, you’ll discover the secret of the great poet’s first ever drink as he comes of age during the Great Depression in Los Angeles. It’s interesting to read his early memories, and slightly surprising that he can still remember them after years of wine and regret.


Charles Bukowski

Charles Bukowski


As always, Bukowski’s writing is lucid and compelling, as moreish as the alcohol that he keeps on pouring down his neck. I doubt that he was ever the most attractive of people – his elderly, wizened face looks a bit like a walnut or the scrotum of an OAP – but his teenage years must have been particularly painful thanks to his excessive acne. It was so bad that he had to undergo painful medical treatments, and he details this with a frankness that’s surprisingly refreshing.

While it’s Bukowski’s poetry that made me fall in love with his work, his prose is also excellent and Ham On Rye is one of the best of his semi-autobiographical novels. If you’re yet to discover his work, this is as good a place as any to start out.


Charles Bukowski Quote

Charles Bukowski Quote


Click here to buy Ham On Rye.