When life gets tough, Shelley Joyce turns to Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath

The host of CBC Radio's Daybreak Kamloops says David and Goliath is a light in an increasingly competitive world.
In an increasingly competitive world, Shelley Joyce says David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell is a bright light. (CBC/Hachette)

July 1, 2017 marks 150 years since Confederation in Canada. CBC Books is creating the Great Canadian Reading List - a list of 150 books curated by you. 

Shelley Joyce, host CBC Radio's Daybreak Kamloops, adds David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell to the list.

"Both my kids are going to our local university Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

"It's a competitive world out there for young people — tons of stress and pressure on them to attend the best university, get the highest grades, perform at elite level in sport, academics, etc. I find every kid is expected to be exceptional. And, it's freaking them out! I would like my kids to find happiness and fulfillment vs. perfection.

"Malcolm Gladwell points out in David and Goliath that small ponds are welcoming places for those on the inside. He gives evidence to suggest that attending a small local school (community and friendship) can be better for learners than scoring a seat in a big academically superior university (big fish, small pond).

"He suggests that the big pond takes bright students and demoralizes them... the little pond maximizes your chances to do whatever you want.

"Living and working in a small-ish community, I have found this to be true. That students training here to be doctors get a better hands-on experience in our local hospital. They are helping to deliver babies instead of watching somebody snip the cord from the back of a crowded room.

"In fact, the same hands-on benefits of interns here at CBC often get the same small pond payoff. A chance to work on big important stories that help to develop their journalistic sense quickly.

"It's all about practical hands-on experience in a small pond.

"Gladwell's philosophy in this book is one I hope to be true. That grit beats talent and affluence when it comes to getting ahead.

"This book gives me comfort when life is a struggle."

Shelley Joyce is the host of Daybreak Kamloops on CBC Radio, a community-focused morning radio show in Kamloops, B.C.

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