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TheStreet Open House

Persuasion Expert Amy Showalter Shares New Thoughts On Gladwell's "David And Goliath" Book

CINCINNATI, Nov. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell might be feeling a bit like an underdog as reviewers have criticized his comments about "the benefits of adversity" in his new book, "David and Goliath."

"Malcolm starts with a good premise, but he isn't telling the rest of the story," said Amy Showalter, author of " The Underdog Edge," who has interviewed more than 60 underdogs who have found ways to overcome obstacles to get their ideas accepted in business, government and politics.

Reviewers from The New York Times to the Wall Street Journal have taken Gladwell to task on several of his premises, including one where he says that any person who has an adversity, such as dyslexia, is likely to emerge a winner.

"That's simply not true," said Showalter, who also studied the social psychology literature from universities on this subject. "People who faced another adversity Gladwell wrote about – that of losing a parent early in life – face as much chance of winding up in jail or committing suicide as they do of achieving success."

Showalter, who consults with trade groups, associations, non-profits and grassroots political organizations presented detailed information and play-by-play tactics on how underdogs really get ahead in her book, "The Underdog Edge."

"The key to dealing with adversity is how you handle it. High achievers don't ruminate, they activate. They don't over analyze," said Showalter, who presents keynote speeches at conferences for trade associations, corporations and large non-profit advocacy groups. "However, people who face adversity poorly tend to over-analyze and talk about themselves more.  They go to the dark side, which Gladwell doesn't discuss."

Based on extensive research with political leaders, business executives and the people who successfully persuaded them, her book features peer-reviewed research which cites grit as a key factor in determining success. Fortunately, grit can be learned. Her book shows 11 ways to increase your grit quotient.

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