In this episode of The Archive Project, Malcolm Gladwell examines the idea of the underdog (namely, why the underdog persists in their quest despite the odds) through the story of Alva Belmont, also known as Alva Vanderbilt, a prominent multi-millionaire American socialite and major figure of the suffragette movement in the early 20th century.
“Why do underdogs fight? We have all of these cases, in all sorts of contexts, where the weaker party in a conflict continues to rebel long after we feel like they should, when the odds seemed overwhelming stacked against them, when the logic of the situation would suggest that what they really should do is give up. But they don’t give up. They keep fighting.”
“Nothing serves as a greater engine of defiance than the condition of being denied standing and neutrality.”
Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1996. Prior to that, he was a reporter at the Washington Post. He is the author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, and What the Dog Saw. Gladwell was born in England and grew up in rural Ontario. He now lives in New York.
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