Can an underdog really take down a powerhouse giant? It can be done, but the underdog would have to use unconventional tactics to gain critical advantages. Political scientist Ivan Arreguin-Toft has analyzed every war over the past 200 years, fought by both strong and weak opponents. As we’d expect, the “Goliaths” were significantly more powerful than the weaker underdogs. The Goliaths won 71.5 percent of the time—while underdogs won around 28.5 percent of the time. However, if the underdogs changed the rules and fought unconventionally, their chance of winning surged to 63.6 percent.
This is exactly what happened in the case of David vs. Goliath—a fight between underdog and powerhouse. David was a young shepherd with no armor and just a slingshot with five smooth stones. Goliath, on the other hand, was a seasoned warrior who had superior armor and a sword and shield. He towered over David and was believed to be at least nine feet tall. David did have a few things going for him. Skilled slingers were a critical part of an army’s makeup, as they could hit a target as accurately and as far as a good archer. David’s stone—depending on the size—could hit Goliath with as much force as a 45 caliber handgun.
Goliath’s downfall would be that he was expecting a conventional battle. Instead, David rushed Goliath with his slingshot and gained a favorable advantage. Changing the rules made all the difference for David.
To learn more about the art of battling a Giant using unconventional strategies, check out the infographic below!