Malcolm Gladwell: Choice, happiness and spaghetti sauce
Malcolm Gladwell - Writer
Detective of fads and emerging subcultures, chronicler of jobs-you-never-knew-existed, Malcolm Gladwell's work is toppling the popular understanding of bias, crime, food, marketing, race, consumers and intelligence. Full bio
to talk about my new book,
and first impressions.
and I hope you all buy it in triplicate.
my new book makes me happy,
I would talk about someone
to make Americans happy
personal hero of mine:
for reinventing spaghetti sauce.
and he has big huge glasses
exuberance and vitality,
and he loves the opera,
of medieval history.
what psychophysics is,
her doctorate in psychophysics.
about that relationship.
is about measuring things.
in measuring things.
with his doctorate from Harvard,
in White Plains, New York.
back in the early 70s.
thing called aspartame,
in each can of Diet Pepsi
straightforward question to answer,
between eight and 12 percent.
sweetness is not sweet enough;
sweetness is too sweet.
spot between 8 and 12?"
you would all say, it's very simple.
a big experimental batch of Pepsi,
eight percent, 8.1, 8.2, 8.3,
with thousands of people,
and he gets the data back,
it's not a nice bell curve.
in the world of testing food and such,
when the data comes back a mess.
about cola's not that easy."
somewhere along the way."
make an educated guess,"
and they go for 10 percent,
of intellectual standards.
and say, "What was wrong?
of this experiment with Diet Pepsi?"
in a diner in White Plains,
some work for Nescafé.
the answer came to him.
the Diet Pepsi data,
looking for the perfect Pepsis.
breakthroughs in all of food science.
around the country,
for the perfect Pepsi.
for the perfect Pepsis."
blankly and say,
nobody would hire him --
and talked about it.
the world is horseradish."
we want to make the perfect pickle."
there are only perfect pickles."
to improve your regular;
is where Howard made his reputation.
was struggling next to Ragù,
spaghetti sauce of the 70s and 80s.
know whether you care about this,
-- this is an aside --
is much better;
in a much more pleasing way.
the famous bowl test
and you would pour it on, right?
and the Prego would sit on top.
that they were far superior in adherence,
and they said, fix us.
at their product line, and he said,
with the Campbell's soup kitchen,
of spaghetti sauce.
to every conceivable way
by tartness, by sourness,
in the spaghetti sauce business.
you can vary spaghetti sauce,
of 45 spaghetti sauces,
by the truckload into big halls.
he gave them ten bowls.
sauce on each one.
they had to rate, from 0 to 100,
the spaghetti sauce was.
after doing it for months and months,
feel about spaghetti sauce.
variety of spaghetti sauce?
that there is such a thing.
at the data, and he said,
different data points into clusters.
around certain ideas.
on spaghetti sauce,
fall into one of three groups.
who like their spaghetti sauce plain;
who like their spaghetti sauce spicy;
who like it extra chunky.
the third one was the most significant,
extra-chunky spaghetti sauce.
that one third of Americans
their spaghetti sauce,
that immediately and completely
business in this country.
they made 600 million dollars
at Howard had done, and they said,
thinking all wrong!"
seven different kinds of vinegar,
and 71 different kinds of olive oil.
even Ragù hired Howard,
for Ragù that he did for Prego.
to a really good supermarket,
to the American people.
changed the way the food industry thinks
in the food industry used to be
what people want to eat,
is to ask them.
and they would say,
in a spaghetti sauce."
deep in their hearts, actually did.
what the tongue wants."
our own desires and tastes
explain what we want, deep down.
in this room, what you want in a coffee,
"I want a dark, rich, hearty roast."
when you ask them.
"Dark, rich, hearty roast!"
like a dark, rich, hearty roast?
between 25 and 27 percent of you.
to someone who asks you what you want
that Howard did.
is he made us realize --
thought before Howard.
in the early 80s?
with the story of Grey Poupon.
French's and Gulden's.
turmeric, and paprika.
some white wine, a nose hit,
with a wonderful enameled label on it,
in Oxnard, California.
for the eight-ounce bottle,
eating the Grey Poupon.
"Do you have any Grey Poupon?"
Grey Poupon takes off!
that is more expensive,
on what they think they like now,
higher up the mustard hierarchy.
A more expensive mustard!
and culture and meaning.
and said, "That's wrong!"
on a horizontal plane.
or imperfect mustard.
that suit different kinds of people.
the way we think about taste.
Howard Moskowitz a huge vote of thanks.
and perhaps the most important,
of the Platonic dish.
with roasted pumpkin seeds
on the reduction.
the extra-chunky reduction, or ...?"
about red-tail sashimi.
time and time again,
in this restaurant."
the commercial food industry as well.
of what tomato sauce was.
It came from Italy.
tomato sauce" in the 1970s,
of the pasta.
that what it took to make people happy
culturally authentic tomato sauce, A.
the culturally authentic tomato sauce,
the maximum number of people.
were looking for cooking universals.
to treat all of us.
to be obsessed
and much of the 20th,
in finding out the rules
in science of the last 10, 15 years?
from the search for universals
we don't want to know, necessarily,
is different from my cancer.
from your cancer.
to the study of human variability.
was doing was saying,
in the world of tomato sauce."
a great vote of thanks.
illustration of variability,
but he took it a second step,
universal principles in food,
a massive disservice.
a lot of work with, with Nescafé.
and come up with a brand of coffee --
that made all of you happy,
would be about 60 on a scale of 0 to 100.
to break you into coffee clusters,
for each of those individual clusters,
at 60 and coffee at 78
that makes you wince,
most beautiful lesson,
of human beings,
to true happiness.
About the speaker:Malcolm Gladwell - Writer
Detective of fads and emerging subcultures, chronicler of jobs-you-never-knew-existed, Malcolm Gladwell's work is toppling the popular understanding of bias, crime, food, marketing, race, consumers and intelligence.
Why you should listen
Malcolm Gladwell searches for the counterintuitive in what we all take to be the mundane: cookies, sneakers, pasta sauce. A New Yorker staff writer since 1996, he visits obscure laboratories and infomercial set kitchens as often as the hangouts of freelance cool-hunters -- a sort of pop-R&D gumshoe -- and for that has become a star lecturer and bestselling author.
Sparkling with curiosity, undaunted by difficult research (yet an eloquent, accessible writer), his work uncovers truths hidden in strange data. His always-delightful blog tackles topics from serial killers to steroids in sports, while provocative recent work in the New Yorker sheds new light on the Flynn effect -- the decades-spanning rise in I.Q. scores.
Gladwell has written four books. The Tipping Point, which began as a New Yorker piece, applies the principles of epidemiology to crime (and sneaker sales), while Blink examines the unconscious processes that allow the mind to "thin slice" reality -- and make decisions in the blink of an eye. His third book, Outliers, questions the inevitabilities of success and identifies the relation of success to nature versus nurture. The newest work, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, is an anthology of his New Yorker contributions.
He says: "There is more going on beneath the surface than we think, and more going on in little, finite moments of time than we would guess."
Malcolm Gladwell | Speaker | TED.com