Christian Long

Malcolm Gladwell: What We Can Learn from Spaghetti Sauce

In TED Talks on April 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Reflection by BRITTANY C.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Malcolm Gladwell: What We Can Learn from Spaghetti Sauce

I thought this was a great video. Mr.Gladwell referred his points to real life. I liked how he had one big topic and stuck with it during his talk. He made some interesting points throughout his talk. Although the title is Spaghetti Sauce, Mr.Gladwell talks about other things that are also in need of success.

In this video Mr.Gladwell talks about the nature of choice and happiness. He mentions how Pepsi made a choice of getting aspartame for drink. He said, Pepsi had to make a choice on how much aspartame they should put in their drink to make people like it. Finally they thought why could they not try it with Diet Pepsi. They started to experiment with Diet Pepsi. While analyzing the Diet Pepsi data they came across another question; why where they looking for the perfect Pepsi , when they should have been looking for the perfect Pepsis. Instead of looking at one choice they should have been looking at many choices.

Next Mr. Gladwell talks about Campbell’s Soup and their tomato sauce.

There were two different kinds, Prego and Ragu. They tried to make the best tasting sauce. They had different amounts of ingredients put in their sauce. It took them twenty to thirty years to figure out a choice. Next they started to add flavor to the sauce. They did not go with the highest average. Instead they choose the best flavor not the best sauce. Mr.Gladwell’s lesion today was; that in embracing the diversity of human being, we will find a surer way to true happiness.

Overall I loved the video. Mr. Gladwell talk was inspirational. I would use this lesson in life. If I have to rate this video on a scale from one to ten, one being the worst, I would give it a ten. I would recommend this video to other people who need help deciding a life choice. This is a video for all people.

  1. Hi Brittany,
    Good post and I’m glad you enjoyed Gladwell’s presentation. As a caveat, I’ve been a pretty outspoken critic of Gladwell. I won’t bore you with the details of my criticism, but suffice it to say that I think Gladwell is a fine storyteller. However, he’s also selective about evidence he uses to support claims. Many of his “theories” don’t hold up against the weight of social science evidence.

    In this case (i.e. spaghetti sauce and choice), I’d direct you, for example, to Barry Schwart’s TED talk about the Paradox of Choice: Schwartz is an actual psychologist who has spent nearly a lifetime studying these sorts of matter. Contrast that with Gladwell who, in typical form, uses a single case (the spaghetti sauce marketing analysis) to support a much larger theory.

    Next time you go to the supermarket or a convenience store looking to buy spaghetti sauce or a bag of chips or whatever, take notice of the number of choices. Also, think about whether the variety overwhelms you or genuinely makes you happy. I’d be interested to know how you feel.

    Keep up the good work, Brittany!

  2. […] semakin hebat dalam memenuhi kebutuhan (dan keinginan) manusia yang sepertinya tidak terbatas. Coba lihat sebentar video dari Malcolm Gladwell ini. Di video ini dijelaskan bagaimana industri makanan dan minuman merespon bermacam-macam kebutuhan […]

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