Summary of Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce

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Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce summary
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9 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style


Why is Howard Moskowitz, a little-known food researcher, the hero of best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell? In this engaging TED Talk, Gladwell explains Moskowitz’s far-reaching findings from spaghetti sauce taste tests. Breaking from the norm of testing for a single most popular formula, Moskowitz researched 45 sauces and determined several different preferences among tasters. His results confirmed that variety is indeed the spice of life, and a source of profit as well. If you’ve ever wondered why your local grocer carries so many options for each product, getAbstract recommends this amusing lecture.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What breakthrough Howard Moskowitz made in the field of food research,
  • How his discovery changed retail industries and
  • What lesson it imparts about human happiness.

About the Speaker

Journalist and blogger Malcolm Gladwell is a writer for The New Yorker. He wrote The Tipping Point and Outliers.



Psychophysicist and researcher Howard Moskowitz forever changed how the food industry thinks about consumer preferences. In the 1970s, PepsiCo asked Howard to research the level of sweetness people preferred in the then-new Diet Pepsi. Moskowitz tested varying concentrations on thousands of subjects. The resulting data didn’t form a neat bell curve, meaning no single concentration was most popular. Pepsi’s leaders considered this scattered graph typical, but it bothered Howard. It wasn’t until a few years later that he suddenly realized why: “They were looking for the...

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    Todd Layne 3 years ago
    When you watch this video, keep our customers REALLY want a "one stop shop"? When they have diversity, specialists that work for them and with them, they are truly happy.
  • Avatar
    Juan Casimiro 5 years ago
    And I ask you, are you happy? Don't let the title fool you...listen to his closing statement with just 5-7 seconds left in this thought provoking video.

    Great job from one of my favorite writers and thinkers.