Malcolm Gladwell

Choice, Happiness and Spaghetti Sauce

Talk focused on the work of Dr. Howard Moskowitz

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Total Views for This Talk

4,505,218 (and counting)

4,500,000+ Total Views

Someone who I think has done as much to make Americans happy as perhaps anyone over the last 20 years, a man who is a great personal hero of mine: someone by the name of Howard Moskowitz, who is most famous for reinventing spaghetti sauce.

Influence Across Different Media Outlets

This talk spread mainly through TED.com and YouTube with users viewing and sharing it across platforms. We continue to see new views, comments, blog posts and reactions to this talk 10-years after it’s original publication! The ideas of Dr. Howard Moskowitz continue to influence users across the web and across industries.

Perfect Tomato Sauce(s): The $600 Million Secret


Prego turned to Howard, and they said, “You’re telling me that one third of Americans crave extra-chunky spaghetti sauce and yet no one is servicing their needs?”

And he said “yes”!

And Prego then went back, and completely reformulated their spaghetti sauce, and came out with a line of extra chunky that immediately and completely took over the spaghetti sauce business in this country.

And over the next 10 years, they made 600 million dollars off their line of extra-chunky sauces.

There are only different kinds of mustards that suit different kinds of people.

(Howard) fundamentally democratized the way we think about taste.

Different Kinds of Mustard

Different Kinds of Olive Oil

Different Kinds of Ragu

Reactions to Talk

Malcolm Gladwell spent 17-minutes summarizing Dr. Howard Moskowitz’s business approach.Viewers reacted mostly favorable to the ideas presented with feedback ranging from “Fascinating” to “Jaw-dropping” on the TED website. Dr. Moskowitz often experiences such reactions when he speaks to groups about his work and how it can work for their business.

  • Facinating 21%
  • Informative 19%
  • Inspiring 12%
  • Ingenious 10%
  • Persuasive 10%
  • Mixed Reactions (including “Jaw Dropping” at 3%) 29%


That is the final, and I think most beautiful lesson, of Howard Moskowitz: that in embracing the diversity of human beings, we will find a surer way to true happiness.