Malcolm Gladwell
Author
00:45

Ron Popeil, Kitchen Gadget Inventor Extraordinaire

To embed this video, copy this code:

An inventor from the Jersey Boardwalk, Popeil's great genius was to make the whole world care about something that previously only weirdly obsessed aficionados of kitchen gadget had cared about.

Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of four books, including "The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference," (2000) , "Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking" (2005), and "Outliers: The Story of Success" (2008) all of which were number one New York Times bestsellers. His latest book, "What the Dog Saw" (2009) is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker.

From 1987 to 1996, he was a reporter with the Washington Post, where he covered business, science, and then served as the newspaper's New York City bureau chief. He graduated from the University of Toronto, Trinity College, with a degree in history. He was born in England, grew up in rural Ontario, and now lives in New York City.

 

Transcript

Malcolm Gladwell: Ron Popeil, the guy who does the Showtime Rotisserie and came from this family of famous kind of kitchen gadget salesmen and inventors in the Jersey Boardwalk, in the South Jersey Boardwalk and he does that.  He takes- His great genius was to make the rest of the world care about something that previously only the kind of most weirdly obsessed aficionados of kitchen gadgets had cared about, to convince you that your rotisserie oven actually was- could be a lot better, like you would use- you thought a rotisserie oven was rotisserie oven and actually, no, there are good ones and bad ones and he can sell you an amazing one for four monthly payments of $29.95.  There is a kind of like opening people’s eyes to the notion that there is a depth of complexity and sophistication in what we would have dismissed as the most hopelessly prosaic of corners of the marketplace is a kind of- is a gift, is a marvelous thing, something to be celebrated and that is Ron Popeil’s great- That is what they do in one sense or another.  

Recorded December 16, 2010
Interviewed by Max Miller
Directed by Jonathan Fowler
Produced by Elizabeth Rodd

Articles

×